Among the ranks of pseudo-patriots who lip sync to the “Star Spangled Banner” while recruiting other people’s children for every war that comes along, Sean Hannity stands out for his unparalleled hypocrisy and cowardice. This is the same torture advocate who once promised to be waterboarded for charity to prove that it isn’t torture. That was five years ago and he still hasn’t kept that promise.
In an interview with TVNewser, Hannity is once again puffing up his chest and pretending to more macho than thou in a response to a bit Stephen Colbert did earlier this week. Colbert mocked Hannity for repeatedly using the word “literally,” apparently without any knowledge of what it literally means. That was all it took for Hannity to lose his head and attack Colbert. He started out by lobbing the stinging rebuke that “he’s not as funny as Jon Stewart,” (who will be surprised and dismayed to learn that Hannity is a fan) and it just got worse from there:
“Stephen Colbert will have the lowest-rated late night show. There are issues that just aren’t funny. Terrorism isn’t funny. I didn’t see the bit. I won’t see it. I don’t care.
“Maybe Stephen Colbert needs to come over here and get a dose of reality. He sits in the comfort of his studio, reading jokes written for him by 30 writers. So, I have a challenge for Stephen Colbert: I’ll pay for your flight. I’ll pay for your hotel, your meals. Then you sit on the border. You talk to the people. You sit across from the mother of an Israeli solider who was killed, and then make a joke about it.”
I hope Colbert takes him up on this challenge. It would not be surprising since he has previously visited other war zones, including a trip to Iraq where he spent a week with the troops. He also went through basic training and shaved his head. And while it’s true that terrorism isn’t funny, Colbert is a brilliant satirist and was able to relate to the soldiers in a way that made their hardship a bit more endurable.
As for his future ratings as the successor to David Letterman, Colbert will inherit a franchise that already has more viewers that Hannity has (Letterman: 2.2 million / Hannity: 1.5 million). And there is a good possibility that he will improve on that, especially with younger viewers. In fact, Hannity is only slightly ahead of The Colbert Report (1.1 million) on Comedy Central now. Plus, Colbert has four Emmys and two Peabody awards, surpassing Hannity’s total of zero for each.
Hannity has proven himself to be a disingenuous self-promoter by hurling childish insults at Colbert despite admitting that he didn’t even see the segment about which he was commenting. That tendency to speak with ignorance was demonstrated elsewhere in this interview when he was asked about media coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict. On whether he thought the reporting was balanced he answered “Absolutely, positively not.” Then went on to say…
“Here’s my take on the media coverage, and I did glance around. I didn’t see — and maybe some of them did it — but I didn’t see reporters in the elaborate tunnels. I didn’t see them at the indoor playground, I didn’t see people go to the war room of the mayor of Sderot, like we did. I think there are too many Hamas representatives put on the air. I don’t think enough emphasis has been put on the lives of the average Israeli. Where’s CBS? Where is all this so-called reporting on NBC and CNN?”
He “glanced around?” Apparently his vision is literally gone. First of all, a quick search of Google Images for “Gaza tunnels” turns up dozens of actual journalists reporting from within the tunnels. And Hannity’s estimation of the number of Hamas representatives on the air is just plain delusional. There are practically no Hamas representative at all because they do not provide any (terrorists rarely do). There are more Palestinian representatives, but still far fewer than those from Israel. The fact that Hannity can blast CBS, NBC, and CNN, after confessing that he hasn’t done any actual research, says more about him than it does about any of the media he is criticizing.
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In an absurdly egocentric exchange with TVNewser, Hannity was asked about why he is suddenly hitting the road since, as TVNewser put it “You’re not one to travel for your show.” Hannity’s response was that it was something that he “always liked to do,” and cited as an example of his past road trips that “there were years I did 60 cities, in book tour years.” And, of course, that’s exactly like missions to war zones, except for the slobbering fans and personal financial gain.
When Hannity follows through on his promise to be waterboarded, and has completed the number of USO tours that Colbert and Stewart have done, then he might be able to criticize them with some credibility. But since he is mostly concerned with himself, I wouldn’t expect any of that to happen. Like his pals Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Karl Rove, Ted Nugent, Bill Kristol, and too many other right-wing chickenhawks to name, Hannity is a coward whose chief concerns are his ratings and his bank account.