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Hannity Calls Someone "Sanctimonious" -- Pot, Meet Kettle

Reported by Nancy - November 12, 2005 -

Wednesday night (11/9) I monitored Hannity & Colmes for News Hound Ellen, & had the dubious pleasure of watching one of the FNC programs I've so far managed to avoid like the plague. Guest Newt Gingrich tried to spin the results of Tuesday's elections (the best he could come up with was that they were "marginally better for Democrats, marginally worse for Republicans"). There was also a "discussion" matching Sean Hannity & J C Watts (former Representative, R-OK) against Alan Colmes & Henry McMasters (SC Attorney General). Hannity did his usual shtick, interrupting, sneering, insulting a guest & trying to pass off reactionary talking points as though they were his insights. Colmes also did his usual shtick, being quieter & more civilized than Hannity, but the one good point he made was lost in the whine-fest.

The topic was oil & the hook was 5 oil company execs being called to testify before Congress about possible price gouging. Hannity was predictably outraged about how much different states tax oil & gasoline, & kept repeating different taxes for different states. He also blamed high oil & gas prices on some vague "they" who, according to him, are the "same people who have increased our dependence on foreign oil ... they impose taxes on oil & gas." Watts said the oil execs "should explain the process of how we are getting to what we pay at the pump" & echoed Hannity, blaming an unnamed 'them' for "no new refineries, no domestic exploration." Hannity whined that "they won't let us drill anywhere" & said it was "sanctimonius" for them to be "lecturing but not willing to lower their take." Watts talked about how Oklahoma "defeated a proposal to raise another 4 cents on the price at the pump." Colmes eventually interrupted to ask about wholesalers claiming prices went up 24 cents in 24 hours, showed a clip of the Congressional hearing (Exxon Mobil CEO Lee Raymond claiming he knew nothing about that) & asked "Is that believable?" Watts didn't answer, instead starting to tout his own record ("I proposed these hearins 4 years ago") & Hannity conveniently announced "Gotta go to break" at 9:27pm.

This segment started at 9:21pm (ET) & Watts had the first 6 minutes all to himself, allegedly because of "technical difficulties" with McMasters. After the break, McMasters finally joined the group at 9:31pm. Colmes said that Sen Barbara Boxer (D-CA) showed a chart of the "bonus money these CEOs make" & McMasters said "there was some tension in the room" during that, but "price gouging has nothing to do with salaries." Colmes asked again whether Lee Raymond was believable. McMasters said "Whether he'd know about his own company is questionable" but the lawyer in him tried to steer the discussion back on course by saying that "28 states have price gouging laws." Hannity wasn't interested in the law, preferring instead to insult McMasters: "You & all your rich liberal friends could make up the difference yourself." He turned to Watts & started repeating his list of which states tax how much, claiming "they cause the shortage, they cause the problem, then they lecture us." Watts actually laughed out loud & said he was amused at Hannity "calling him [McMasters] a liberal." Hannity got defensive & said McMasters' "phraseology is getting me nervous." Watts stopped laughing long enough to go back to his efforts to change the topic back to what he said "focus on what this debate is about -- supply & demand." Hannity again whined about taxes (the big bad 'they' could "roll back the federal gas taxes or the 63 cents in NY ..."). McMasters tried to get back in Hannity's good graces by joking that "most all taxes are price gouging" & Hannity thought he was quite clever to call it "tax gouging."

Comments: Watching Hannity is like watching a 2-year-old throw a tantrum. Does anyone ever confront him on his bogus talking points? Who's this big bad "they" who won't let oil companies drill anywhere they please, who has increased our dependence on foreign oil, who makes poor widdle Sean so angry? The big bad GOP-controlled Congress?

As for "balance" -- which FNC so proudly touts -- both guests for this segment were prominent & active GOPs. The biography of McMasters shows he was a protege of Sen Strom Thurmond (R-SC) & continues to be very prominent in GOP affairs at both the state and national levels:

In 1993, Henry was elected Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party and was re-elected by the State Republican Convention in 1996, 1998 and 2000. He also served as a member of the Republican National Committee from 1993 until 2002.

And Watts is currently chair of GOPAC (see his biography at their website).

If you're going to pretend to have a "discussion" about oil & gas prices, why not invite guests who could offer viewers some real information instead of political spin? It would have been far more interesting & productive to hear from an economist, or an oil company exec, or a gas & oil wholesaler.

Too bad no one on the panel mentioned the French model, just to watch Hannity's head explode. A couple of days after Katrina hit, the French Minister of the Economy was interviewed on TV & said he thought that oil company profits were far too high. He asked the oil companies to assume part of the oil price hike instead of passing it along to the consumer. They did so the next day, starting with Total & the others followed suit. Imagine what we could accomplish if we had just ONE politician with that kind of political guts.

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Hannity's tactics & the program's lack of balance as illustrated above). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.