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Chickenhawk Hannity’s Phony-Baloney Hanctimony Over Petraeus MoveOn Ad

Reported by Ellen - September 13, 2007 -

Shortly into his interview with General Tommy Franks last night (9/12/07), Sean Hannity developed a sudden – and one-sided – sensitivity to the nature of political discourse as he decried the MoveOn.org ad about General Petraeus… and conveniently stopped talking about what's happening in Iraq. This, less than a week after Hannity compared liberals to Osama bin Laden and less than a month after he defended Ted Nugent’s vile rant suggesting that Barack Obama should “suck on my machine gun” and that Hillary Clinton should “ride into the sunset” on his gun. With video.

I almost didn’t need to watch the show last night because I knew the ad would be the subject of at least one, probably two discussions. Any doubts were dispelled when I turned on one of the daytime FOX News shows only to find that the ad being discussed and then saw the subject again on the O’Reilly Factor. That may be more than the Iraq war has been discussed all year on the “real journalism” network.

And I could almost recite what Hannity was going to say. “I see a hero being slandered, an American war hero being slandered,” he declared grandiloquently. Then, of course, he proceeded to do exactly that to veterans John Kerry and John Murtha. For the zillionth time, chickenhawk Hannity distorted their criticisms of the Iraq war and either pretended that the two vets had been criticizing the troops or else was so willfully ignorant of the truth that his distortions amounted to actual malice.

Nevertheless, Hannity proclaimed, “I'm a fan of the military. I love, I respect the hard work and the fact that these guys put their lives on the line for us and our liberties and they're doing what their country asks them to do.” Sure he loves them! Just not enough to put his well-padded fanny on the line the way Murtha and Kerry did.

After the Franks interview (video here), the show focused an entire segment on the MoveOn ad as though that were as important – or, in Hannity's case, more important – than the actual war.

GOPAC chair and former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele
Steele issued his marching orders for Democrats by insisting that "The Democratic leadership, starting with the presidential candidates, starting with Hillary Clinton need to stand up and denounce it."

Colmes made some good points but, unfortunately, took an annoyingly gratuitous swipe at MoveOn by saying, "(Republicans would) rather focus on a crazy, extreme statement" than talk about the war in Iraq.

Democratic "strategist" Michael Brown put in another D- showing. First, he wasted a lot of air time slavering over Steele: "I certainly have to disagree with my very good friend Michael Steele. He's obviously extremely handsome and talented and smart but I have to disagree with what he's talking about." Steele wasted not a moment of his air time on Brown, of course.

Finally, Brown got to something substantive: That "clearly (Republicans) had forgotten" the swift boating of war hero John Kerry. Then, as though that quick bit of advocacy had depleted him, Brown quickly moved on to a vague, half-hearted argument. "Here in America, our soldiers, wars, have become more political footballs than they are protecting us. We need to be proud of the generals and of, obviously, the foot soldiers that are protecting us. But at the same time, we also have to remember, Alan, that the general has a boss. The Commander-in-Chief is the president of the United States. He is gonna stand up and say what he needs to say to make sure his boss is happy."

Sure enough, Colmes' time was up and so were Brown's opportunities for getting in his best shots. Brown, a veteran Hannity & Colmes guest, must have known that.

"Let me correct the record here," Hannity said about the Swift Boat Vets. "Because it was fellow Viet Nam vets that talked about… how they were insulted by John Kerry lying about them being murderers, guilty of war crimes, torture and all these other things that they say never happened. And they were there and they said he lied about HIS record That's a separate issue."

In fact, the Swift Boat Vets' primary messagerepeated endlessly on Hannity & Colmes – was that Kerry had lied about his war record and didn't deserve his medals. It was a despicable tactic that fellow veteran John McCain denounced.

Not content with one distortion, Hannity went on, with hypocritical self-righteousness, to provide a distorted picture of Hillary Clinton's comments to Petraeus by saying that she had called General Petraeus a failure and a liar.

Brown didn't point out that Hannity had just distorted Clinton's words, nor did he emphasize that the oft-repeated Swift Boat attacks on Kerry made right there on FOX News were far more spurious than MoveOn's ad. Instead, he offered another lukewarm argument, this time saying that Clinton was reflecting the will of her constituency by asking tough questions.

As the segment was ending, Brown said, "Republicans don't like to be challenged." Is that why he avoids doing it?