Sean Hannity was a vision of journalistic concern over reporting by other networks that yesterday’s Fort Hood shooting did not appear to be terrorism. But peek underneath the surface and it becomes clear that Hannity wanted the networks to prematurely suggest that the shooting was terrorism. Later, during the same broadcast, without a trace of irony, Hannity announced that… the shooting did not appear to be terrorism.
In a panel discussion on the shooting, Hannity said:
I noticed some of the coverage tonight - almost immediately, people go, “It is not terrorism.” ...I’m not saying it is. I’m saying we don’t know. Why do people – there was this obsession after the last (Fort Hood) incident – where it was terrorism – to say it’s something that it’s not. It infuriates me. And the reporting that says, “At this point it’s not,” is too early to tell, isn’t it?”
Fox News’ K.T. McFarland agreed. She attacked Obama for cutting military benefits – and suggested he might be indirectly responsible because the shooter may have suffered from PTSD.
But Hannity wasn’t ready to exploit that particular avenue of attack. He was too busy “not ruling out” terrorism:
It’s really too early to tell. I mean, that’s the bottom line and I don’t want to speculate on the program. But I do think that those that have rushed to a conclusion and tell us it is definitively not something - I think they have done us a disservice. If it’s terrorism, let’s call it what it is.
The reality is, there is this knee-jerk reaction to tell people almost immediately it’s not that, when our first instinct I believe should be to suspect the worst.
And then, tipping his hand as to how he’s looking forward to attacking Obama as weak on terrorism, Hannity added:
…Seems that there is a reluctance, a mysterious reluctance, resistance to say that this might be terrorism.
But the funny thing is that during the same show, after a press conference with Ft. Hood’s commander, Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, Hannity completely changed his tune. As CNN reported, Milley announced that the suspect, an Iraq war veteran “had behavioral health and mental health” issues. CNN also noted that Milley said, “There is no indication that this incident is related to terrorism, although we are not ruling anything out.”
So in a later segment, shortly afterward, Hannity said, as if he had not just completely contradicted himself:
At this point… there’s no indication the shooter was motivated by any religiously fueled ideology. OK, it appears mental health issues.
So Hannity moved on to his Politicizing Plan B, attacking the Obama Administration for its treatment of the military.
Jonathan (Gilliam), you heard those statistics. Do we have ticking time bombs on these bases now? The second time this has happened at Fort Hood? One ideologically driven and this case, we assume at this moment, that it was more mental health related?
As I noted in my previous post, Gilliam’s response was jaw-dropping.
Two things come to my mind immediately when I hear these statistics. …(W)hy is it that we’re not spending more tax dollars on veterans and their families welfare than we are on the welfare for people in this country who do nothing to earn their citizenship? Nothing!
Gilliam’s other gripe was the restriction of guns on military bases.
So let’s see, we have “more guns,” neglect of the military, undeserving welfare recipients hogging money that should go to the troops, weakness on terrorism and “liberal media” being too politically correct (probably because they want to cover for President Obama).
But my own favorite was Gilliam’s use of the shooting to attack Vice President Biden. Referring to the restrictions on guns on army bases, Gilliams said:
A lot of these policies that they come up with… they don’t make sense. Just like Joe Biden when he said, you know, “A woman should take a shotgun and go out and shoot in the air.” Not even a month later, a gentleman goes into the Navy Yard and shoots a number of people and kills them with a shotgun.
How did they overlook Benghazi?
Hannocchio and the rest of the cafeteria Catholics are teleprompter readers. They don’t have final say over content that airs. The suits have to approve content before it airs. Ask Billy.
IOW, unless it’s one of his long-time hobbyhorses, he has a lot of trouble keeping the story straight. It’s kind of fascinating to listen to him go from that clear, confident, script-generated point of view on some subject to abject floundering 30 seconds later when he has to deal with some new bit of info or a slightly unexpected comment by one of his non-professional guests.
As so often, I very much wish I were a fly on the wall in the booth for just one show.