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Sean Knows Bias

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If you don't like the facts, Hannitize them for your pleasure!

So last week, Sean Hannity aired an hour long special, “Behind the Bias: The History of Liberal Media” on his show. I’m sure it came as a great surprise to many that it was full of shit.

I’m not going to spend this blog deconstructing how it lied and misled its audience; that’s already been done. Instead, I’m just going to point out a multitude of reasons Sean Hannity should never, ever, have been allowed to host a special about bias from anyone other than himself.

So, let’s begin with just a little sampling of Sean Hannity’s well-documented bias. Let me point out that I came across all of these examples in a single afternoon. It’s not hard with Sean. Also, keep in mind, these are just examples of Sean Hannity’s bias. If I included other Fox News programs, we’d be here a while.

Here’s just a quick rundown of the few I came up with in one sitting:

– Sean lies about a Bill Clinton op-ed (Because with Hannity, there’s never enough hate for the Clintons.)

– Hannity spouts nonsense about Sarah Palin being treated worse in the media than Hillary. (Because conservative women are apparently the victims of a massive left-wing mysogynist conspiracy, and of course nobody bashes the Clintons enough for Sean’s liking.)

– Hannity quotes remarks made about Rahm Emanuel and then acts as though they were made about President Obama. (Because a lot of people think Emanuel is a dick, and Sean thinks Obama is dick, thus they might as well be the same person, right?)

– Sean claims President Obama called insurance executives “bad people”, then ran the video where Obama clearly states they aren’t bad people. (Granted this one requires at least an iota of contextual understanding, but let’s let Keith Olbermann break it down. )

– Sean says President Obama has “surrendered” in the war on terror. (Because believing we can win without torturing people and holding them prisoner indefinitely without charging them with anything is the same as giving up.)

– Hannity lies about the amount of support for Ron Paul after Fox News Republican primary debate. (When you can’t lie about a liberal, just lie about the least conservative person in the story. Also of note, Ron Paul was not invited to the next Fox News debate, despite polling higher in the state it was held than some of those that were invited.)

– Sean claims Obama was cutting $53 million dollars from New York City’s Anti-Terror Fund using fuzzy logic, when New York actually got $47 million more than they had previously. (Because, as the story goes, liberals hate America and want Americans to die horrible deaths in the name of Allah, so obviously one must twist the facts accordingly to fit that narrative rather than just admitting the man is actually increasing funding against terrorism.)

– During the presidential campaign Sean berates his guest, calls him an “idiot”, and says any claims that our economy is in a dire situation are based on lies. (Now he thinks Obama is doing an awful job because of how bad our economy is. But before it was just a lie.)

– Sean says California’s water shortage is Obama’s fault. (Because the “drop in the bucket” he harps on is more important than the vast amount of water wasted by the poor irrigation techniques he doesn’t want to talk about.)

– Hannity claims the president of Planned Parenthood told an “outright lie” when she said the organization provides mammograms for women… based on the fact that -some- PP facilities do not. (Because, ya know, if she says the organization does it, she better make sure every single one of their locations offers it, dammit!)

– Hannity says he’s never questioned anyone’s patriotism, to look like less of a goon. (Or because he doesn’t know what patriotism means.)

– Hannity airs a video edited in a misleading fashion to make it seem like Obama said he’s raising taxes for everybody, when he actually said under Bush’s plan, which Obama wanted to change, taxes were about to go up for everybody. (Again, the narrative says liberals and Democrats want to raise everyone’s taxes, so we have to do what we can to support that story, regardless of the facts.)

But remember, folks, Sean Hannity isn’t a news man, so it’s okay that he makes things up. Because everybody that watches his show knows, even when he’s presenting things as facts, that it’s really just his opinion that he’s talking about. And it’s that tacit understanding of the difference between news and commentary that leads Fox News viewers to be the most misinformed of any major news outlet, right?

No, wait… See, what I actually meant was… um… that our universities are filled with liberal ideologues and you can’t trust anything they say. Yeah. Yeah, that sounds better.

Just Be Wrong!

New segment time. This one focuses on people who harp on particular issues, are then proven wrong, and can’t just say they were wrong.

The obvious focus today? Birthers! They’ve been proven wrong time and again, and that never stopped them from continuing with the absurd claim that they weren’t sure if the president was born in Hawaii. But today the president came out with the long-form of his birth certificate, the one thing the birthers have been clamoring about all this time, saying if they saw that then the issue would be over.

Well, now it’s out there, so clearly people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin came out and apologized for making an issue out of nothing, right? Or at the very least just admitted that the issue is finally put to rest?

Nope! Actually, Palin and Beck (who isn’t as funny as he thinks) would rather talk about the timing of the president’s move. See, they think the president might have been waiting for today to do this to distract from other issues. Because, ya know, the birthers harping about this for years wasn’t used as a tactic to distract the public from other issues, or discredit the president, or anything.

“Carnival barkers” indeed.

Written by oobiedoo

April 27, 2011 at 10:39 pm

The Power in Words

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“I have a dream today.” Martin Luther King spoke and a nation listened, began its slow march to change. His words spoke not of new ideals, new ways to approach life, or anything of the sort. His words merely echoed those that had already been put to paper, in the Constitution of this nation, in such a way that they would be more easily understood, and could absolutely not be denied. The purpose for Dr. King’s speeches could be easily summed up in the words of Thomas Jefferson, speaking to the purpose of the Constitution: “Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent…”

These are two men separated by nearly one-hundred fifty years, and yet they both understood that words had the power to change the world. One crafted the birth of a nation that would go on to be the greatest power in the world, the other charted a course for the liberty of an entire people. Both commanded the attention they needed to achieve their goals through their words.

Robert F. Kennedy was set to give a campaign speech in Indianapolis the night Martin Luther King was killed in Memphis, Tennessee. Instead, it fell to him to announce the tragedy to the gathered crowd. He did, at great personal risk to himself, and went on to speak eloquently about the need for understanding in the United States, the need for everyone to make a greater effort. As riots raged and fires burned throughout most of the major cities of the US that night, as all across the country frustration and bitterness swept up into the dangerous realm of hate, Indianapolis was quiet. The power of Kennedy’s words, beautiful and wise beyond what the moment should have allowed, brought some measure of solace to the aggrieved, and hate could not stand against it.

When Ronald Reagan stood before the Brandenburg Gate and said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” the world listened, and later a wall that had for so long divided fell. The power in his words, their strength along with the unquestionable right in them, changed the world. And yet, when Reagan spoke at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, of the tragedy of all the lost life there, the words of another penetrated his otherwise impervious demeanor. As the Republican president read the words of Anne Frank, “It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe people are good at heart,” his voice faltered, overcome by the profound meaning in the words of a young girl: faced with even the worst hatred, which destroyed millions of lives, hope still lived on. And those simple words moved a man who would dare to topple a great symbol of oppression.

The hatred that claimed the life of Anne Frank and millions of others whose only crime was to exist, was born in the twisted mind of Adolf Hitler. Today, only the most marginalized sections of society would openly embrace Hitler’s doctrine, but in the first half of the twentieth century he’d built an empire that took a great alliance of nations to defeat. He did not do this by hiding his beliefs, by hiding the awful truth of what he wanted to achieve. Instead, he used his great power for words to convince others, a great many others, that their neighbors were inferior to them, and that their very proximity was a threat. The heartless executions of nearly twenty million men, women, and children could never have been carried out by one man alone, no matter the depths of his evil. Instead, powerful words of hatred shaped the hearts and minds of a great many people to believe there was some noble purpose in the most heinous acts.

Words have forever changed the course of the world, for good and ill. They have moved nations toward progress as well as ruin, moved people toward freedom as well as destruction, moved individuals to stand as beacons of hope for order in the world, or as agents of its demise.

It is with this knowledge that I have to question why, in the wake of our latest national tragedy, the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the deaths of several innocent bystanders, those who spread the rhetoric of hate and divisiveness have been given a pass. There is absolutely no way a person can say anyone’s words inspired Jared Loughner to do the horrible thing he did, but for any and all criticism of hateful rhetoric to be shoved aside, for the media to allow such criticism to be branded as nothing more than political attacks just as hateful in their own right, is a travesty. It is acceptance for corporate-sponsored hate speech.

Today, political pundits are available to audiences twenty-four hours a day. They appear on cable news around the clock, they harp on talk radio for several hours a day, and they blog online. They are more readily accessible to the public than our leaders, and their words travel farther, faster. They must be held to the same standard for the consequences of those words as the men and women they decry on a daily basis. If confronted with accusations of bias, any pundit will fall back on the defense that they are not newspeople, and thus are not held to the same standard. As such, they should not be granted the same freedom of the press.

Some would say this is an issue of free speech, rather than press, but I don’t think it applies here. A man is allowed to say whatever he chooses to say, so long as it doesn’t endanger anyone. Nobody is allowed to shout “fire” in a movie theater, because it puts people at risk in a panicked situation. Too, while a man certainly is allowed to voice his beliefs, no matter how twisted and hateful they may be, the first amendment does not grant him corporate-sponsored means to spread his hatred.

When, following the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, Rush Limbaugh said the Democratic Party “… openly wishes for such disaster in order to profit from it,” he made a conscious decision to forego benevolence in favor of belligerence, to continue his ongoing message of divisiveness, the “us versus them” mentality that RFK so eloquently decried as wasteful and beneath us. And the outcry against his message never came.

Glenn Beck has called the President of the United States a fascist, a communist, a socialist, and said that the beginning of his presidency was reminiscent of Adolf Hitler. He’s said that Democrats and liberals want to come into your home and take your guns away from you. He’s said that people have to stand up and resist these efforts. It’s not hard to see how, subjected to these messages five days a week, for the several hours a day Beck is on radio and TV, someone who is even only a little unbalanced could be moved to believe there would be cause for them to do something terrible. And yet, any mention of this in the public discourse is immediately shouted down as politically motivated.

Sarah Palin wrote in an e-mail to Beck, “I hate violence. I hate war. Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence.” Those words are not a condemnation of dirty politics or hateful rhetoric, not a call for people to join together for greater understanding. They’re a political defense. Six people lie dead but she did not call for reason in the political debate, dared not admit that some tactics in the political realm go way over the line and that it may help some already disturbed people justify awful actions. Instead, she looked out for her own political image and future, because that’s how we pay respect to the dead in today’s world of politics.

Words have always had great power, and always will. We must hold ourselves responsible for the consequences of our own words, and too I think, we must hold public figures responsible for theirs, because they will clearly not shine that divining light upon themselves.

I choose not to accept words of hatred, not to allow them into my heart. And, because of that, I choose to end with another passage from Anne Frank’s diary.

“I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness. I hear the ever-approaching thunder which will destroy us, too. I can feel the suffering of millions, and yet if I looked up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty, too, will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”

Eight months later, Anne Frank was killed, but in her words lies the dormant hope in us all, waiting to be awakened, that things can be made better, that good can win out over evil, and that understanding can overcome hatred. From words, hopeful or hateful, unifying or divisive, action is born.