Archive for the ‘hannity’ tag
FOX New’s Sean Hannity’s reviews are in. And, wouldn’t you know it? The media, according to him, and without a shred of evidence of bias, is star-struck about President Obama’s inaugural trip to Europe. First, Hannity presented on April 6 a blog quote from a London Telegraph writer he called Iain Murray. Actually, it’s Iain Martin and his post is here. In the first part of this clip, Hannity says the writer portrayed Obama as a “wind-bag” but conveniently, and to further his cause, left out a sentence by the Telegraph writer:
The Obamas have handled their trip well and in their public appearances have been a credit to their country. But I’ll wager that within a year or so he’ll be marked down as a wind-bag. — Iain Martin, London Telegraph
One of Martin’s points in the column was that Obama wasn’t the storied orator as many folks in America have purported. Fair enough. But Martin did compliment Obama’s visit, and Hannity didn’t feel it convenient for his argument to mention this.
Hannity’s other point is shockingly telling. After putting up this quote:
Obama presemted himself as a ‘new kid on the block’ … As a newbie who still had a lot to learn. — Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Hannity quoted another piece from a different German newspaper, saying:
Obama’s words have a certain degree of humility to them and sometimes even a slight meekness … Obama is not trying to make himself look like an important global leader but instead is taking pains to speak in a clear and direct manner so as to avoid problems. — Suddeutsche Zeitung
And Hannity’s conclusion:
Well, aren’t you just grateful that cowboy diplomacy has been replaced by meekness. Definitely the change we’ve been waiting for.
I’m sure Hannity got his sarcasm orgasm for the day out of that line, but actually, yes, I am glad cowboy diplomacy has been buried for at least four years. Cowboy diplomacy killed thousands of Native Americans, it trampled over numerous lands under Great Britains once imperialistic nation and it recklessly got us into a war in Iraq of which we are still clambering to get out.
Further, the religious right should applaud statements similar to those Hannity quoted from the Suddeutsche Zeitung, if they really believed the Bible:
Matt. 5:5 Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
This is the third step, Meekness: to endure with patience and without anger or resentment. The release of ego and pride indicates the awakening of a divine Spirit. — http://www.thenazareneway.com
But Hannity seems to scoff that someone would describe Obama as meek. Why is that? Doesn’t Hannity represent the conservative, largely evangelical point of view? To many, I’m sure he still does, but to the rest of us, his live and let die mentality shows through quite clearly. Thus, meekness, and in turn, Christlikeness, has no place in Hannity’s America.
I want to comment on some comments I heard recently while listening to Micky Plyler’s radio sports talk show (link to his blog) on The Drive, WCCP 104.9, based in Clemson, S.C. For the next few weeks, I will be working in one town and living in another state, which affords me ample driving time to catch some talk radio. As a side note, it’s disheartening that the news talk radio station once pulsing through Greenville, S.C., known as The Peak, shut down several years ago and reformatted to a popular music station. Meanwhile, a 24/7 sports talk radio station in WCCP seems to be thriving and growing. Examples abound, but this shows one where our interests as a society are: not on the truly important stuff, but on the escapist stuff. And lest one should question such a statement, I say that as a fan of WCCP.
Regardless, Plyler runs in the early morning on weekdays. He’s a solid sports analyst, and I’ve enjoyed listening to him. But during a segment while talking about sports salaries, he began talking about University of North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams and how some had critized guys like him for their seemingly exhorbitant salaries. Plyler then went on a five-minute or so tangent, veering into politics, saying how guys like Williams should not be hated for their wealth, but rewarded because they clawed their way up, working hard and making it: the American dream. As he was drifting ever away from sports, I wondered to myself, to paraphrase my own early-morning thought, “What the heck is a sports talk host doing commenting on politics?”
He then implied we were laying the groundwork for socialism — Wonder where he could have heard that?? — and that we seemingly reward those who sit on their butts and do nothing and are going to begin taxing those who have worked hard and scratched their way to the upper echelon.
First, let me make President Barack Obama’s tax policy clear: families earning less than $250,000 per year will get a cut, leaving the wealthiest 3 percent of Americans to see an increase. Now, by comparison, and just for fun, I make in the neighborhood of one-sixth of $250,000. Of course, my taxes will be cut come April 1, but so will the taxes of numerous families who draw enough money to afford lake houses, and heck, second houses, of which, I do not … not by a long shot. So, people who will actually get tax cuts include, not only those who’s fiscal belt may be tight, but those who’s fiscal belt may be quite comfortable. I would be doing jumping jacks if I made $240,000 per year, and these very folks will get cuts! For couples making more than 250k, if you feel you will be financially hurt by the new tax hikes, get real.
Now, Plyler and others have made the claim that the rich help keep the country afloat, have done the work and deserve to be where they are. Why tax them more? Isn’t that self-defeating for the economy? On this, here’s two points. First, every person who makes 250k or more did not get it through their own work ethic. Every person who is rich did not necessarily get it through some effort of themselves, as Plyler seems to claim. Some were simply born into privileged positions or families (i.e. members of the Kennedys, Bushes or Tony Blair’s four children, etc.) Yes, many in sports, like Alex Rodriquez and Roy Williams, likely worked hard to achieve their level of success, but let’s face it, others did not. They were simply born and privilege followed. Here’s where the argument against taxing the hard-working and relieving the destitute breaks down: not every person who is rich clawed up the ladder to get that way and not everyone who is poor or needy is lazy.
I saw a bumper sticker recently that read, to paraphrase, I’m too poor to vote Republican. That should be true of anyone making less than 250k or so per year. If it’s not clear by now, the Republican calling card goes something like this: tax cuts for corporations and for the rich; deregulation of big business; personal freedoms, like gun rights, unless such rights, (i.e. censorship, gay marriage or abortion) contrast with the Bible’s teaching, which consequently, has nothing at all to do with running a country. See: Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation between church and state,” which has become quite permeable.
To end, the common Republican ideology of letting poor folks and middle class folks fend for themselves (in the belief that church and other civic groups will and should come to the aid of the most needy) is, not only flawed, but cruel. Churches and other groups are limited in who they can help, and government programs, while sometimes mired in bureacracy and inefficiency, are some folks’ only means to survival. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others can talk tough all they want about personal responsibility, but when was the last time they were in a Medicaid office or a health department office? Plyler claimed the private sector can perform worlds better than anything the government can offer, and I’m inclined to agree. But I don’t see any private industries waiting in line to help the indignant or the unemployed or those who need insurance for their children. So, for some, government aid is the only alternative. Republicans who bemoan the welfare state should take a trip down to the local health department, hospital or Social Security office to get a big whiff of humanity.
Obama, of course, probably hasn’t seen the inside of one of these offices in years, except to visit, but at least he seems to understand the need that exists, not only for those who are the neediest among us, but for the working families who are putting bread on the table and yet worried about tomorrow. The Republican ideology, as I have outlined, simply doesn’t work, and Plyler and others are out of their element in praising the private sector over the public one, for the former certainly has its own means toward an incongruent end.
Quite a bit of talk has sprung up recently about the Fairness Doctrine. Some Democrats, like Louise Slaughter (D-NY) have worked quite extensively (Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is another supporter) to have the legislation reinstated, while many Republicans, suggest the doctrine is specifically targeted toward silencing, or at least, dulling influence from conservative-dominated talk radio.
The Fairness Doctrine, which seeks to mandate that broadcasters give opposing viewpoints to an issue (or have both conservative and liberal viewpoints represented by separate programs, etc etc), dates back to the mid-20th century when it was introduced and put into law and then added to the Federal Communications Commission regulations. In 1987, Congress tried to turn the regulations into law, and Reagan handed down a veto. It hasn’t been enforced by the FCC since. Now since Barack Obama was elected, word is that the Democrats will attempt to reinact such legislation.
In a December 2004 interview with Slaughter, Bill Moyers asked,
Is somebody going to say, “Is this just a question of a Democrat who feels she’s not getting her message out and she’s mad?”
SLAUGHTER: No. It isn’t. I mean I get reelected, I’ve done extremely well in my district because people appreciate that I fight for things. I think all Americans would feel the same way I do exactly if we just had the ability to tell them. Reinstating the fairness doctrine would make a major difference in this country.
Near the beginning of the interview, Slaughter said,
I was so committed to it (the doctrine) and I kept doing bills. Because the airwaves belong to the people. I think we’ve good and sufficient examples now of what has happened to us with media consolidation — the fact that the information coming to us is controlled, the fact that at least half the people in the United States have no voice because they’re not allowed in on talk radio.
Actually, the airwaves belong to whoever owns them. Perhaps in some metaphorical sense, airwaves are part of the public domain, but radio stations are not. They are privately owned and those owners can do with them as they like. It just so happens now that, apparently, conservative-minded individuals have a hold on talk radio at the moment.
One question Democrats will have to answer is the one Moyer raised: Aren’t Dems just trying to get some more elbow room in the media, particularly in radio? And this is a valid question. One can’t convince us that Dems have some unbending, irrevocable hunger for fairness that transcends party lines. That just isn’t believable because some who claim to be journalists don’t even possess that, which is unfortunate. But that’s for another article.
Obligating broadcasters, newspapers or cable news to use their mediums to present separate viewpoints sounds irresponsible to me and is tugging pretty hard, if not trampling, on the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Part of me says, “Yeah! Let’s make our media more balanced!” while another part can’t support anything, be it censorship, governmental stifling of thought or governmental addition of thought, that infringes on the press. I agree wholeheartedly that some in the press today (FOX News, most talk radio) have all but reverted back to the 19th century brand of journalism, when newspapers were nothing more than sounding boards to political parties. Others aren’t so brazen, however, offering liberal-only and conservative-only talk shows on their channels (Keith Olbermann, D.L. Hughley, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, to name a few) as seasoning to their 24/7 line up of what we are to believe is balanced coverage.
Be that as it may, even though some “journalists” and broadcasters have trampled on journalism itself, that doesn’t give the government the right to trample on it as well, in order to squash the tramplers at their own game. This goes back to a larger picture, which I’ve written about before, that one of the flaws in this country, from giant financial institutions (Wachovia, Merrill Lynch) to computer corporations (Microsoft), companies are allowed to grow and grow seemingly without checks. They thus expand to the point that their very non-existence could crumble our economic infrastructure. Thus it is with the media corporations, like Rupert Murdoch’s universe of FOX News, The Wall Street Journal, etc, etc. Give one person huge assets and a set of political ideologies, and in which direction will he attempt to take those assets? Of course, wherever his ideologies take him.
It is ironic that our oldest modern medium, radio, is today dominated by a party stuck in the past and grappling with how to modernize itself. While this seems wholly appropriate at this point, it’s not the job of the government to modernize talk radio, for that would be constitutional infringement. Nor is it the job of radio, TV or any other media to be the one and only source for people’s information. As Moyers said in his interview with Slaughter, residents have enumerable sources from which to get data. The informed person will seek out those enumerable sources, not being satisfied with just watching Hannity’s America or Keith Olbermann or listening to Rush Limbaugh or Laura Ingraham. Those programs success speaks to the fact that Americans, at this point, aren’t willing or are too lazy or to stuck in their own entrenched ideologies to do that, and we have a long way to go in that regard.
So, how do we raise a new consciousness of self-learning, to teach people to seek out multiple viewpoints and multiple ways of looking at complex issues? Part of that obligation falls to the press. While some calling themselves part of the “press” fail miserably, others — I would start with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The New York Times — do a fine job of painting an accurate and fair picture of the American landscape. Most of that obligation is with teachers, professors and parents (and more so to the latter). This is where it must begin.
Because we here in the South have few listening options when it comes to talk radio, I tuned in to Sean Hannity’s radio program on the way to work yesterday, which is aired on one of the few talk radio stations in town, with conservative voices being the only options to which one can listen.
Anyway, he was talking about the election and specifically, about how the Republican Party had slipped off the track in seemingly losing the excitement and support of its formative years. In part, he suggested McCain and company, and the party in general, had failed to represent the most important American ideal, which was to spread democracy and freedom throughout the world.
And this is where I want to camp out for a minute. Regardless of whether he said “spread” or “promote” (“spread” carrying a more active connotation) matters less because the premise is largely the same: folks like Hannity seem to support us taking an active role in helping create as many democracies around the world as possible.
But why? Why should this be the highest calling of our country? Should not helping our own people have better lives be the highest calling? Or perhaps throwing more money into medical research? Or research into clean technologies to help quell climate change, which would truly benefit humanity since we produce 1/4 of the world’s greenhouse gases.
Historically, one can see that it’s quite ironic that many think spreading democracy should be this country’s clarion call, when this country was one of the late bloomers in abolishing slavery among the industrialized nations. (England abolished it in 1772, and in 1883 in the colonies, while France did away with it in 1793 on the mainland and 1794 in its colonies. America: 1865) That said, I don’t want to undercut the importance of the election of Barack Obama in coming closer to healing our still-lingering racial divides. Though, clearly, he’s not wholly black, it was a momentous step, one in which Britain has not yet taken. Chalk that up to another ironic twist.
But back on point, why this march to the sea for democracy? Clearly, every civilization of the world is not dead-set on obtaining democracy for itself. If those countries were, they would take the necessary steps to raise up coups and overthrow their oppressors. In nearly every case of tyranny on this planet, the oppressed always, always outnumber the oppressors (except, perhaps, in the case of Nazi Germany, where Hitler was brilliant in his attempts to propagandize the entire movement so as to enlist supporters from the bulk of society) and by vast majorities. It would take massive mobilization techniques, but no one can convince me that if the Russian people during the Communist years really wanted to overthrow the government, 100 million people (current census estimates are at 141 million) marching on Moscow couldn’t do the job. The city’s government would be laid to waste, even if the forces amounted to men with basic rifles and ball bats. Or, people unhappy with a country’s leadership could simply leave en masse. Not only would that amount of people be an impossible force to stop, but by their very absence, the infrastructure of the government would fail to sustain itself. I’m not suggesting or advocating that any of this should take place, but simply pointing out that the American government talks a lot about helping those who are oppressed in other countries out of tyrannical situations. But I argue there is much that those folks could do to help themselves (A government army would be no match for an entire country’s population rising up against it.), but they simply don’t do it, for whatever reasons. In these regards, we often give petty dictators too much credit. Against the mass of an entire country, they could be rendered obsolete.
Regardless, this notion that we are to be the beacons of freedom and democracy for the entire world is absurd because some peoples don’t want the type of democracy we enjoy. If some do, they don’t take the steps to make it happen. Moreover, our bombastic imperialism has gone a long way in eroding our favor with the rest of the world. John McCain and Sarah Palin may have described themselves as mavericks and would have supported the spread of democracy, but in world affairs, being a maverick means being a Yahoo (race of brutes), which means being the typical, gung-ho, manifest destiny American, bent on penning our signature on everything good and right with the world. When in fact, much that is bad, self-destructive and not right with the world also bears our shiny John Hancock. Who woulda thunk it?