L'etat, c'est Hannity

Matthew Yglesias reads far more into Sean Hannity's new America-bashing talk show and its "Enemy of the State" award (noted by Radley yesterday) than I would have thought possible. It's all good, though.

Not enemy of the nation, enemy of the country, enemy of the people, enemy of America, but enemy of the state. The particular blend of authoritarianism and anti-statism that's typical of American conservatism from Tailgunner Joe to Liberality for All is incoherent, but at least it gives crypto-fascists the comfort of staying crypto.

Hannity by contrast has simply lost it. On the most obvious level, he seems confused about the fact that he's not an agent of the state and has no business proclaiming who the state's enemies are. Yes, the Pravda-like qualities of Fox News and the ease with which one can go from being an unofficial spokesman for George W. Bush at Fox to being an official spokesman for him in the West Wing may induce confusion, but surely Hannity is aware on some level that he's not a government employee.

The only thing I have to add is that the Hannity strain of authoritarianism (my, that sounds good) has as its first principle worship of George W. Bush. McCarthy was (in his mind, at least) protecting American tradition, religion, and capitalism against the threat of Communism, which if implemented would abolish all of that. Hannity, like far too many Fox News pundits and radio hosts, is protecting George W. Bush against criticism from, well, everyone, from Pat Buchanan and Justin Raimondo to Cindy Sheehan and Dennis Kucinich. Notice what Sean Penn is maligned for: insulting Hannity and "calling for the impeachment of everyone in the Bush administration and calling them bastards." That might be unpleasant, but the conservatives of yore thought the Republic could survive occasional verbal attacks on the executive branch. Hannity thinks an attack on Bush is an attack on America. This is the reasoning of fascists, or at least of trembling four year olds.

This sort of thinking makes our current Iraq debate even more frustrating than it should be. I'd like to discuss how to bring the Iraq conflict to a close - Hannity et al would like to know why we refuse to support our president, our commander in chief, this man who has been tested by fire and has a spine of steel and so on.

UPDATE: If you check out the Hannity video, you'll notice that the enemies Hannity has marked for execution (I assume) so far are: Fidel Castro, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong Il, Hugo Chavez, Penn, Barbra Streisand, Alec Baldwin, and Michael Moore. With the arguable exception of Ahmadinejad and his influence in Iraq, none of these people are killing Americans right now, which tells you everything about Hannity. Alec Baldwin was included probably because he got the best of Hannity and lightweight Hannity clone Mark Levin in a radio showdown, the highlight of which came when Baldwin called Levin a "cabin boy" and Levin responded by intimating that Baldwin had sex with men. This is your media, folks.

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  • ||

    "This is the reasoning of fascists, or at least of trembling four year olds."

    No, it is the reasoning of people looking for attention and ratings. Whether it be Sean Hanity or Randi Rhodes, at some point when do you just stop paying attention and giving them what they want? Fox hires this guy to get ratings the same way CNN hired that racist, anti-semetic creep Pat Buchanan back in the 1980s and early 1990s. The freak show always outdraws the debating society.

  • ||

    I've always been conflicted.

    Who's the bigger tool? Sean Hannity, or Al Franken?

    Plus, I'm not sure how an "enemy of the state" award is a mix of anti-statism and anything. It seems to be pretty statist, and represents modern American conservatism's recent rejection of its small government and anti-statist roots.

  • creech||

    Of course, Penn is an enemy of the state. So are most of us libertarians. Wear the label with pride. We love our country, it is the government we take issue with.

  • ||

    "No, it is the reasoning of people looking for attention and ratings."

    It wouldn't garner ratings if there weren't substantial numbers of people with the underlying fascisto-fouryearold kind of reasoning in operation.

  • ||

    I was beaten to the punch yesterday. Today, I am happy to pronounce I will be the first person in this thread to refer to Hannity as a "douchebag."

  • Bhh||

    This seems liek some sort of Owl of Minerva moment. For years we've been getting this "the Leader is the State and the State is the Leader" stuff from the Bush Buddies, but at this point, Dubya is slightly less popular than NAMBLA, and those unpleasant Democrats have siezed control of 1/3 of the State. So it's safe not to worship it anymore!

    Hanni-dude, this is played out. You going to be like those hair bands I saw at the Ohio State fair in the mid 90s. Vhy don't you call us vhen you get to kitsch?

  • BumbleBee||

    When I was in first grade I cried because someone drew a moustache on my picture of Reagan. I grew up though.

  • Franklin Harris||

    It isn't much of a leap from the illogic of "you can't support the troops but be against the war" to the jingoism "you can't love the country and be against the government." Of course, given that conservatives once upon a time insisted on loving the country while at least distrusting the government proves that "conservatism" is dead and all that remains is a rank corpse full of authoritarian maggots.

  • VM||

    "and Levin responded by intimating that Baldwin had sex with men"

    yeah, but were they hot?

    All we need is MATT DAMON to show up here, and we have some editing-room-floor footage from Team America!

  • Franklin Harris||

    Today, I am happy to pronounce I will be the first person in this thread to refer to Hannity as a "douchebag."

    The rest of us were thinking it. I mean, really, it's just understood now.

  • ||

    Mark Levin might be even worse than Hannity, although I suppose he's hardly as influential. I can't stand Hannity, but at least he lets callers speak and actually argues with them to some extent. All Levin does is interrupt and insult people, even those he supposedly agrees with. I've never heard him say a single interesting or intelligent thing. He just yells. I really don't get what even right-wing dittohead WABC listeners get out of the guy's show, much less why he's referred to as "The Great One."

  • :-||

    This is your media, folks.

    Not mine. But one more time, David: why not have the stones to direct your criticism where it rightly belongs: at the sizeable segment of the American population that craves and sponsors and enables this kind of trash? Hannity is the puppet, not the puppeteer. Why are media critics so squeamish about calling out actual American "civilians" who make this crap not only possible but profitable? By focusing only on the mouthpiece you are, ironically, part of the same problem.

  • ||

    I'll have to go with ratings on this one. People are talking about the show and Hannity and thats all they care about. This is Hannity turning into Jerry Springer. It scares me people like him and in large-ish numbers and the fact that his show looks like something from Starship Troopers -- but this is about hype and ratings...

  • ||

    I can't stand Hannity, but at least he lets callers speak and actually argues with them to some extent.

    Yeah but he only picks the most inarticulate idiot callers so he's just cherry picking easy targets. He never has anyone who's a sharp debater on as opposition.

    But as for the Baldwin-Hannity showdown, when I clicked on the link and saw it was NewsMax I was surprised that even they couldn't make Hannity look like less of a turd.

  • ||

    I once took a shit on Hannity's desk. He debated it for hours. And lost.

  • ||

    I've occasionally thought Stephen Colbert was over the top -- that his parody had become too exaggerated to be believable.

    Mea culpa.

  • Colmes||

    Get my name right - besides I would have to eat something in order to take a shit.

  • ||

    I'm tired of "douchebag." Hannity is a twatwallet and a cuntstone.

  • ||

    It must have been devastating to Alec Baldwin when Levin reminded everybody that Baldwin was once married to Kim Basinger. Nobody ever thought that lady was hot. Good zinger, Levin.

  • ||

    When I was in first grade I drew a moustache on someone's picture of Reagan. He cried like a baby, and I loved it.

  • ||

    As much as Sean Hannity may deserve derision, it seems he's hardly any worse than the likes of Michael Moore, or Al Sharpton. There's always going to be a substantial part of the populace that never thinks about issues, but instead operates purely on emotion. There is nothing uniquely "right wing", or "left wing" about this. I also doubt that the likes of Baldwin, or Penn would hesitate to grant Moore endless slack for his rantings.

    By picking an obvious lightweight like Sean Hannity you're effectively just giving yourself a straw-man to beat up. As much as it may feel good to indulge in this type of righteous indignation, I would be more impressed with a critique of someone with more substance.

  • ||

    Hannity is always an unfathomable phenomena, a man with (nearly) less talent and intelligence than Glenn Beck (and that's saying something). I don't think there is any comparison between Franken and Hannity. Franken has an ivy league degree and has been a successful, and funny, comedy writer for years. Hannity is just a fascist pundit. It just doesn't take any talent to get the kind of blokes who watch Hannity to like you, just lock-step authoritarianism. He reeks of averageness.
    I notice that Bill Bennet has a radio show. I think Bennett is a tool, but he is at least an educated and bright fellow. The propensity of the far right to flock to average intelligence radio hosts like Hannity, Limbaugh and Beck says a lot about their movement...

  • ||

    "I'm tired of "douchebag." Hannity is a twatwallet and a cuntstone."

    Why so misogynistic, jb?

  • ||

    I can't see Alec Baldwin ever getting "the best" of anyone, because he is too busy tripping over his own ego. And as much of a colossal asshole Hannity is, at least the man is able to hold onto a radio program with some degree of competance and not bore his audience to death, unlike Baldwin.

    Conservative radio is pretty useless, but "liberal" radio just plain sucks. Liberals pretty much corner the market on sanctimony.

  • ||

    Its great, now that I don't have cable or talk radio, the only way I hear about Hannity is through Reason. The sweet silence from talking head media.

  • ||

    Why is Reason posting about this crap and ignoring important things like

    Rehnquist's now revealed drug problem
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16499796/site/newsweek/

    And the death of the guy who created Scooby Do?
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070109/ap_en_tv/obit_takamoto

  • ||

    Franken has an ivy league degree and has been a successful, and funny, comedy writer for years.

    I can't even begin to count the number of idiots who have ivy league degrees. Trust me on this; I have one too.

    And while I frequently laugh at Al Franken, I'm laughing at him, not with him. I don't think he has succeeded at being intentionally funny in over twenty years.

  • ||

    Here's a serious question. During my evening commute, there are times when the only talk radio available is Hannity, Michael Savage, and Terry Gross interviews of jazz musicians or movie directors I've never heard of. Given those choices, I usually pick Hannity as the least boring/annoying (by a slim but not negligible margin).

    Having thus been in effect forced to listen to Hannity, I wonder if what he really stands for is not so much Bush as some weird mutant strain of neo-con populism. He definitely backs Bush 110% on the war in Iraq and the GWOT generally. But he noisily parted from Bush on immigration reform and on the Dubai Ports deal.

    Maybe those disagreements with Bushism were just for show, to make Hannity seem to be his own man (or douchebag). Or maybe it's really the RNC, not Bush, that he's kissing up to. I don't know enough about the inner workings of Mordor to be able to make that call.

    It just seems not quite precise to say that Hannity = the Administration.

    (And just to be clear, I think Hannity is a dumbass.)

  • Jesse Walker||

    John: I blogged that Rehnquist story last week.

  • ||

    JP,

    You may have apoint. I look at O'Reilly that way. I don't think there is anything necessarily Republican about O'Reilly. He is just a crank populist. O"Reilly is closer to H.Ross Perot or Lou Dobbs than he is any particular political party.

  • ||

    I missed that Jesse. I was really surprised it didn't make it on here. I guess it did. Thanks.

  • ||

    lightweight Hannity clone Mark Levin...

    Is it really possible to be the lightweight clone of a lightweight clone?

    I really don't get what even right-wing dittohead WABC listeners get out of the [Levin's] show...

    The talk radio industry is currently guided by a lemminglike mentality: how entertaining or intellegent you are simply is not as important as whether you parrot the proper agenda. This has nothing to do with advancing a political agenda and everything to do with the lack of imagination on the part of the suits.
    Mark Levin may not be very good at entertaining, but he fits management's notion of what TALK RADIO is supposed to sound like. It's the exact type of groupthink that led to the godawful blandness of much Top Forty radio in the seventies. Sadly, the audience never gets a say in the matter.

  • ||

    As much as Sean Hannity may deserve derision, it seems he's hardly any worse than the likes of Michael Moore, or Al Sharpton.

    Really?? Who has Micheal Moore, AL Sharpton or even Al Franken labeled as an "enemy of the state" ?

  • Ace||

    Long time reader, first time poster:

    Mark Levin is perhaps the biggest douchebag around - and then some. I don't understand why NR, a magazine that at least pretends to sell itself as a intellectual, gives the blowhard a viewpoint. Too many damn populists.

  • ||

    "Really?? Who has Micheal Moore, AL Sharpton or even Al Franken labeled as an "enemy of the state" ?"

    Wow that one is a soft ball. Lets go through Al Sharpton's greatest hits.

    Does the name Towana Brawley mean anything to you? Sharpton is still ducking the judgement the wrongly accused police officer got against him.

    In 1989, a young woman jogger in Central Park was viciously raped and beaten by a gang of youths. Sharpton led a mob outside the court which claimed, without a shred of evidence, that "the boyfriend did it," and screamed that the victim was a "whore."

    At a rally in Harlem, Sharpton denounced a Jewish small business owner as a "white interloper," and then stood by approvingly while one his associates incited the crowd to violence. Later, a listener killed seven people in the store. Sharpton then lied and claimed he had never been at the rally.

    Sharpton helped incite a murderous anti-Jewish pogrom in Brooklyn when he gave a speech at a funeral of a black child who had been accidentally killed by a Jewish driver. Sharpton announced, "If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house." He also organized a boycott of small grocery stores owned by Korean immigrants. He called New York City's first black mayor, David Dinkins, "that n----- whore turning tricks in City Hall."

    In 1994, Sharpton explained black cultural superiority: "White folks were in caves while we were building empires. . . . We taught philosophy, astrology, and mathematics before Socrates and those Greek homos."


    Sharpton has done things that have caused real harm to real people. He is 1000 times worse than Hanity.

  • Jim Henley||

    When I was in first grade I drew a moustache on someone's picture of Reagan. He cried like a baby, and I loved it.



    Kevin wins the thread.

  • ||

    He's not trying hard enough to be a fascist, so I'll give old Hannity a hand. He can use the rhetoric below (although I highly recommend he not cite the source).

    "Our enemy is giving us a clear enough picture of what he would do to us so that only a small percentage ... opposes our victory. Their number is so small as to pose no danger to us. However, they could have an impact not only at home, but far worse on the soldiers at the front. ...

    "No one can do the enemy's work by spreading pessimism, defeatism and rumors without being seen for what he is: an enemy of the people and the state who must be dealt with directly by word or deed. ...

    "One cannot excuse standing aside with ignorance or error. The laughably small number of enemies who remain at home suffer from irremediable lack of character, regardless of whether they do it by choice or not. They can no longer be persuaded, only rendered harmless by direct and unforgiving action."

    ... from "Rücksicht am falschen Platz," Das Schwarze Korps, 2 September 1943, p. 2.

    And some say it could never happen here.

  • ||

    "And some say it could never happen here."

    See Sharpton, Al and Buchanan, Pat.

  • ||

    Of course, Penn is an enemy of the state. So are most of us libertarians. Wear the label with pride. We love our country, it is the government we take issue with.



    Well put creech

  • ||

    And while I frequently laugh at Al Franken, I'm laughing at him, not with him. I don't think he has succeeded at being intentionally funny in over twenty years.

    Yeah, but he was funny, before he drank the kool-aid. Hannity is now and has always been about as funny as juvenile leukemia.

  • ||

    John,

    it was so easy, you not once showed me where he labeled people an enemy of the state.

    Perfect.

    As for Sharpton (I'm not his biggest fan) as an activist, he has has made some mistakes but he has also legitimately helped people -- people who oftentimes wouldn't have had a voice if not for him.

    That's more than I can say for Hannity.

  • ||

    "As for Sharpton (I'm not his biggest fan) as an activist, he has has made some mistakes"

    Those mistakes killed people and ruined people's lives. Sharpton probably should be in jail right now for purjury and incite to murder. He is just a horrible person. If you can defend him, you can defend anything. There is no comparison between inciting a mob to burn down a store and kill six people and being some jackass ranting on cable television.

  • dhex||

    john, in nyc, it's sometimes between "smile for the cameras forever" al and "we swear there was a 4th guy somewhere and he had, like, guns dood" nypd.

    it's very hard to keep hope alive in these cases.

  • ||

    "john, in nyc, it's sometimes between "smile for the cameras forever" al and "we swear there was a 4th guy somewhere and he had, like, guns dood" nypd.

    it's very hard to keep hope alive in these cases."

    And we wonder why the population of the city keeps going down?

  • ||

    Of course, Penn is an enemy of the state. So are most of us libertarians. Wear the label with pride.

    Been there, wear it every day on the nets. Just google my handle - Robert Clayton Dean.

  • ||

    Really?? Who has Micheal Moore, AL Sharpton or even Al Franken labeled as an "enemy of the state" ?
    I don't know..maybe someone who understands what "enemy of the state" means.
    They would be on my top fifty list.

  • ||

    From an entertainment point of view, I enjoy listening to both Levin and Hannity (the former more than the latter)
    I think the most disgusting thing about Hannity is his constant sucking up to his listener base.

  • dhex||

    "And we wonder why the population of the city keeps going down?"

    huh?

    http://www.gothamist.com/archives/2005/04/15/census_says_nycs_population_went_down.php

    oh yeah, that.

    tells ya what...when i can get a seat on the 6 at rush hour, i'll worry about the population drop.

  • VM||

    Dhex:

    Recommend this movie

    NSFW! NSFW! NSFW!

    (It's also been fun listening to people who didn't get it)

    It's the first two minutes or so of Idiocracy

  • ||

    Dhex,

    Perhaps I am mistaken but I thought NYC had like 12 million people at one time and is down to like 9 or so now. Regardless, the place is insane.

  • VM||

    what a coincidence........

  • dhex||

    "Perhaps I am mistaken but I thought NYC had like 12 million people at one time and is down to like 9 or so now. Regardless, the place is insane."

    you might be confusing daytime population, which includes a metric fuckton of commuters from all sorts of states.

    yeah, it's crayzzeeeee, and yeah it's expensive, but fuck man, i've seen ohio.

    [back to sipping my latte in 3...2...1....aahhhh, smoooooooth and foamyyyy...]

  • ||

    And while I frequently laugh at Al Franken, I'm laughing at him, not with him. I don't think he has succeeded at being intentionally funny in over twenty years.

    I remember one time he made me laugh. I saw him being interviewed during the 2000 primaries and he was asked whether he preferred Al Gore or Bill Bradley. (This was right after Bradley went into the hospital for test on his heart, because he drank a cream soda with caffeine in it.)

    Franken said he was supporting Gore. He looked right in the camera and deadpanned "I want a President who can drink cream soda."

  • ||


    "Perhaps I am mistaken but I thought NYC had like 12 million people at one time and is down to like 9 or so now. Regardless, the place is insane.


    Insane, as in Mountain Dew Commercials-type EXTREME!!!!!?????

    pppt. New York bashers are numbnuts. This place may have dropped in pop, but only because the place is turning into 1 giant SOHO, where teeny apartments in the boroughs are going at Manhattan prices now... and neighborhoods where you would have gotten knifed in broad daylight are now full of cafes and yuppies.

    out of towners have no crediblilty at all when it comes to 'judging' new york. We get the largest terrorist attack in history here, and shrug and move on. The rest of the country duct tapes their windows. Bunch of yokels.

  • ||

    So is hannity now in the running to take the prize from John Edward? Quite possibly...

  • ||

    "So is hannity now in the running to take the prize from John Edward? Quite possibly..."

    John Edward would just cut in line and take it back anyway.

  • ||

    I tend to disagree with Hannity more than I agree with him, but he's not dumb or lacking in talent.

    His man on the street interviews never fail to get me laughing (and crying too). The best was during the last presidential election when he got one boob after another to agree with him that Stew Ped was running for Vice President, and many said they were supporting "Stew."

    Another reason why voting makes no difference.

  • thoreau||

    We get the largest terrorist attack in history here, and shrug and move on. The rest of the country duct tapes their windows. Bunch of yokels.

    This is why I admire New York so much, even though I've spent little time there. From what little I have seen of the place, there is much to admire.

  • ||

    hmmf. Unusual to see Godwin's Law totally ignored.

  • dhex||

    vm: i am so fucking buying idiocracy.

  • Kevin Carson||

    "Yeah but he only picks the most inarticulate idiot callers so he's just cherry picking easy targets. He never has anyone who's a sharp debater on as opposition."
    --madpad

    Sounds like that might also have been the rationale for picking Alan "Maybe If I Curl Up in a Foetal Position and Avoid Enraging Him, He Won't Kick Me to Death" Colmes as his opposite number.

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