Sean Hannity's Selective Outrage

26 August 2007

At a recent concert, Ted Nugent called Barack Obama a "piece of shit" and, with machine gun in hand, said that he would like Obama and several other Democratic politicians to either "suck on" or "ride my machine gun." Of course, college dropout Sean Hannity rushed to his defense.

Just a couple of months ago, however, the rock group Rage Against the Machine said the following:

"ZACH DE LA ROCHA, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE: And this current administration is no exception. They should be hung, and tried, and shot."

On the May 2, 2007 episode of Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity brought Ted Nugent and Ann Coulter onto the program to denounce these comments and compare Rage Against the Machine to terrorists:

HANNITY: But you can't say — you can't threaten the president of the United States. I would think you agree with that.

NUGENT: You think? Yes, you know, we disagreed with a lot of administrations in the past, but none of our rhetoric included, you know, threatening lives. These guys are over the top. But they're lunatic fringe that even your average Democrat liberal doesn't agree with. But, unfortunately, nobody is silencing these guys, or not necessarily silencing, but condemning this outrageous violence that they're recommending.

HANNITY: Look, that's the point. If you threaten the president of the United States, I think that's a pretty — that's over the line. And the bottom line is, this is the president. Ann Coulter, this is the president of our country. You threaten to shoot the president, you're going to get under investigation, and you are going to, perhaps, get arrested. That's a terroristic threat.

COULTER: Right, right. No, and for good reason..

COULTER: ... talking to these sorts of liberal lunatics, I mean, it never comes from right-wingers. It's always from left-wingers.


But even more curious than all this, Hannity equated a certain statement by Barack Obama to Ted Nugent's brandishing a machine gun and saying that he would like to shoot several Senators. Here is what Barack Obama said:
"[w]e've got to get the job done there [in Afghanistan] and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."

Um, how is this in any way comparable? Perhaps Sean is implying that Obama was lying to demonize the troops in Afghanistan (Hannity has previously denied that there have been airstrikes). But if this is just a factual issue, then Sean is clearly wrong. Just last month, according to the Associated Press:
"Afghan elders said Saturday that 108 civilians were killed this week in a bombing campaign in western Afghanistan, and villagers in the northeast said 25 Afghans died in airstrikes."

Nor is it controversial to say that this is undesirable. According to Reuters:
Air strikes by foreign forces in Afghanistan have recently killed more civilians than the Taliban and the U.S.-led operation should cut them back, an Afghan rights group said on Monday.

Instead, NATO and U.S.-led coalition troops battling the Taliban and other insurgents should boost the number of their foot soldiers -- already numbering nearly 50,000, Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission said.

In the latest incident involving civilian fatalities, Afghan officials said on the weekend that 45 civilians were killed in an air strike in the south of the country.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the toll from the pre-dawn raid was much lower.

The rising toll on civilians is proving a major irritant for President Hamid Karzai whose government is under fire for rampant corruption, growing insecurity and lack of economic development.

Civilian deaths caused by foreign forces have sparked protests demanding the expulsion of foreign troops and Karzai's resignation.

"Air operations have killed more civilians than Taliban," Nader Nadery, a commissioner with the rights group told Reuters.

"Certainly, reduction of air operations decreases civilian deaths for it is difficult to distinguish between military and non-military people."

The British have also said that we should be moving away from air strikes.

Mind you, this was all said in order to paint someone else as being a hypocrite on the issue. Not even anyone in particular, but "liberals" in general. But rather than seriously discussing the issue or getting the facts right, the rest of the segment just dissolves into some political strategists shouting about how they dislike the other's political party.

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