Ever had one of those weeks you thought would never end?
For Fox News’ host Sean Hannity, the answer is a resounding yes.
After non-stop cheerleading for deadbeat domestic terrorist Cliven Bundy the previous three weeks, Hannity was forced to backtrack Friday after an interview with the New York Times revealed on Wednesday that Bundy has some “unique” views on people of color. Hannity has come under fire this week for his constant championing of Bundy, a man who owes over $1 million in grazing fees and has refused to pay them because he does not recognize the United States government. Hannity’s week got off on the wrong foot when he was called out by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show on Monday when Stewart pointed out the hypocrisy of Hannity supporting a self-confessed law breaker like Bundy but criticizing Occupy Wall Street protesters for essentially doing the exact same thing, minus the whole armed insurrection part. On his show Tuesday, Hannity responded by saying what he actually was saying was that the Bureau of Land Management’s disproportionate response to the situation was what made him support Bundy and his cause. So, of course on Wednesday Stewart went back to the vault to again to call out Hannity’s hypocrisy by showing a clip of Hannity supporting UC Davis policemen pepper spraying unarmed student protesters as well as supporting New York City’s stop and frisk policy. Stewart ended the show by calling Hannity’s show the “Arby’s of News” in that it is so unbelievable that it regurgitates the same garbage over and over.
As if receiving a vicious one-two punch from Stewart wasn’t enough, Hannity was then forced to deal with the fact that his media darling that he created had some antiquated views on the “Negroes.” Rather than admit fault, Hannity immediately claimed he was a victim in order to try and defuse the situation. It didn’t help that CNN later interviewed Bundy, who essentially said that he and Hannity have similar beliefs. Bundy said:
“You know, I don’t think I’ve been abandoned. I think they misunderstood me a little bit. I think Fox and I. I think Hannity and I are right on, and I have no doubt that he would support me if he understood my really what’s in my heart, and I think he does understand me. I don’t think there’s a question there.”
The fallout has gotten so bad for Sean Hannity that he is even losing support from his colleagues at Fox News. He first lost the support of Ann Coulter. Coulter, on CNN Friday, said that rallying around Cliven Bundy was a “stupid punchback” and she sent a not-so-subtle message to fellow Republican politicians and right-wing radio and television hosts that they need to “stop following the mob.” In addition, always humble Bill O’Reilly on his show Friday night said that ”Some commentators, including a handful on Fox News, rallied to Mister Bundy’s side. But most Fox News people did not. And that’s why we’re successful. We have a wide range of opinion, expressed in a vibrant way.”
So this begs the question: Why exactly did Sean Hannity support Cliven Bundy in the first place?
This was the exact question that was posed by Slate Magazine on Wednesday in an attempt to figure out the exact relationship between Sean Hannity and Cliven Bundy. It was this question that caused some media outlets to look at the funding behind the Sean Hannity’s popular Fox News program. In a Friday article posted by Media Matters, it was revealed that Hannity’s decision to elevate Bundy to national exposure may have been due to his own personal connection to Charles and David Koch and their Heritage and Tea Party Patriots Groups. The Koch Brothers have made no secret of their utter disdain for the federal government and have been making a recent push for states to gain control over federal land. What better way to promote this view then to use Hannity, who their groups support with funding and large ad buys, to hype up some Howdy Doody rancher feller to bring the issue of privatizing public land into the national spotlight?
When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Cliven Bundy, an uneducated backcountry freeloader, becomes a simple pawn in a game played by a millionaire TV host and two billionaire Conservative kingpins. His story, one of simple tax evasion, is hyped by Charles and David Koch in an effort to draw attention to the issue of privatizing federal land. This draws in the cavalry via the Tea Party Patriots who are willing to use women as human shields to fight off the big bad government. Add to that, Fox News’ outright lie accusing Harry Reid of trying to steal Bundy land for his own personal gain and you’ve got the ingredients for a potentially explosive situation. What better way to make the case for your patriotic cause then to have some patsy rancher and a crew of faux patriots become martyrs at the hands of the Bureau of Land Management?
If true, and there’s no reason to see why it isn’t, then this whole incident should show us how dangerous Charles and David Koch have become. Without the use of a weapon, the billionaire brothers have almost singlehandedly caused another Waco. They found a random mooching rancher, built him up to cult-like status to attract the brain-dead Tea Party Patriots that they themselves created, and then used their own bought and sold on-air TV personality Sean Hannity to sell the story to the American public to get their support. Had there been shots fired, the Fox News story would have certainly been the government’s violent infringement upon the rights of a God-fearing, kind-hearted western rancher. It would have led to conversations about the Constitutionality of federal lands and without question we would have seen copycat issues in other regions backed by Koch allies.
Jon Stewart is correct to call out Hannity’s program for its blatantly hypocrisy, but he was far too kind. Hannity’s program isn’t simply regurgitated garbage. It does, in fact serve a purpose. Its purpose it to incite violence and armed insurrection on behalf of the political beliefs of Charles and David Koch. It is to advance their own personal agenda and to do so in a way that paints anyone who disagrees with them as the enemy. It is to use propaganda to create a world based on the sick and twisted vision of Charles and David Koch.
In other words, Sean Hannity is the 21st century American version of Joseph Goebbels.