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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/30/08

Hannity & Limbaugh: It's All Fun & Games Till Someone Goes Postal

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Wouldn't it be something if U.S. intelligence services started screening buyers of Hannity's books as possible domestic terrorists? "Conservative" talk show personalities Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and Ann Coulter might be reconsidering their stance on the right of the government to snoop on individual citizens' reading lists this week. 

Hannity might be actually remorseful after revelations wrought Tuesday by Knoxville police and reporters. Levin? Coulter? Nah.

In short, one of Hannity's listeners went off the deep end and shot up a bunch of complete strangers who he thought were "liberals", "leftists" or "them". On his bookshelf were books by Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Michael Savage.

The question is where the responsibility ends for a talk host who conditions his listeners for "three hours a day" to resent a subset of his fellow Americans for all that he feels is wrong. Using Bernaysian psychology, Hannity and Limbaugh blame "them" for everything, while claiming to be your friend, guide, mentor, and savior, projecting limitless familial warmth as they spew hatred out of the other side of their mouth.

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This is right out of Bernays' signature text, a favorite of Hitler and the Nazis, the original Propaganda, published in 1928 and preceeded by Crystallizing Public Opinion in 1923. In these books, the "father of public relations" explains how to use a simultaneous good guy/bad guy approach to sway the gullible masses, borrowing greatly from his uncle Sigmund Freud's then-revolutionary theories on human psychology.

Hannity and Limbaugh are practiced in the art of manipulation, instructing you who to fear and hate, but with no specifics. Each day, they pick only certain news stories like bonbons, recounting the bad things liberal politicians do, but over and over, every hour, they extend the blame to ALL liberals - worthy of our worst contempt, even though we know nothing about these hundreds of millions of strangers.

These are the "them" Jim Adkisson went after, because he couldn't get to the liberal leaders. The unemployed, suicidal veteran is a self-described foot soldier in the struggle against "liberalism". Anyone with questions can hear about this struggle every day during the unprofessionally biased and possibly illegal broadcasts of Hannity, Limbaugh and the others.

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The heart of the problem with Limbaugh and Hannity is their failure to adhere to basic journalistic standards. No self-respecting news outlet would ever report that all Mexicans are bad because one Mexican committed a crime. Or that all Jews are evil just because one Jew embezzled some money. But this is what we accept on a daily basis from Hannity and Limbaugh, Levin, Coulter and so many others looking for a slice of the $400 million Conservative radio jackpot.

Does it happen on the left? Sure, I say so everytime I see it (Randi, Malloy, etc.) But no radio audience compares to the Hannity-Limbaugh one-two punch. Responsible journalism considers arguments transparently and completely, in the face of dissent. It's fine to take issue with liberalism, but not while whitewashing important stories. 

Senseless murder is why irresponsible, even immoral punditry has to be countered. Too many in our society look the other way when Limbaugh and Hannity broad-brush ALL liberals, but this can pervade the minds of their listeners, who accept that all liberals need to be "not just debated, defeated".

To all Conservatives: I wish you would insist on better reasoning from your pundits. We are all fellow Americans and want the best for our kids. We need fiscal responsibility, smaller government and a return to ethics. Where do you see anything near to this in Hannity and Limbaugh's agit-prop?

What I see is fear and hate-mongering, selling ad time, getting rich and helping the defense and energy industries siphon taxpayer dough for themselves. Worst of all, they are too cowardly to take calls that want to debate their logic openly.

Hannity, Limbaugh, Coulter and Levin do a lot of useless whining about liberals after 7 years of iron-fisted Neocon rule. But Bush and Cheney's economic performance is the number one reason for Republican flight today, yet Sean is blaming liberals. Conservatism is supposed to be about hard work, merit and bootstraps, not all-day negativity, sniveling, sliming and swiftboating without substantive ammo.

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You know who made America great this week? 60-year old Greg McKendry who died to save others he didn't even know.


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(OpEdNews Contributing Editor since October 2006) Inner city schoolteacher from New York, mostly covering media manipulation. I put election/finance reform ahead of all issues but also advocate for fiscal conservatism, ethics in journalism and (more...)

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