Behold Sean Hannity on his August 4th television broadcast, dictating to his audience that birth control is not a women's health issue and should not be taxpayer funded in insurance policies as he demands inclusion for Viagra on the grounds that male lack of sexual function is an excepted medical condition.
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The exchange caught fire, raging across the blogosphere and Twitterverse in this condensed video clip that portrays Hannity's guest Jehmu Greene arguing for inclusion of birth control because it will save money from the much larger costs of unwanted pregnancies, welfare and jails over the long term, not to mention the automatic and "dramatic" reductions projected in the abortion rate.
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Hannity can be seen petulantly and impertinently cutting her off, interrupting and belittling this sensible fiscal argument, supported by data, scientists and medical professionals, snapping "I don't care about the scientists" as he insists "people have to be responsible for their own behavior".
In the 48 hour aftermath, Hannity made an ironic mockery of his own call for personal responsibility, intentionally "de-emphasizing" the statements that lit up Twitter like a climaxing volcano by promoting a new version of the dust-up with his contentious "co*k and bull" claims snipped out.
Instead of issuing a correction or clarification, Hannity sanitized the record. By Sunday, Fox deceptively edited the transcript on Hannity's site for the segment which omits the exchange in which the hoary host yelps out for a special Viagra carve-out.
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It seems men that cannot achieve erection naturally should have a taxpayer funded entitlement to fix it!
Those who view the full video on Hannity's page might catch the 'revealing' exchange towards the very end, but for those who prefer to read the text transcript, Hannity wholly revises history - again.
It's one thing to hold a religious or personal opinion against funding for birth control, but Hannity makes specific factually untrue assertions about birth control, asserting Viagra's inclusion reflects "a medical problem versus a choice to have sex".
This is provably wrong - in fact, there have been millions of cases of doctors prescribing birth control for women of all ages to regulate periods and other medically necessary reasons (see below) for decades.
To suggest Viagra use is not used to "have sex by choice" is also wrong, as is evident to any tooth-sucking moron with a pulse. Clearly, this is the sole purpose for Viagra, to the exclusion of any other reason.
Hannity's Vanity: Sanitizing "Coverage"
Many are aware of Hannity's refusal to take ownership for 'boners' like these, to revisit them after he is resoundingly debunked in the indie press, but more secretive is the work of Hannity and supporters adeptly manipulating web searches to mitigate these "reality" flare-ups.
For instance, 24 hours after his deceptively edited audio was posted alongside the actual transcript of the President, this expose still topped search result rankings for the keyword 'Hannity' and resulted in taxpayer complaints to the FCC for biased broadcasting.
But just hours later, more than a dozen Hannity-friendly articles abruptly appeared in the top search results, with each and every one posted by Fox News. This monopolization of search engines is legal, but represents astroturfing to the extent that the articles are not created to be read as much as divert traffic, or if the "popularity" is artificially boosted via clicks from paid employees, affiliates across the punditsphere or even programmed "bots".
Using boring, fluffy articles posted by Fox News about Hannity interviewing the latest country star or news items shelved weeks before, Fox and a veritable "Murdoch's Row" of new-media operators displace raging, ongoing controversies with garishly dull articles like this and this and this.
Paying For It
Hannity regular Newt Gingrich was recently exposed for gaming Twitter in a similar fashion, hiring one or more consulting firms to create fake "sock puppet" or "networked" followers for Gingrich in order to push his follower counts past the one million mark. Gingrich denies the reports published by Gawker and Politico, but anyone can browse through his followers to see accounts that border on the preposterous.
Similarly, the number of tweets that suddenly appeared as this Viagra kerfuffle dominated the Twitter data stream included an interesting number of posts by consultants and new-media political agents who displayed an incredible level of pro-Hannity message discipline and intentionally subtle messaging triangulation during the flap.
It's almost as if he had paid people beyond casual listeners to act as his 'reputation defender' online to pretend this was not trending more than Tim Pawlenty's current strategy, Mark Sanford's image rehab or the umpteenth interview with Sarah Palin rattling off repetitious Hannity/Heritage talking points.
Learning How To Learn in Hannity's America
Hannity might one day find out, birth control is vital to the health and well being of women who rely on it. Before his "fund Viagra" outburst, Hannity states multiple times that he is not having sex, so he doesn't want to pay for contraception for others, but in terms of real world, impactful cost-savings, prophylactics delivers proven bang for the buck.
Females, perhaps a bit more complex and mercurial than Hannity, might see birth control as a persistent, constant, life-altering consideration and major contributor to psychological and physical stress, uncertainty and even female sexual dysfunction.
But even if you don't care about health, science, human physiology, family planning or Earth's impending population bomb, this is fiscal conservatism at it's smartest.
Who knows what Sean Hannity might learn by listening to scientists, researchers - and women - instead of his big pharma sponsors.
(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...)