In keeping with Sean Hannity's fierce determination to undermine the president during a time of war (anyone else remember how much he disapproves of that sort of thing?) Hannity did his best to frighten viewers into thinking the Obama administration will soon install Al Qaeda in the house next door, ready and able to attack Americans (that means you!). But rather than report and let viewers decide about the “possibility” that the Obama administration will release some of the Guantanamo Bay detainees into the U.S. and under what conditions and criteria, Hannity found it preferable to terrorize viewers with inflammatory rhetoric - something he decries in others but calculates, apparently, that it's a better tool than facts and reason. With video.
In the opening to the Hannity's America segment of his show last night (3/20/09), Hannity said that the Obama administration's plan to close Guantanamo Bay prison “means that many of the terrorists currently being held there could be released right here into the United States. That's right, not transferred into prisons in the U.S. but actually released in this country.” Hannity went on to report that Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier in the week that “the remaining 240 terrorists at Gitmo, including several suspected of plotting the 9/11 attacks, will have their cases reviewed one by one and some of the terrorists will be put on trial in the US court system, just like any other run-of-the-mill criminal.”
OK, so “Great American” Hannity doesn't seem to care for the great American principles of “innocent until proven guilty” and is so scared silly that he's willing to lock up countless others indefinitely and label them terrorists without proving it in a court of law (a little torture never hurts Hannity, either). But that's no excuse for trying to scare the heck out of your fellow countrymen for the sake of scoring political points. Because that's exactly what Hannity did with his next sentence: “But others could simply be released.”
Hannity went on to quote Holder as saying, “For those who are in that second category, who can be released, there are a variety of options we have. Among them is the possibility that we could release them into this country.” Hannity melodramatically enunciated “release them into this country” for extra fear effect. He didn't bother to explain to his audience what the “second category” comprised. And he neatly slid over the qualification that it consists of those “who can be released.” Rather than examine for the “we report, you decide” network's audience what the release criteria might be, Hannity decided for us that Holder's judgment was not only wrong but dangerous. Hannity said, “If the Obama administration uses their loose definition of 'what is a terrorist' to review the cases that they're reviewing, well, I have a feeling I could have some and you could have some new neighbors in the very near future. Frightening!”
For Hannity, disagreement is not enough. We must be terrified! And let's not worry too much about getting all the facts.
For example, as most news outlets are reporting (but not Hannity), at least some of those whom Holder is considering releasing into the U.S. are 17 Uighurs, Chinese Muslims, who have been held without charges since 2001 but since determined to be harmless. A federal judge previously ordered them to be released into the United States but an appeals court overturned that ruling, not because the detainees posed a risk but because the appellate court decided the detainees had no inherent right to entry. But the appeals court also suggested the detainees might be able to seek entry by applying to the Homeland Security Department. In other words, two federal courts found these guys were not dangerous terrorists.
But in Hannity's America, the only news worth reporting is news that helps the GOP.