by Steve Young
See how that works. Subjects, sentences, suppositions. Politics of personal destruction. Don't have to have anything to do with another. Much like when Hannity asks a preposterous question that may have just the inkling of twisted fact behind it. Or better yet, when the "some people say „ " gauntlet is thrown down at Fox News so that there's no need at all to hide behind any sense of reality.
No connection to any reality. Just have to say it.
Note to Mr. Hannity: For most, the reading of my column itself offers evidence that what I write I do so often with tongue-firmly-set-in-cheek. But there have been times (and you know well what I'm speaking about, Sean) where you have read my work and thought it to be an insidious attack when it was clearly written to meant as satire as most every other person who read it had realized. So to keep from another misunderstanding, I affirm that though based in truth, the story below does not claim you actually had an affair with the loverly Stephanie Miller, but that you did indeed hug her in a beachfront Southern California hotel thousands of miles away from your New York home and family. And...while you told Howard Kurtz that Stephanie came up to you and hugged you, you know it was you who approached and hugged her. I know too. FOR I WAS THERE. Da-da-dum.
This column is not about that day. If I might borrow from Paul Reiser, "I'm just sayin'.
This week, Sean Hannity brought two authors on to "Hannity and Colmes" to promote their book which does its best to swiftboat Gold Star Mom, Cindy Sheehen, much the way he brought on John O'Neil and his boys to swiftboat war hero John Kerry, which was not much different than the way Sean swiftboated Senator Dick Durbin (D,ILL) in his "Deliver Us From Evil," asking that on the day after 9/11, "Did Dick Durbin condemn the terrorists who perpetrated this despicable act? No. Did he voice sorrow over the loss of three thousand Americans? No." Except that Durbin did just that, signing a 9/12/01 proclamation condemning the 9/11 attacks (S.J Res. 22), and vowing on the floor of the Senate the very same day: "We will respond. America's been attacked. Those who attacked us will pay a price." (Globe and Mail, 9/12/01). Which is similar to Sean's bringing on goofball Randall Terry and Nobel (not) nominated Dr. Hurufereeeeeeer to swiftboat Michael Schiavo who was dealing with his own personal human tragedy, and damn if it isn't even a little bit like when Sean brought on soon-to-be-felon Rep.Curt Weldon (R, PA) to swiftboat the truth about WMD, which was the main reason hundreds of thousands have gone to their deaths.
This is what Hannity does ever so well...take a litany of half (or no)-truths, using them to rip into people who have gone through hell and put them through even more. Ands he doesn't really care about what he does or who it hurts as long as satisfies his fans and it might bring in another Republican vote.
On his show with the madame muckrakers, Hannity asked if treating Sheehan, (who they said perused pornographic websites) different than elected representative Mark Foley (who accosted underage pages) illustrated a "double standard."
Well, if based on the scenario presented, the question was valid, I must ask then, if Sean's hugging of Stephanie Miller (who tirelessly ridicules Sean's silly-willy assertions on her own radio show) in a Ocean view hotel a thousand miles from his wife, is any different than Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein after Hussein used chemicals to gas his own people? Now I'm not saying that Stephanie Miller gassed her own people, though her studio mates may know better, nor am I saying that Sean ever slept with Donald Rumsfeld...that I know of.
What I am saying is that we all know you weren't cheating with Stephanie, even if some people say „ . And we all know that the hug was innocent (though tell me you didn't like hugging Stephanie, than, say, Karen Hughes.) I just wanted to remind you how angry and hurt you were about that earlier column, even though it was absolutely true, and if I wanted to attack you, I could take the truth of that moment and twist it into something devious. And even with that knowledge you continue to allow your shows to be conduits with which to do hit pieces based on information that you know to be less than credible, if at all.
To continue use your shows as platforms for duplicitous and unjustified smears, like when you choose to allow rumors clothed as news to demean the grieving mother of a soldier sacrificed to what is, in the least, a questionable war, serves no one but the kind of people who would want some to believe that innocent hugs might be something more deliciously indictable.
This was meant not as an accusation that you've done anything wrong. Yours is a "some people say „ " or "I'm just asking a question" style. Totally innocent. Not anything lawsuitable. Kind of like satire...which is what I just wrote.
Like Reiser said. I'm just sayin'.
Now, how do I get this damn tongue out of my cheek.
Steve Young is author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful." (Tallfellow Press)