It's been a busy few days for Sean Hannity in the blogosphere since New Black Panther leader Malik Shabazz came on his show and brought up a previous chummy association with a far-right neo-nazi type called Hal Turner. Shabazz was trying to point out Hannity's hypocrisy in judging Barack Obama by the comments of Pastor Jeremiah Wright, saying "Are you to be judged by your promotion and association with Hal Turner?" Hannity blustered and denied, and Turner subsequently went online and posted his own version of the friendship which sounded very chummy indeed, and wherein he called Hannity "a Hal Turner sort of guy." Now there's a back-handed compliment. Jason Linkins has the backstory, but I mention that by way of framing this next, separate and distinct example of Hannity's hypocrisy, smartly noted by Andrew Sullivan, regarding Hannity's double-standard when judging Wright and the now-departed Jerry Falwell by their rhetoric, or when allowing that rhetoric to be mitigated by good works. It's worth excerpting in full:
In discussion last week with Obama supporter Rev. Bill Lawson, March 19, 2008:
HANNITY: Reverend Lawson, with all that we've heard from Reverend Wright, do you support everything he has said?
LAWSON: Of course not. I don't support everything anybody says, even members of my own family. But I do recognize him as a friend, as a prophetic preacher and as a person who has been extremely valuable, not only in Chicago but nationwide, almost globally. He is a good man.
HANNITY: He is a good man that says G.D. America, the U.S. KKK of America, all of these statements. Do you think that's coming from a good man?
In discussion with Christopher Hitchens following Falwell's death, May 16, 2007:
HITCHENS: I think we have been rid of an extremely dangerous demagogue who lived by hatred of others, and prejudice, and who committed treason by saying that the United States deserved the attack upon it and its civil society of September of 2001 by other religious nut cases like himself.
HANNITY: He profoundly and repeatedly apologized. And I'm sure you're perfect.
HITCHENS: No, he did not enough.
HANNITY: I'm sure you're perfect in your life and that you've never made any mistakes.
HITCHENS: I've never committed treason like that. I don't believe in the sincerity of his apology...
HANNITY: I knew Reverend Falwell, Christopher. I know the good work that this man has done.
HITCHENS: Tell me about it.
HITCHENS: Takes a lot to make me cry.
HANNITY: I know you think you're the smartest guy in the room, but you sound like a jackass when you attack his family like this. But I know...
HITCHENS: I didn't attack his family. Excuse me.
HANNITY: ... what he did for unwed mothers. I know what he did for alcoholics. I know what he did for drug addicts.
HITCHENS: Excuse me, sir.
HITCHENS: I did not attack his family. And no fair-minded viewer of yours will say it. I'm not going to be conscripted to say that it's my job, when you invite me on to discuss this man, first to say how sorry I am for him and his family. That isn't what I feel. You no doubt, as a Christian or whatever you are, require hypocrisy of people. And so you're asking me...
HANNITY: I'm not asking -- no, but I am asking for human decency. And if you don't think it has an impact on his family to use even the phrases tonight that he's vulgar, a fraud and a crook. And then to say that...
HITCHENS: Am I supposed to conceal my -- you asked me on.
HANNITY: I think you are incredibly mean, incredibly selfish and thoughtless.
HITCHENS: You invited me, sir, to give my opinion of the departed. I give it to you, and you say, well, might that not upset his family. I said it while he was alive. That might have upset his family, too.
That's more than Sullivan included but oh is Hitchens good. The juxtaposition of these two excerpts are just such a stark example of Hannity's hypocrisy. The two exchanges do raise the larger question: At what point do good works stop excusing bad words? How bad do the words have to be to be unforgivable, and does that standard change when applied to the pastor of a presidential candidate? How about when applied to a pastor that said candidate appoints to his official African American Religious Leadership Committee? These are the tougher questions requiring more thoughtful, nuanced answers, and maybe a bit of the human decency Hannity refers to. Judging from the above, though, you are unlikely to find that on Hannity's show.
Hannity vs. Hannity [The Daily Dish]
Sean Hannity Confronted Over His Relationship With Neo-Nazi Hal Turner [HuffPolitics]
Related In Cogent Analysis Of The Method Behind Hannity's Guest Selection, As Told By An Earthball:
Ben Greenman; Letters From an Earth Ball to, or Concerning, Sean Hannity [McSweeney's]