Steve's Book Club
March 2, 2004 -- HOLLYWOOD (apj.us) -- As all of you who've read or heard me know, I am a liberal.
Worse yet, I am a liberal who actually likes Sean Hannity. Kind of. Not his views. Sean himself. Sort of. I have been a frequent guest on his radio show jabbing satirical political elbows into the side of the loverly golden boy of the right.
In my previous column, HANNITY VS YOUNG IV, I explained that Sean had complained of evil liberals ripping his latest political primer, Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Despotism, Terrorism and Liberalism, without even reading it.
Not that it hurt him, as his book opened numero uno on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Still, he wanted a fair shake and being fair and balanced as he claims to be he wanted someone to actually read the book before reviewing it.
In fact, he invited me -- a writer who he calls "a liberal who gets it -- a good friend of the show" to review it on air, betting me that I would not be able to find any inaccuracies. As always, the bet was for a Ruth's Chris dinner, and because I have never been truly comfortable with Sean keeping his word (I won before but he... um... said I didn't), I asked you, the readers, to be my poll watchers.
Well, if you listened, as you all said you would, last Wednesday, you know I made the trek down to the hallowed grounds of the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA to appear with Sean in front of some 2,000 rabid conservative Orange County Hannity fanatics. All the loverly women looked like Pat Nixon and all the men looked... well, white. I'm sure Jackie Robinson went through worse but I truly felt like I might have been breaking the Nixon Library liberal barrier. Finally, liberals would be able to visit the missing Nixon tapes just like everyone else. Still, the audience was quite cordial and allowed me to say whatever I wanted unless it wasn't was what they wanted to hear, which was most of the time.
I was the first guest on the show and was well-prepared to give Sean exactly what he had asked for.
Or so I thought.
Sean explained to the audience that I was a liberal, as if they couldn't tell that from my prominent tail and horns. He alluded to the fact that I had actually read the book, which I indeed did. After we shook hands and kissed each other on the cheek (an old Hannity greeting that I had yet to get used to) I began.
Making sure that I first got the Ruth's Chris steak under my belt, I went right for the jugular: page 252. Specifically, the spelling of "campaignining," which I'm pretty sure was meant to be "campaigning."
Score! I had the steak dinner. Right?
He blamed the mistake on his editor. He said it didn't count. Being that I always try to blame my mistakes on my editors, I felt forced to give him a pass. After all, I had plenty more inaccuracies and mistruths in my bag.
What Sean must have accidentally overlooked was that the very next sentence in the editorial said "Even though the risks are great, President George W. Bush made the right choice" -- and the editorial with this:
"As [our soldiers] go [into war] they should know that the nation supports their cause and yearns for their success."
Sound to you like the Times had little faith in the military or the President? Well, that's what Sean wanted his readers to believe even if the facts (the actual document Sean referred to in his book) implies just the opposite.
So, what do you think happened then? Did Sean pat me on the back and start making dinner reservations for me and my wife? Did he even let me finish my statement?
Instead -- and I know you're going to find this hard to believe -- he started talking over me, urging the crowd to chime in. He said that in spite of the proof I showed him -- namely, that the Times editorial said the president "made the right choice," and "the nation supports (the military's) cause and success" -- he said, "No it didn't!"
And that was that.
I showed him "black" and Sean said it was "white." And the 1000 Pat Nixons and their 1000 men all cheered. It wasn't that black was white to them. It was that what was right was whatever their handsome knight in shining armor said was right, no matter what a liberal might provide, even it were fact... and documented.
For it is liberals that are much of what Sean is attempting to "Deliver Us From" and if it takes shouting down the truth, well, for the good of those being saved, sometimes truth be damned. From that point on there was no opportunity to finish a sentence let alone get any other of the books deceptions across.
Sean asks, "Did Dick Durbin condemn the terrorists who perpetrated this despicable act? No. Did he voice sorrow over the loss of three thousand Americans? No. Instead, in the aftermath of our national crisis, Senator Durbin appointed himself as high watchman of America's gas stations."
Did Durbin issue the release? Yes.
But who is truly being despicable here? What Sean again fails to explain is that he doesn't give you ALL the facts.
Never mind that there was a state of panic with cars lined up and fist fights breaking out at the Illinois gas pumps where some prices had jumped to $5 per gallon. Durbin would have been derelict in his duty as a public official not to address the potential crisis - and, as it turns out, he did sign a 9/12/01 proclamation condemning the 9/11 attacks (S.J Res. 22), and vowed publicly the same day:
"We will respond. America's been attacked. Those who attacked us will pay a price." (Globe and Mail, 9/12/01).
I'm guessing that Sean felt that the complete record of Durbin's words and actions would only confuse his fans, the same fans who rely on Sean and his brethren "fair and balancers" for the truth. The same fans at the Nixon Library or at home who didn't get to here my liberal lies. Lies that just happen to be the truth.
You can look it up yourself. I did. Wonder how Sean missed it. I know he had to miss it because Sean is not the type of guy to purposely leave out information. That certainly couldn't be considered fair and balanced.
Don't even asked about the Democrats so-called politicizing of war when it was Karl Rove's admonishing Republicans to use war as a campaign tool that set the tone.
But the reason I'm writing today is neither to prove Sean wrong nor to be bitter.
I -- please don't tell Tim Robbins -- actually enjoyed my visit to the Nixon Library. The people were really sweet and they treated me with respect... most of the time.
The reason I'm writing is for all of you to do the right thing -- the job I asked you to do when I wrote last week. I want you all to be the fair and balanced judges of Hannity/Young IV and decide if I truly proved Sean inaccurate.
Check out the complete text of the October 22, 2001 New York Times editorial.
If it is as I said, call Sean. Send him e-mails. Tell him in no uncertain terms what all of America already knows. He owes me dinner. My wife and I thank you.
Steve Young is an award-winning television writer, director/writer of "My Dinner With Ovitz"", and author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" (Tallfellow Press -- check out the web site at http://www.greatfailure.com). Young is also a film correspondent for BBC radio and writes for Jewish World Review.
|Copyright © 2004, 1996-2003, American Politics Journal Publications, Inc.|
All rights reserved.
Operating software by Underwriters Digital Research.
Data development by Gaudette & Associates.
ISSN No. 1523-1690