sean hannity can’t handle the truth

My friend Scott was on the Sean Hannity show the other day. He called-in to talk about the asinine Rethuglican talking point about the editors of the New York Times being traitors for publishing information concerning the government’s warrantless tracking of financial obligations. Here’s Scott’s note to me (reprinted with his permission):

Sean Hannnity dedicated the beginning of his June 30 radio show to rail against the New York Times and its recent reporting of the SWIFT program, Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which monitors Americans bank transactions ostensibly to catch terrorists. Hannity continually used the words “classified” and “secret” in reference to SWIFT, and said the NYT reporting of it puts Americans lives at risk, not to mention our troops. But as Keith Olberman reported and as the Washington Post recently announced:

SWIFT is anything but secretive. For one, the program has its own Web site and the president has alluded to it numerous times when he talked about tactics of freezing the bank accounts of terrorist networks. Some conservative talking heads are advocating the NYT editors be tried for treason, the Fox morning show folks are now pushing for an Office of Censorship that would monitor newspapers.

Anyway, I thought Sean could use this bit of information about the SWIFT site, so I phoned his radio show. To my surprise, I got through and spoke with a screener.

The conversation went like this:

Screener: So what point do you want to make.

Me: I want to talk about the SWIFT program.

Screener: What?

Me: The SWIFT program. You know, Sean’s talking about it.

Screener: Oh, OK. What did you want to say.

Me: I agree that the New York Times probably shouldn’t have reported on it. But if it’s such a secret, why is there a Web site describing it? Why doesn’t the government shut it down.

Screener: (Pause) That’s it?

Me: Well, yeah. I mean it doesn’t seem like it’s a secret and I wanted to know what Sean thinks of that.

Screener: Ok.

A minute or so passes and the screener gets back on the line. She asks me my name and where I’m calling from. I tell her. Then she asks whether I tend to vote liberal or conservative. I answer: Well, I’ve voted for Republicans. She presses me, so I say I’m generally conservative. (I think of myself conservative in the sense I don’t like government listening to my phone messages and/or sifting through my bank records.)

That appears to be enough, because I’m put on hold and told to keep it

When Sean returns from commercial he takes a call from a guy, can’t remember his name, who sounds level headed enough. The caller begins to question Sean’s categorization of the SWIFT program as a super secret program. Sean quickly cuts him off. He informs his listeners that liberal Web sites and other groups have been calling the show with misinformation. The caller cuts in and asks Sean if he can make his point. Sean says something about the caller’s spin and then invites him to make his point. The caller can only get a few words about the fact that there is a Web site for _ and boom, Sean cuts him off. At this point, I’m stunned. The sharpness with which Sean hangs up on him off gives the impression that the caller said something obscene and Sean just barely nixed the call within the time delay.

Before I know it, Sean goes to me. I’m ready. Now I’m home and sitting at my computer, which has the SWIFT web site loaded.

Sean: Hi Scott, in Detroit.

Me: Hi Sean, happy 4th of July. (What the heck, I figure I might as well be nice.)

Sean: Happy 4th of July to you.

Me: Yeah, Sean. I just wanted to follow up on the previous caller’s point. I’m actually on the SWIFT Web site right now –

Sean (interrupting): Ok that’s –

My phone goes dead. That’s it. I’m off the show. I’m not sure what Sean said afterwards, because I didn’t have my radio on at the time. I knew I wasn’t going to beat Sean on his own show. But I did hope to
actually get a sentence in. (By the way, I didn’t use profanity in any way.)

I’m interesting hearing the show, but when I looked for Sean’s pod casts, I discovered I have to register and include a bunch of info about myself. I’m not that curious.

Anyway, that was my 15 minutes. Or, my 1.5 seconds with Sean. It felt too long.

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  1. Jim
    Posted July 6, 2006 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Uh, did you try the SWIFT link?

  2. schutzman
    Posted July 6, 2006 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I think mark actually meant to link to this site.

  3. mark
    Posted July 6, 2006 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, that doesn’t seem right. I’ll remove the link and ask Scott. (I got it from him.)

    And I very much like the idea of Swiffering for Terrorists.

  4. j7uy5
    Posted July 7, 2006 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    That is both hillarious and frightening at the same time.

  5. Jim
    Posted July 9, 2006 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Sorry about my earlier comment–I think that the link is right. SWIFT is not a government program but a non-governmental financial cooperative that has been cooperating with the US government.

  6. mark
    Posted July 9, 2006 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    No problem, Jim. When I looked at it a second time, it didn’t seem right to me either.

    And here it is, for those of you who are interested.

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