Fomenting Fear And Loathing

by Chris Bodenner

Above is an appalling act of exploitation. Sean Hannity assembles a group of 9/11 victims - understandably roiled by grief and frustration - and frames the segment around the "betrayal" of Obama putting terrorist suspects on trial in New York.  The exploitation is not so much of the family members themselves, who would harbor the same feelings and opinions regardless of Hannity's forum. Rather, Hannity is exploiting the empathy that millions of viewers hold for those victims. By stoking their sadness, and providing no counterbalance from grieving victims with alternate views, Hannity creates pure propaganda. And he channels that raw, seething emotion not just toward a particular policy decision, but a personalized individual - Barack Obama - who also happens to be the nation's leader in a time of war.

Here's an excerpt from the clip if you don't want to watch it all:

“It may be pushing the envelope a little bit,” Gadiel added, “but I, I wonder, you know, The Constitution has provisions for people who provide aid and comfort for the enemy and I just – there’s no exemption for high officials, including the president and the attorney general. I just wonder when, when it will be that people would, will decide or will there be people around who will be willing to point fingers if he crosses the line and when does he cross the line?”

So how did “patriotic” Hannity react to his guest calling, essentially, for our president to be arrested for treason? By encouraging the rest of his audience to agree. “Let me ask for a show of hands once again. How many of you – show of hands (Hannity raised his own hand as a blatant cue for others to do so, too) – high, if you can. How many of you agree with what Peter just said?”

Almost the entire studio audience raised their hands.