Sean Hannity, still, incredibly, is officially confused about where President Obama grew up. In a new interview with Playboy, Hannity was asked whether he regrets saying Obama grew up in Kenya. Hannity responded, "But he did grow up in Kenya, and he told The New York Times that he went to a school there and one of the most beautiful things on the planet is Islamic prayer at sunset." Is he trying to hint that Obama's an African Muslim? "I never fueled the myth," Hannity said. Reminded that Obama did not actually grow up in Kenya, Hannity conceded, "He went to a Muslim school in Indonesia, or wherever it was, Kenya. I forget. Now you've got me. I think it was Indonesia. I'm trying to remember his biography. It's going back so long. He admits he went to a Muslim school. It's on his audiobook, if you want a tape of it—you can hear him say it himself." How is it possible Hannity is confused about this? He's right that "it's going back so long" — we've been talking about this for more than four years.
There's s less flashy whopper Hannity tells in his Playboy interview that's still important. "First of all, I'm a registered Conservative. I'm not a Republican, though people often mistake me for one," Hannity says. The implication that he's not a GOP hack is ridiculous. Hannity's TV show is not about promoting conservative causes, but the Republican Party cause. Days after the 2012 election, Hannity "evolved" to perfectly adopt the Republican National Committee's new position on immigration reform. In 2009, he famously took Frank Luntz's suggestion to call the health care public option "the government option." Last week, Media Matters posted an amazing video of Hannity's total flip-flop on the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance — it's bad when Democrats do it, and good when Republicans do it. Hannity condemned Democrats for being "against NSA data mining" and "the NSA surveillance" under George W. Bush — it made them "weak on national security." He said, "It's staggering to me that we're even debating these techniques." Fast forward a few years, and Hannity says that under Obama, the NSA's programs "are a clear, a very clear violation of the Fourth Amendment." (The phone record collection started in the form we know of in 2006 — before that, it was happening without a warrant.) On his show on Monday night, Hannity denied that he was a flip-flopper. He invited Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner on to aid in his self-defense. Hannity said:
"There’s a liberal website out there, and they said that I’ve changed my opinion. Now, I supported the PATRIOT Act, I support data mining, I support surveillance, and I support FISA courts. But I don’t support what the administration did. Am I consistent with what the law is?"
Sensenbrenner said, "You absolutely are consistent, and I agree with every one of the points that you’ve made, Sean." The congressman wrote a blistering column saying the Obama administration was abusing the Patriot Act, which he wrote. But these programs were going on under Bush, and Sensenbrenner was OK with it. Here's a San Francisco Chronicle story from 2005:
Sensenbrenner rebutted allegations that his committee hadn't paid close enough attention to the Bush administration's use of the Patriot Act. He produced a two-foot stack of documents of 12 Judiciary Committee hearings this year that heard 35 witnesses.
"The inspector general's report found no civil liberties violations under the Patriot Act," Sensenbrenner said. "There is no actual record of abuse."
But Sensenbrenner has an excuse. He's a politician. He's attacking Obama to help his own party. That's what he does. What's Hannity's excuse?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.