Sean Hannity on Israel: A barometer on how silly, lost and shameless cable 'news' has become
By By David Zurawik
The Baltimore Sun|
Aug 08, 2014 | 12:53 PM
I only have 2 million other better things to write about. But after 24 hours of waiting for someone else to unload on Sean Hannity, the Fox News host who defines political stooge, I have to say something.
I held off when this GOP tool ran around on the Texas border in sunglasses and a baseball hat on backwards with Gov. Rick Perry.
I even ignored the picture Hannity tweeted of him with his arm over a machine gun as he posed in a boat on the Rio Grande alongside Perry -- who we now know is really an intellectual giant because he has glasses with thick rims.
Fox labeled what Hannity was doing -- mainly following Perry around like a puppy dog -- an "investigation." Only in Bizarro World.
And I ignored Hannity's 'reports' from Israel -- those broadcasts in which there wasn't a fingernail's worth of difference between what he reported as fact and what the Israeli public relations folks said.
I wasn't going to go there -- I didn't think Hannity's silly excursion was worth directing viewer attention to when there were real journalists in Israel and Gaza risking their lives to bring viewers trustworthy information about this horrible chapter in Israeli-Palestinian relations.
But yesterday, when Hannity dared to try to call out NBC News, CBS News and CNN on their reporting of the Israeli-Gaza situation, it was too much.
Here's the quote that set me off. It came in answer to a TVNewser question as to what he thought of U.S. media coverage of Israel and Gaza.
Here's my take on the media coverage, and I did glance around. I didn't see — and maybe some of them did it — but I didn't see reporters in the elaborate tunnels. I didn't see them at the indoor playground, I didn't see people go to the war room of the mayor of Sderot, like we did. I think there are too many Hamas representatives put on the air. I don't think enough emphasis has been put on the lives of the average Israeli. Where's CBS? Where is all this so-called reporting on NBC and CNN?
He didn't see any reporters in the tunnels? That's interesting because Israel started taking reporters into the tunnels on July 26.
I guess if you base your media criticism on a "glance," that's what happens. Or, maybe you are just a pathetically self-deluding liar living in a Fox bubble where even a party apparatchik like Hannity can think of himself as a media critic -- or, worse, an intrepid war correspondent.
And you know what? Forget Blitzer in a tunnel on July 28. The report was useful and certainly worth doing, but you'll get no great praise here for taking a guided tour from a government PR representative trying to spin you on a campaign that is killing hundreds of children.
How about NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin and his crew coming under fire from Israeli police as they tried to cover a demonstration in East Jerusalem on July 2? That would be a month before you even showed up in the Middle East, Sean.
And how about CNN's Ben Wedeman getting hit in the head by a rubber bullet the next day and doing a report as he bled? Guess you missed that one, too.
And how about Wedeman running with a Palestinian family from artillery fire as the Israeli incursion started and the very ground on which the family of five ran shook with the explosions? And how about his CNN cameraperson capturing the look of terrror on the faces of the two little girls in the family as the first explosion hit?
And how about Richard Engel, of NBC News, riding in a Palestinian ambulance as it came under fire on its Sisyphean task of trying to keep up with the dead and dying?
That was three weeks before you showed up with your silly baseball hat.
And I am not even talking about Al Jazeera America, which got there first with the most as early as June 30 in East Jerusalem and Gaza.
And, because some news organizations really do believe in the concept of fair and balanced, those reports were regularly followed or preceded by reports from Israel showing families living under the fear of or being victims of rocket attacks -- Al Jazeera America included.
I could go on and list at least a half dozen other reporters who showed bravery and did great journalism in Israel and Gaza the last month.
You weren't one of them, Sean. You weren't even close. You were and are a ridiculous, self-promoting, hustler of a TV "personality" trying to generate a little buzz for your show.