If Dick Cheney were to sit down and allow himself to be questioned by Walter Cronkite, it would be news. But, I'm sorry, Dick Cheney sitting down with Sean Hannity is like watching a ten-year-old interview his father for a school project. Actually, that's probably an insult to both ten-year-olds and fathers. That would be sweet and off the cuff. The Hannity-Cheney love fest was anything but.
Don't know if you saw the "exclusive two-part" extravaganza, but it was laughable. It was also brilliantly staged. To me it looked like every bit of it was prepared, agreed upon and well rehearsed. Orchestrated -- right down to Sean's "Gee, you don't say" head nods.
First, Hannity, the man who thought it unpatriotic to criticize a sitting President when "W" was in office, laid the groundwork by using his radio show to spew his usual venom. He hurled insults at President Obama from every direction; attacking his character, his morals, his history, and both his economic and foreign policies. Then, at the end of every day's laundry list of talking points, he called the President a Socialist.
Next, Hannity started plugging the fact that, wonder of wonders, Dick Cheney had "agreed" to sit down and talk with him. (Or was it Hannity who said, "Yes, sir!," when Cheney demanded air time?)
Then, when the big day arrived, Hannity played the part of an innocent awe-struck interviewer as he queried the former Veep using his own daily radio Obama barbs. Only now they were posed as questions.
Sean wondered in his best "let me get this straight" earnestness, "So it's not a question of limited government vs. big government? It's Capitalism vs. Socialism?" Cheney agreed and Sean seemed flattered. Actually, they're both pretty good actors. I mean if you needed to cast a evil bully and a smug sycophant -- who better?
Hannity also trotted out the cowardly phrase "Some people think...." to frame more of his own right wing opinions that he'd shouted only hours earlier on his radio show. Yes, Sean, some people do think. Try it.
Cheney covered all the bases. Perhaps my favorite moment was when he talked about the recent Fox fomented "tea parties." He said that thousands of people expressing themselves was great. "That'll have an impact on Capital Hill," he said. This from the man who, when told that two-thirds of the American people didn't support the war in Iraq, said, "So?" Suddenly public opinion matters.
But, enough of Dick Cheney. Former Vice Presidents may be news, but he's old news.
The problem is that it's also old news that this abhorrent behavior is repeated on Fox often. This week it was Cheney. But Rove and Gingrich are also in the rotation. Hell, the other day somebody even dusted off Tom Delay and let him sit in front of a live microphone. They lend these people their bully pulpit then quote them on all their shows as if these remarks came from a source other than themselves.
And the problem is compounded by the fact that every other major news outlet in the country runs the quotes, too. They give credibility to the bias by repeating it.
So, please NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and every major newspaper in the country -- ignore these people. I beg you. Quit even using their names. If you do, they'll fade away. But if you keep mentioning them and what they say, you make what these partisans spit up seem like it's actually fact-based news. It's not. It's not even "news-lite." It's fear and hatred all dressed up in a suit and tie.