The Tale of Cowboy Cliven, Hopalong Hannity, and the not-OK Corral
That hissing sound you hear is Fox “News” anchor Sean Hannity’s credibility evaporating into thin air.
It’s a short hiss.
Credibility? Hah! Fox “News” is a bottomless pool of ignorance and calculated misinformation, and Sarah Palin is their Lady of the Lake. There’s no “news” presented on Fox. They merely cherry-pick sparkly Red things and string them together to hypnotize their avid, mindless minions, and Hannity’s dangling the string. Never has this been more painfully obvious than in Hannity’s recent packaging of Cowboy Cliven Bundy as a patriot’s patriot.
The Nevada rancher has been illegally grazing his cattle on federally owned property for 20 years, and hasn’t paid any grazing fees. When the U.S. government came to recoup its property, a band of hyper-paranoid militia members rallied to Bundy’s side, and the Feds backed down. Hannity couldn’t not pounce on that mouse: These patriots are taking our country back!
Oh, my goodness, did the Daily Show’s Ginsu-sharp Jon Stewart slice Hannity to shreds! Being foolish (and megalomanic) enough to attempt a rebuttal, Hannity was gleefully minced to pieces again by Stewart the following night. And oh, did he have it coming. Hannity painted Cowboy Cliven as an All-American hero when in fact he’s nothing but a two-bit, no-count cattle-land thief, and it blew up in Hannity’s self-righteous face when ole C.C. Bundy started sharing his wisdom on what’s best for “Negroes.”
And THAT sound you hear is the thundering rumble of all the Right-Wingnuts who previously supported Bundy racing for the exits. Careful not to step in a cow patty on the way out.
Fox thought it heard “true patriot” and after that, all Hannity could hear was, “blah blah blah TREAT blah blah blah TREAT blah blah blah…”
Yes, I’m mixing my cat and dog metaphors here, but I like to keep it fair and balanced.
Honestly, I’m stumped. Even for Fox. Cowboy Cliven was inarguably breaking the law, and the government had exhausted all its legal channels and had no other option than to resort to law enforcement. What sort of mental gymnastics have to happen to twist this common criminal into a patriot? The color of the “patriot,” maybe? If Cliven was a Mexican American, and he and his heavily-armed amigos staked a claim on federal land along the Arizona border to graze their chivas, the Fox crew would be convulsing in pseudo-Patriotism, and Hannity would be labeling them lawbreakers.
But Cowboy Cliven — ain’t he a purty picture for patriotism, in his clean, white Stetson, proudly standing in front of the American flag. And also a federally-funded overpass, his pockets stuffed with money made from the illegal use of federal lands. Oh, and also, declaring that he doesn’t believe the U.S. government even exists. Now, most thinking people would have a little cognitive dissonance over that scenario: “Now, wait just one cotton-pickin’ minute,” but “thinking” isn’t what Fox is all about. Nevermind them pesky details. Just drown them out with chants of “USA! USA!”
Lest you think I’m just pounding on Faux News again just for sheer pleasure, consider this: Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck both broke ranks and hinted that Bundy was a lawbreaker — not a patriot. So, we have a first: Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck and me — all nodding our heads in unison.
Hey, there’s a pig flying past my window right now!
Sean Hannity, however, didn’t listen to his more rational (did I just say that??) colleagues. Nope, he yanked off his red, white and blue skivvies and hopped right into bed with old Cowboy Cliven, and right about the time they had their tongues down each other’s throat, C.C. started explaining what “Negroes” need.
Oooh, ouch. What looked so sexy last night is coyote ugly this morning. Start chewing, Sean. Tastes a lot like crow, doesn’t it.
I loved Stephen Colbert’s summary of how Hannity henceforth will be inextricably linked with Bundy and racism, given that Hannity elevated him to celebrity status: “You go together like Ku and Klux.”
Not merely funny, but also accurate: How will Hannity wiggle out of this one? Stewart and Colbert are surely pulling out their whetstones now.
Ah, but enough fun and games, and easy, cheap shots at a news facade worthy of a Hollywood movie lot. What’s really been spotlighted in Hannity’s “Brokeback Mountain” moment with Cowboy Cliven is not merely that Fox is careless in gathering “facts,” it wantonly manipulates its minions with them. If you are one of Fox’s friends, how does it feel to be a tool? That’s all you are to Fox: a nice Red tool.
To be fair, that’s why I abandoned MSNBC, because they turn viewers into tools too, and whether the tool is Red or Blue, a tool’s a tool. The only show I watch anymore is “Morning Joe,” where conservative Joe Scarborough often comes off as a pompous ass and liberal Mika Brzezinski sometimes seems humorless, brittle and shrill. And yet, they suck it up, sit side by side, and try to get along. This is “fair and balanced” I can live with.
As for the Cowboy Cliven comedy, the heart of this story isn’t funny at all: A group of armed citizens grabbed federal property and defied the U.S. government… and the government backed down. Surely, the government feared another Ruby Ridge or Waco disaster. Just say “Ruby Ridge” to one of those militia whackadoodles and he’ll get a huge, flaming boner. In Cliven Bundy, those gun-sucking separatists thought they’d get another shot at Uncle Sam. But no, he blinked. This is downright alarming. We can’t even control our own citizens, let alone someone else’s.
Once upon a time, when people openly rebelled against the government and brandished weapons to claim federal property, it was called “treason.” Those who stood at Bundy’s side are no better than the 9/11 terrorists. Fox News and Sean Hannity call them “patriots.” I call them “traitors.” And they should be dealt with as such.