Names Sean Hannity’s name: In this morning’s New York Times, Timothy Egan penned a column about Cliven Bundy, our excessively thrifty rancher.
In many ways, Bundy’s slice of Nevada is our own eastern Ukraine. It’s hard to maintain a sense of unity within the population of a vast continental nation.
There will always be some people and groups who don’t feel like they’re part of the game. Bundy’s comrades in the west “don’t recognize” the United States government. There are those in eastern Ukraine who don’t recognize Kiev.
We wouldn’t affirm every word in Egan’s column. In our view, there was no apparent reason to mention Bundy’s religion. We thought his snark about “the far right” was perhaps excessive.
In his original hard-copy posting, Egan took a statement by Ron Paul and put it into Rand Paul’s mouth. Tribal feeling can sometimes lead to errors of that type.
We also think that Egan may have buried his lede at the end of his column. In our view, this was possibly worth saying earlier:
EGAN (4/18/14): Ranching is hard work. Drought and market swings make it a tough go in many years. That’s all the more reason to praise the 18,000 or so ranchers who pay their grazing fees on time and don’t go whining to Fox or summoning a herd of armed thugs when they renege on their contract. You can understand why the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association wants no part of Bundy.Good for Egan for saying that—and good for all those other ranchers, the ones who aren’t in the news this week! If you want your continental nation to function, it’s a good idea for members of various groups to praise the obvious good which is found in others.
These kinds of showdowns are rare because most ranchers play by the rules, and quietly go about their business. They are heroes, in one sense, preserving a way of life that has an honorable place in American history. The good ones would never wave a gun in the face of a public servant, and likely never draw a camera from Fox.
That said, Egan did something in this column which we’ve been requesting for years. Good lord! Right there in the New York Times, Egan stood up on the hood of his dust-caked truck and named an actual name:
EGAN: This phony event has brought out the worst of the gun-waving far right, and the national politicians who are barely one degree of separation from them...Was that really Sean Hannity’s name we saw in the New York Times? Strange as it seems, criticism of our cable buffoons virtually never occurs in our big papers of record.
With their assault rifles and threats, the thugs in the desert forced federal officials with the Bureau of Land Management to back down from a court-ordered confiscation of Bundy’s cattle. One of the rancher’s supporters, Richard Mack, a Tea Party leader who is in the National Rifle Association’s Hall of Fame, said he planned to use women as human shields in a violent showdown with law enforcement.
“We were actually strategizing to put all the women up front,” Mack said in a radio interview. “If they were going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot.”
That’s who Fox and friends are playing with these days—militia extremists who would sacrifice their wives to make some larger point about a runaway federal government. And what’s more, the Fox host Sean Hannity has all but encouraged a violent confrontation.
Hannity has played the sea-to-sea fool concerning the breakaway rancher. Has he “all but encouraged a violent confrontation?”
We’d require support for such a statement before we’d put it in print. But for years, we have said that it is news when TV “newsmen” mislead or misinform the public or behave in ludicrous ways.
We were pleased to see Hannity’s name in print this morning. We’d like to see more details next time. Once in a while, we’d like to see the news division at the Times do some news reporting on misstatements and other wayward behavior by such influential figures.
Warning! Sauce for the gander should make the Times too! Concerning a range of issues, our own Rachel Maddow has reminded us of Hannity more and more in recent year.
In a more journalistic world, misstatements made on the “liberal” channel would count as real news too.