Cliven Bundy, the defiant rancher of Fox News fame, has some strong opinions on “the negro.” Anyone surprised? I thought not. The real source of surprise here is how Fox News didn’t see this coming.
After all, even former Fox host Glenn Beck, who was kicked off the network for being too extreme, called Bundy “unhinged from reality” and warned conservatives colleagues to stay away. Bundy may have been too crazy for Beck, but Sean Hannity decided to give him as much legitimacy as Fox News could muster, using his “direct line” with the Bundy family to grant them interview after interview as a platform for their anti-government hysteria.
None of us, then, should be surprised that Bundy’s recent racially charged tirade has now bitten Fox News in the ass. Bundy decided to take advantage of the crowd that is now continually flocked around his to varnish his opinions on “the negro” — because, why not? The comments, which concerned his observations from that time he drove by a government housing project in Las Vegas, were reported by the New York Times:
I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro … and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
Because, as everyone knows, at the end of a long, hard day in the field, the slaves retreated back to their quiet family life, bouncing their children on their knees and enjoying all that “freedom.”
Hannity responded to these remarks on Thursday because the liberal media was “waiting for my comments breathlessly.” He said:
His comments are beyond repugnant. They are beyond despicable to me. They’re beyond ignorant to me, and my level of anger is about go back and listen to Democrats. Every election year they want to say Republicans what? Conservatives what? That conservatives are racists. Conservatives hate women. Conservatives want old people to die. Granny over the cliff. They want young people to fend for themselves. They want to poison the air. Poison the water, so people that for right reasons saw this case as government overreach, now are like branded because of the ignorant, racist, repugnant, despicable comments of Cliven Bundy.”
I’m sorry, what? For right reasons?
In the last couple of weeks, Hannity has not only been ignoring signs that Bundy is completely insane, but has been stretching basic conservative principles in order to give him a platform to criticize the federal government. Look no further than his retooling of the conservative stance on property rights. Hannity’s politics should lend him to a very strict interpretation of ownership: What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is yours. But for Hannity, that Lockean idea is conditional upon whether or not the property is owned by the government. Or, so says he:
I guess this goes to the heart of it here because what we’ve always been talking about is the government fighting over land that they don’t need for a hospital or a road or a school, and the land is going to be sitting there anyway, and all the cows are doing is eating and maybe going to the bathroom on it.”
Yeah. So, next time I’m out of town for a while and not using my apartment, go ahead and squat there. You might as well eat my food and poop in my toilet. It’s cool.
While the comments seemed to come as a surprise to Hannity, everyone else thought it was pretty predictable that a man who does not recognize the right of the federal government to exist but also loves waiving the American flag might be a little crazy. Even Beck knew these people were nuts.
“We did some research online with PsyID today,” Beck said on his show a few days ago, “and found that there’s about 10 or 15 percent of the people who are talking about [Cliven Bundy] online that are truly frightening.”
Yes. A man who once said he “was thinking about killing Michael Moore” called Bundy’s armed supporters “truly frightening.” So how did Hannity not see the same red flags?
Look, Sean Hannity is a smart guy. He made it all the way to the big time on Fox News. And, I don’t care what your politics are, you don’t get where he is by being a dumbass. But the arguments Hannity is making on behalf of Bundy are not just simplistic, they are downright stupid. So why is he saying things that — in all likelihood — he doesn’t really believe?
Because conservatives have been riding under the mindset of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” since Obama took office, and Bundy’s enemy is certainly the federal government.
Hannity is supporting Bundy for the same reason he constantly put birthers on his show; the same reason he keeps interviewing Ted Nugent and asking him serious questions about politics; and the same reason he allows Donald Trump a neverending platform to threaten continuous presidential campaigns. It’s because he is totally OK with embracing the most ridiculous versions of “conservatives” so long as they are saying nasty things about the Obama Administration. It doesn’t matter how absurd or completely discredited their opinion might be.
So, let’s just close this piece by basking in the glory of Jon Stewart’s takedown of Hannity’s entire chirade. Because, his show is, truly, “the Arby’s of news.”