Sean Hannity did a wonderful job disavowing the comments of Cliven Bundy, the man he most recently made famous for refusing to pay grazing fees to the government. I truly believe that he is upset with Bundy’s comments, and that he regrets having those comments reflect poorly on the issue that concerns him. That issue is property rights, government overreach, and no small amount of eminent domain. It’s just too damn bad that he brought this all on himself.
Aside from being what Glenn Beck called a ‘welfare rancher’, Cliven Bundy is a nut. You didn’t have to listen to him for five minutes to know that. Hannity didn’t care, because Bundy represented a larger ‘anti government’ cause. Indeed, Sean spent part of his time feeding Bundy scenarios of the Bureau of Land Management planning a late-night raid, and what might Mr. Bundy do about that? The government had backed-down, having judged that what was already a tinderbox was now being inflamed by a talk-show host. But hey, nothing like stoking up a nutty guy and his militia with rumors of the Feds returning, right?
Conservatives used to talk about the rule of law. I have distinct recollections of this during impeachment. As Jon Stewart amply pointed out, Hannity is all about “the rule of law” when it rules against liberals. When it rules against conservatives, as in this case, not so much. Bundy was breaking the law, and Hannity didn’t care. If anything, he justified Bundy breaking the law. Then, as if being a lawbreaker wasn’t enough, Bundy is also a racist. Fabulous.
Hannity hosts a show on a “news channel”, and occasionally fashions himself as a journalist. He reaches millions of people. He used that reach to promote a person who is breaking the law as a hero to conservatives. In so doing, he creates a situation where every Republican/conservative has to disavow the rantings of some old man about whom no one should rightly give a crap.
This situation had the potential to end badly, long before any cameras showed up. Had Fox covered the story in a responsible manner, and it blew up, the outcome would have been the story. From a craven perspective, that would have done much more for any “cause” that they were promoting. As it stands now, the story is how conservatives are running scared from a 15 Minute Hero. The story is also how right-wingers, led by Hannity, were supporting an obvious nutjob. Great work, Fox News.