by Scoobie Davis
The Lost Sean Hannity Conversation: I Told Sean Hannity off about the Sectarian Right's Bigotry and Venality
Before I began blogging in February 2002, I called Sean Hannity’s radio show in January 2002. I recorded it but lost the tape until about a week ago.
This conversation really illustrates a couple things:
1) Not that it’s news, but it illustrates that Hannity is a completely unprincipled liar; far from Hannity’s claim that members of the right have “to be perfect every time” they make a public statement, this call illustrates how Hannity can make false accusations and not pay a price. Good news, since I had the conversation with Hannity, blogs like mine have popped up and web sites like Media Matters for America have given Hannity’s TV and radio statements a paper trail. Hannity still lies but now he knows that people are out there recording and reporting on what he says.
2) Right-wing talk radio shows are a great conduit for information for talk radio listeners. Not everyone who listens to talk radio is a right winger; there are a lot of people on the fence. Calls like mine will cause them to do Google searches and discover that Hannity was the one who was “making things up.”
I called in as Jim from Los Angeles. Enjoy.
HANNITY: Jim, Los Angeles. Sean Hannity Show. What’s up, Jimbo?
SCOOBIE: Hey. What’s up, Sean?
HANNITY: Happy New Year.
SCOOBIE: I just heard you talking about how Democrats were supposedly attacking Christians for criticizing people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and I don’t see how you can make that kind of assumption.
HANNITY: Well, what I can tell is that I’m reading from Greg Pierson’s piece in the Washington Times yesterday and he was quoting Newsweek and Howard Fineman—their correspondent—how the Democrats are planning to demonize conservative Christians as being like the Taliban. According to Fineman, the Democrats are planning a daring assault on the most critical turf in politics, the cultural mainstream and the theory goes: our enemy in Afghanistan is religious extremism and intolerance. It is therefore more important than ever to honor the ideals of tolerance--religious, sexual, racial, reproduction—at home. The GOP quote is out of the mainstream and Democrats will argue that it’s too dependent on quote the intolerant religious right. In other words, they’re comparing Christians to the Taliban.
SCOOBIE: Yes, absolutely. First of all [laughing] don’t trust the Washington Times. It’s owned by Moon.
HANNITY: He’s quoting Howard Fineman. Howard Fineman is not a conservative.
SCOOBIE: Yeah, and the thing is that much of the sectarian right—I call it the sectarian right—is very Talibanesque. One thing I agree with President—
HANNITY: Whoa. Who is— Make your comparison. The Taliban, let us remind people, used to beat woman that would leave their homes without men. The Taliban wouldn’t let women go to school or go to work. The Taliban used to beat men if their beards weren’t a certain length. The most rigid interpretation of Islam that is out there. Explain. Compare and contrast for me where Christian conservatives are similar in any way.
SCOOBIE: Yeah, one thing I agree with President-select Bush’s September 18th speech before Congress--
HANNITY: Answer that question though. Where is that comparison? Compare and contrast.
SCOOBIE: George W. Bush criticized the Taliban for their mistreatment of Hindus but you have someone like Pat Robertson who said that Hinduism is demonic and that we shouldn’t allow that to come into the country.
HANNITY: First of all, I didn’t hear Pat Robertson say that. Now I know Jerry Falwell came under fire for comments he made after September 11th, but you gotta remember he apologized for those comments and he put them in context. He was speaking in a broader philosophical vein and if you don't accept his apology on that, that's fine. But you can't compare mainstream Christian conservatives with the Taliban. You can't make that comparison. It doesn't fit.
SCOOBIE: The thing is that these are not mainstream Christian conservatives. My mother is a mainstream Christian conservative. Pat Robertson is a nutcase and Jerry Falwell is a thief. These people are--
HANNITY: You know what I'm going to do: I gotta put you on hold her. This is important. We've got to work through this because there's a level of hatred toward Christian conservatives that I think is at the root of this.
[Bumper music and Hannity goes to the bottom-of-the-hour break]
[Bumper music and Hannity returns from the bottom-of-the-hour break]
HANNITY: I’m going to get to politics tomorrow—otherwise I would rush through it and I don’t want to do that. Back to Jim in Los Angeles. Jim, you still there?
SCOOBIE: Hi Sean.
HANNITY: Jim, here’s the question—that you have yet to answer this question. I gave you a list of how abusive the Taliban has been--in terms of their treatment of women, women who can’t go to school, women who can’t go to work, women who can’t leave their home without men, about men who must have beards a certain length, their extreme and fanatical interpretation of the Koran that believes that God has instructed them to kill who don’t believe, those that don’t agree with them—and I asked you to compare that to Christian conservatives and you make the comparison here where there’s some type of moral equivalency. You can’t do it.
SCOOBIE: Yes, I did. I pointed out that at least the Taliban allowed Hindus to come into their country. Pat Robertson said that Hinduism is demonic and we shouldn’t allow these people to come into our country. That’s religious bigotry-
HANNITY: Jim, you’re wrong because, for example, Christians are charged if they’re caught proselytizing. Remember these two girls we interviewed. Don’t dismiss that. Here in America, you can practice—and this is what freedom of religion is about—you can practice any religion you want—even an extreme religion, even what by definition is considered a cult.
SCOOBIE: Not if Pat Robertson had his way because he believes that anyone who’s not a Christian or a Jew is a second-class citizen and should not be allowed to hold office. We should oppose this kind of religious bigotry. That’s wrong.
HANNITY: You know, here’s the problem, ladies and gentleman around the country, in debating someone like Jim--
SCOOBIE: [loud annoyed sigh]
HANNITY: Jim, wait a minute, you’re obviously ignorant of your facts.
SCOOBIE: No, I’m not. You call Jerry Falwell the real deal. This man is a thief who steals from his flock.
HANNITY: Hang on for a second. Put him down for a second. Put him on hold. Don’t hang up, Jim, because this is important. [Hannity’s radio engineer temporarily pots down Scoobie’s audio] Number one, you’re ignorant because you don’t know Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell have been two of the staunchest supporters of Israel that are out there and outspoken in American society today. That’s fact number one. Number two, your criticism of Jerry Falwell as a thief is just—it’s clearly rooted in your own bigotry and hatred of him because of his religious point of view and his religious perspective. Jerry Falwell—you may not like his Christian perspective—but it doesn’t mean he’s a thief nor has he been caught stealing nor has he been accused of such and all you’re doing here is dropping these bombs in the hopes that somehow you can demonize their name and reputation. The person who is intolerant here is you.
SCOOBIE: Mr. Hannity, Jerry Falwell sold a video on his TV show to his flock that claimed that President Clinton was involved in drug smuggling and murdering people and he had this phony infomercial in which he claimed that an investigative reporter was fearful of his life. This was not an investigative reporter—this turned out to be the producer of the video itself. So he sold this phony, outrageous, libelous video at a high price—at a big markup—to his flock and he used deception and I call that stealing and that’s wrong.
HANNITY: Was President Clinton a criminal? Was President Clinton legally impeached? Was President Clinton found to have lied under oath?
SCOOBIE: Oh wow, the guy had sex and he doesn’t want to tell the whole world. Gee, is that the same thing as murdering people and drug dealing and the kind of thing that this scurrilous video says? That’s wrong.
HANNITY: President Clinton can’t practice law right now and when you talk about the Taliban women—the Taliban support al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda has been fighting against the Indian government in Kashmir. This is, they’re fighting against Hinduism, isn’t it?
SCOOBIE: Absolutely. And Pat Robertson and Falwell, they’re the biggest bigots for any religion other than Christianity.
HANNITY: Hey, listen, Jim. Everybody who has a particular religious faith believes that they have the right faith. I have never heard Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson say that they don’t believe in the principles of freedom of religion.
SCOOBIE: No, that’s wrong. Absolutely. Pat Robertson said that only Christians and Jews should hold office in the United States and that’s against the Constitution. [Note: Article VI, Clause 3]
HANNITY: Jim, you’re making this up.
SCOOBIE: [Angry] No, I’m not!
HANNITY: Jim, You’re making it up.
SCOOBIE: I can document--
HANNITY: Ladies and Gentlemen, Jim doesn’t like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell. Okay. Fine, Jim. Don’t listen to them. Don’t listen to them. [Angry] But don’t make up phony lies about them. Give us either one quote from either Robertson or Falwell. Give us the source.
SCOOBIE: Hinduism Today is the source behind the Pat Robertson quote about Hinduism--
HANNITY: No, no, give me the source. What did he say and when did he say it and where was it quoted?
SCOOBIE: Well, I don’t have these things in front of me but I’d be glad to e-mail you all of this information.
HANNITY: [Sarcastically] Sean, I’ll e-mail you tomorrow some time.
SCOOBIE: I’m sorry. I’m hanging out on my couch. I don’t happen to have the exact quotes with me. That doesn’t mean that my quotes aren’t valid. They are and I can back it up. I’ll tell you what: if you want to call me up, I’ll have all of this information for you tomorrow.
[HANNITY DISCONNECTS SCOOBIE]
HANNITY: [Sarcastically] Alright. We’re going to make a point of it. We’ll call Jim tomorrow. Thank you, Jim for your sourcing of your ridiculous quotes.
Look, I know Jerry Falwell, like Jerry Falwell, and what he said at the time that the attack took place, he admits was wrong and he apologized for it. Just as Bill Maher apologized for his comments. As we had both of them on this program since then, one of the things that’s wrong in our society today is if somebody says one wrong thing on the radio, on TV, if you have a political disagreement with them, nobody wants to give you time for clarification, a chance to edify your comments, a chance to apologize for your comments. We’ve got to be perfect when we’re out there in the media. What really is going on here , there is an intolerance towards Christianity and an intolerance towards conservatism. When I make an accusation on this program, I back it up with facts. Let’s go to Steve in Jacksonville. . .
REALITY: Contrary to Hannity’s claims that I was "making things up," every accusation I made against Falwell and Robertson was true and I hyperlinked to documentation of Falwell and Robertson’s words and actions. The accusations I made against them are irrefutable.
UPDATE: Check out my other conversation with Hannity that contains many Hannity links.