Jodi Kantor is the author of The Obamas, a recently-released account of President and Mrs. Obama's adjustment to the White House. Many of you know I am not a fan of the book, not because it's particularly negative, but because there is a lot of projection about what motivates different people, particularly the Obamas, to do certain things. If I had to rate it on a scale from horrible to fantastic, it would get a "mostly meh" from me.
I wonder if Jodi Kantor really expected what Hannity did during this interview with her tonight. He didn't really want to talk about what was in the book at all. What he wanted to do, more than anything else, was to talk about what wasn't in the book, why it wasn't in the book, and whether she agreed with him that it should have been in the book. Specifically, he was rather put out that she hadn't written anything about the Grand Conspiracy between Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and Media Matters for America. You may be wondering to what Grand Conspiracy I am referring. If I knew the answer, I would surely tell you.
After dispensing with his expected concern trolling over Kantor being "attacked by another network," he moved in for the pounce, at about 1:35 or so:
HANNITY: I look at the people the President has surrounded himself with, and one in particular you quoted as being really upset at the year-long separation, for example, of Jeremiah Wright. And you remember the column that you wrote. What is it -- why do conservatives like me look at his background and look at Rezko, look at people, Jeremiah Wright, look at this inner circle, and say "I find he hung out with radicals his whole life. Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dorn, and there's a part of his life that he hides.
I don't think he's honest with the American people.
Here, Sean. Let me fix that. What you really wanted to ask Jodi was how she could possibly have interviewed all of these friends and left out the part about who the REAL OBAMA is, and what a liar he is. You got close, but let's just call it what it is.
Kantor is delightfully obtuse in her answer, which forces Hannity to have to be more overt in his pretzel-twisting:
KANTOR: Well, I think the 'no new friends' rule really goes to the President's overnight rise. That quote comes from 2004, and part of what happened is the President and First Lady really did go from living this anonymous life to suddenly the President was a political celebrity. And the reason they limited their circle then I think was to -- I think they wanted to preserve, in their friends' telling, a kind of authenticity to their relationship. They didn't want to just sort of schmooze with new political allies --
HANNITY: But do you think this number in your research? Like Valerie Jarrett, this close relationship in this news story with Media Matters. And an enemies list that this group creates. And going up to the highest, closest connection to the White House with the President himself, Valerie Jarrett. And she's part of this.
What are we to glean from Ayers, Wright, Jarrett, Media Matters? And I see this as a conservative, as an outspoken conservative and I say there's something not right. Am I off base? Am I not tapping into something?
Let me take the answer to this one, Jodi. In a word, Sean, yes. You are off base. You have taken these people and made them into some cabal that simply does not exist. Here, let me show you how it's done, Sean.
What am I to glean, as a liberal, from Brent Bozell, founder and president of Media Research Center, making regular appearances on your show to slam other networks, writers and 'liberal' media? What exactly is your relationship with him? There's something not right about a so-called 'independent' media watchdog sending its highest officer to your show, Sean, about once a week to defend your network and your network alone. Oh, and if he happens to take the President down a few notches along the way, that's okay too.
It's just not right. Am I not tapping into something?
Okay, handing it back to Kantor now. At this point in the interview, the expression on Jodi Kantor's face makes transcribing the interview worth every painful second. And her answer to this one is a bit more fun.
KANTOR: To be honest, I'm not sure Valerie Jarrett and Jeremiah Wright actually know each other. Their backgrounds are -- really different. Yeah, but I've interviewed Jarrett and the President's closest friends extensively and I don't think there's anything necessarily radical about them.
HANNITY: So Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Jarrett's association with Media Matters, seems perfectly normal to you.
KANTOR: Well, Ayers was kind of a tangential guy in the President's life. I've looked into it and there's no evidence that they had a particularly close or formative relationship.
HANNITY: No? He started his political career in his house, they gave speeches together, they sat on boards together. When asked about it one time, he said it's a guy in the neighborhood. You don't think that's odd?
KANTOR: In the biographical reporting I've done it's somebody like Jarrett who was a mentor in Chicago, and has a pretty conventional background as a businessperson and I don't think there's anything radical about her background. She's the person who has a much closer and more formative relationship with the President than somebody like Bill Ayers, I think.
I've got to give Kantor credit for deadpanning this whole interview. It's only her facial expression that gives away the thought she is surely having at this point -- What on earth is this man going on about? It's that deadpanning that finally gives Hannity a clue that he needs to move on to something else and end on a high note.
To wrap up the loose ends, Sean Hannity is trying to link up one board association with Bill Ayers and a dinner given early in Obama's political career with Valerie Jarrett's White House logs showing a few visits by Eric Burns at Media Matters and Jeremiah Wright's sermons.
None of it makes any sense, but it's not supposed to. For Hannity viewers, it's really just all about hammering home the "scary black guy in the White House with American-hating radical friends" theme to his loyal viewers. He even opened up this segment with the characteristic reference to "the Anointed One".
If we were to flip this around a little bit and do the same thing to Mitt Romney, could we possibly link up Brent Bozell, Scott Walker, Catholic bishops, Mormonisms bizarre baptism of the dead rituals, and Mitt's dog Seamus with an open question about whether or not something is a little bit not right about it? Oooh, and let's not forget Glenn Beck, because after all, he IS a Mormon. Right?
On February 21st, David Brock's latest book comes out. It's called "The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network Into a Propaganda Machine". I'm certain it's just coincidence that Fox News and Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller are ramping up the crazy noise machine this week, right? Of course it is.