Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse knows what Fox "news" host and flame thrower Sean Hannity is doing is bad for America, but he's incapable of saying that without trying to lump him in with Rachel Maddow and play the "both sides do it" game.
He did just that on this Sunday's State of the Union on CNN, when host Jake Tapper asked Sasse about the criticism on Hannity in his new book:
TAPPER: Let's turn back to your book. You have harsh words in the book for partisans on both sides, including Fox News host Sean Hannity. You write his goal is not to promote a conservative agenda or to offer coherent arguments against liberal principles, but instead, “his core cause is to rage.”
Hannity responded on twitter saying “After your book fails, I will gladly debate you about how the success of the last two years would never have happened with your never Trumper positions.” and “Also we could talk about” “why I know you are a con artist and phony.” “You owe the great people of Nebraska an apology.” I wanted to give you an opportunity to respond to Sean Hannity.
SASSE: Yeah, so I've told Sean I'd be happy to debate him in a neutral environment about whether or not his business model is good for America, because it's bad for America and I think we need to back up.
This isn't about Sean Hannity, it's about the whole polita-tainment industry, which is, I think the vast majority of Americans want politics to maintain a framework for ordered liberty, but they don't want politics to swallow up every sector and every aspect of life, every institution, and every discussion. And so most people are tuning this out.
And I think that's, it's important for us to sort of recognize what's happening, the way we consume media now, broadly. In the 1950s, "I Love Lucy" had a 68 percent share. It wasn't important content, but it was shared content. Everybody in America knew what Lucy and Dezi were doing and it was something you had in common with your neighbors, even if you were arguing with them about a project at work and you differed on politics.
Today, the most watched cable programming in America, Hannity is number one and Rachel Maddow is usually number two, both of them have the same basic business model, which is try to intensify the political addictions of the 1 percent of America that's listening to you and you can always just demonize your opponent, and never give a fair shake to what the other argument is.
And I say that as one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate. I'm the second most conservative member of the Senate. I'm not mealy mouth indifferent on policy, but I don't think policy differences mean that people I differ with, on a given policy, I have to regard as evil and, therefore, not as a part of a shared America.
And the business model that people like Hannity advance is not good for the next generation, because it doesn't get to any sense of what a shared republic is doing together.
Sorry Sasse, but Maddow's "business model" is not to lie to, inflame and constantly gaslight her viewers, or to act as a propaganda arm for a completely corrupt administration and the political party enabling him.
There wasn't an ounce of pushback from Tapper either, who just moved right along to the next topic.