Watching Fox News is always a bit of a funhouse mirror, like going down Alice's rabbit hole and sitting down for a sip at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
Last night, Sean Hannity and Brent Bozell of the right-wing propaganda outfit Media Research Center were all aghast at a boneheaded segment on Dylan Ratigan's MSNBC show featuring Ted Rall talking about the value of armed revolution to bring about change in America:
Hannity: They're unhinged. The Anointed One is elected, and the anchors would thrill up and down their legs and up every part of their body. Now all of a sudden conservatives win, because there's a repudiation of Obama and his liberal agenda, and now the suggestion of a revolution.
Bozell: Sean, now remember, we're the haters. Just hold that thought for a second. This is what his guest actually said on the show. He said, "The government, the corporations and the extreme right are prepared to coalesce into an axis of evil. Are we going to fight back. Will you do whatever it takes, including taking up arms?" This is a man who is a guest on this MSNBC show -- and utter silence from the hypocritical left, that they have that kind of person on there, but yet we are the haters.
Sean, I've asked this question a million times: Would you last -- if you had that kind of a guest on, that your show wouldn't be over before Roger Ailes fired you?
Hannity: There's a double standard. We all know this. I mean, it's transparent.
Bozell: The double standard is, Fox doesn't do that. You all would never allow on your show as your guest someone advocating violence in America.
Well, I dunno about guests, but what about Sean Hannity himself?
You may recall, as John and I explained in Over the Cliff, that it was Hannity who came unhinged immediately after the 2008 election of "the Anointed One" and began making suggestions of a revolution:
Hannity had made plain his intentions even before the inauguration. At his Web site, he began organizing in December what he called “the conservative underground” and asking people to “join the resistance” to the Obama administration. At the site’s discussion forum, one of his regulars posted an online poll asking respondents to answer: “What kind of revolution appeals most to you?” The possible answers: "A. Military Coup. B. Armed Rebellion. C. War for Secession."
Here's a screen grab:
[Via Political Carnival.]
Then, shortly after the inauguration of Obama, we got this:
The whole segment, as you'll see, almost explicitly urges an armed revolution to preserve "the tree of liberty". As Ellen at NewsHounds noted:
Hannity concluded by saying, “This administration has plucked the tree of liberty bare. It took more than 200 years but it now looks like we are headed back to where we started.” Meaning revolution? Hannity never said one way or the other.
He didn't need to; his meaning was clear enough.
More recently, he practically encouraged violence against liberals with some classic eliminationist humor:
If we get rid of liberals, we solve our problems.
It also has to be observed that you don't need to explicitly encourage acts of violence in order to inspire them. All Bill O'Reilly had to do was call Dr. George Tiller a "baby killer" 28 times on his national broadcasts to inspire someone one to walk into a church and shoot him in the head. All Glenn Beck had to do was rant endlessly about how evil the Tides Foundation is to inspire someone to plan an armed attack on their offices.
Likewise with Hannity, whose show the past couple of years has been an endless stream of extreme rhetoric explicitly designed to unhinge its audience. Maybe the apotheosis of this are the numerous times he has invited on various guests who promote wild conspiracy theories about President Obama's "socialist agenda," ranging from WorldNutDaily kooks to Jerome Corsi (but I repeat myself) to even Newt Gingrich:
Hannity was openly promoting Gingrich's story line, to wit, that President Obama and the evil liberals are going to destroy America by instituting a "secular socialist" state. Hannity could scarcely contain himself as they contemplated Obama's supposed deep-seated radicalism.
Hannity, you see, believes with Gingrich that "we are in a battle for the heart and soul of America -- in fact, the greatest battle since the Civil War."
And of course, we heard from a number of conservative figures -- notably Sharron Angle and Walter Williams who proposed a "Second Amendment solution" should things not work out at the ballot box.
Along those same lines, there was frequent Beck guest Stephen Broden, a GOP congressional candidate:
Watson asked if violence would be an option in 2010, under the current government.
"The option is on the table. I don't think that we should remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms," Broden said, without elaborating.
Beck himself talked up secession with Chuck Norris on his show -- not a call to violence per se, but certainly a call for revolutionary action.
Well, we could go on all day. But the point isn't really so much that the right advocates violence a great deal more than the left, though we can demonstrate that all day.
And let's be clear: I'm someone who will consistently repudiate the Ted Ralls of the Left who think somehow that violence is any kind of solution. But they are few and far between, and enjoy very little influence among progressives.
The point is that the Right commits a great deal more actual violence, and have for some time. (Just two days ago someone acting on a right-wing radio host's call for a "Second Amendment solution" with threats of extreme violence caused all the schools in Broward County, Florida, to be placed on lockdown.)
They also regularly and voluminously engage in rhetoric that encourages and invites and condones it.
And they never, ever cop to it, because no one holds them accountable for it. Now that's a double standard.