They really aren't disturbed in the least over at Fox News to be in the position of actually appearing to control the presidential primaries for one of the nation's two major political parties. Last night, Sean Hannity debuted his 'Hannity Primaries' segment, which supposedly will be all about vetting the Republican candidates, at least according to Hannity:
HANNITY: And tonight, on a special edition of Hannity, we are kicking off the 2012 campaign with our very own Hannity Primaries. Now, throughout the campaign, we'll give each candidate a half-hour, right here on the show, to share his or her views with our audience.
But if the first segment is anything to go by, there won't be much actual vetting going on -- or at least, it will resemble the fine job the McCain campaign did on their veep choice in 2008. No, these segments will be about promoting and cheerleading the GOP field and letting everyone else sort it out, because this one was just a classic Hannity Job: "one of those appearances where Sean strokes you, tosses you a bunch of softballs, and lets you promote your campaign and issue non-answers whenever you like."
This became abundantly self-evident when Hannity tried out a "tough" question: Asking Santorum about his boneheaded remark that John McCain "doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works". Hannity got this out of him, and was obviously satisfied:
HANNITY: As we looked into this, recently you had talked at length that you said Senator McCain was wrong, or doesn't understand enhanced interrogation techniques. And there was a backlash, because obviously he had been a prisoner of war for five and a half years. He himself, I believe, had been tortured.
SANTORUM: Which of course I knew. What I was talking about was the enhanced interrogation program that he has opposed for a number of years. And I have supported it. And so there's a policy difference between Senator McCain and I and he got up and wrote an article which I just think was wrong. And I, so that's why I said he obviously doesn't understand that this program actually worked to produce leads that led us to Osama bin Laden as well as other things.
And so it was obviously -- not gonna comment on John McCain's heroism and his withstanding torture and all the things that John did to serve our country. I think he's just wrong on this public policy matter and I said so. And I may continue to say so. I think that our enhanced interrogation program was vital. It is not torture. I don't believe it's torture. Now, John may have a different opinion, but I don't believe it's torture.
This is, of course, incredibly LAME (which is the word that springs second to mind when I think of Rick Santorum, the first being "Santorum"). If you read the McCain op-ed in question, it factually destroys the false claim that these interrogations had anything to do with capturing bin Laden. Indeed, outside of Fox News and Republicanville, these facts are clearly established.
So, for that matter, is the more significant point -- namely, that even if torture did work, it's still not something Americans should ever indulge. The torturer, after all, is the enemy of all mankind.
Which puts Rick Santorum and Sean Hannity in some interesting company, when you think about it. Especially because these "Hannity Primary" segments look like they will be a version of torture to watch.