Sean Hannity is whacked in this week’s Newsweek as a ratings-hungry phony. In the “Conventional Wisdom Watch” box, credited to senior editor Jonathan Alter, Hannity (and Rush Limbaugh) are handed a “down” arrow and an insult over their supposed exploitation of the Wrong Reverend Wright:
Along with Rush, uses race-baiting to score ratings. Now that’s hating America.
A few lines above, Barack Obama gets only a sideways arrow, and the line:
Will the greatest speech in recent history get him sidelined as a “black candidate”?
It should come as no surprise that Jonathan Alter and Obama don’t share an audacity of hope about Hannity’s sincerity. Near the end of Obama’s memoir, Dreams from My Father, page 453:
My wife will tell you that by nature I’m not somebody who gets real worked up about things. When I see Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity baying across the television screen, I find it hard to take them seriously. I assume they must be saying what they do primarily to boost book sales or ratings, I do wonder who would spend their precious evening with such sourpusses.
It gets funnier on the next page where he goes into pox-on-both-houses mode and complains of both right and left:
They are stories of conspiracy, of America being hijacked by an evil cabal. Like all good conspiracy theories, both tales contain just enough truth to satisfy those predisposed to believe in them, without admitting any contradictions that might shake up those assumptions.Their purpose is not to persuade the other side but to keep their bases agitated and assured of the rightness of their respective causes – and lure just enough new adherents to beat the other side into submission.
This all contradicts the “Faith” chapter in The Audacity of Hope (page 198), where Obama tells a story of receiving an e-mail from a Christian doctor who wondered why a fair-minded man like Obama would have website language about his willingness to fight “right-wing ideologues who want to deny a woman’s right to choose.” Obama changed the language to something mellower, he wrote, and prayed to recognize the idealism in his opponents:
And that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own – that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me.