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"Did a Liberal Upbringing Turn John Walker Into a Traitor?"

December 17, 2001

Can you guess which talk show host asked this question -- quite seriously -- as an introduction to a segment on his show?   Driving the point home, that same host also asked as teasers prior to the segment:

Should the liberals of Marin, County, California -- should they take responsibility for American Taliban fighter John Walker?

Did John Walker become a traitor because of his liberal California upbringing?

If you guessed Sean Hannity, you're correct.

At first I just laughed at the stupidity of this question.  Then I realized, many of the viewers of the Hannity & Colmes program on Fox News will take this as a viable assertion.  It's already dangerous enough in this country to even voice a minor dissent concerning the manner in which the war on terrorism is being conducted.  Inflammatory statements like Hannity's tarnish an entire segment of the political spectrum with being incubators of treason.

To be fair, the actual segment during which this question was discussed was not quite as bad as the framework Hannity put around it.  Neither the "liberal" guest, Eleanor Clift of Newsweek, nor the conservative guest, Cal Thomas, columnist and Fox News political commentator, agreed with Hannity's underlying premise.  Even Hannity backtracked early on with a disclaimer that "Let me be clear.  Liberals are just as patriotic as conservatives, by and large, and you have extremists on both sides of the political spectrum."

Co-host Alan Colmes brought up the obvious rejoinder to Hannity's framing question, rhetorically asking if a conservative upbringing and a stint in the army could be the cause of Timothy McVeigh's terrorist actions.

Still, one of Hannity's teasers was heard on the preceding Fox show, Bill O'Reilly's The Factor, so any of those viewers not sticking around for the Hannity & Colmes segment would not have been exposed to the somewhat less inflammatory tone of the ensuing discussion.

More importantly, in these times, the mere decision to seriously pose such a question, in a forum guaranteed to give it wide publicity, shows an appalling lack of judgment, and goes way over the line, even for the Fox News "fair and balanced" network.

[more on media morons covering the war on terrorism]

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

More on Sean Hannity

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