The video is a “discussion” between Sean Hannity and Patrick Buchanan on Fox News. The point of this post is not to delve into the substantive merits of Iranian nuclear negotiations, the contentious subject under discussion. Rather, it is to demonstrate what mainstream media news has become. Keep in mind that Buchanan is a guest on the show and Hannity is his host. The two were on the air for 6 minutes and 2 seconds. Buchanan has written numerous columns on Iran, some of which have been featured on SLL (“Did We Vote For War?” 11/18/14, “The Persians Are Coming!” 1/27/15, “Does Iran Really Want A Bomb?” 3/10/15). Given his output on the subject, it is fair to say that not even if he had been allowed to speak the full 6 minutes and 2 seconds would he have been able to elucidate his underlying assumptions, make his argument, and counter potential objections.
However, Buchanan’s time fell far short of that 6 minutes and 2 seconds. Hannity spoke, sometimes over Buchanan, for 3 minutes and 31 seconds, or 58 percent of the time. He interrupted Buchanan at least 12 times, so Buchanan was rarely able to complete his thoughts. Buchanan handled the situation about as well as it could be handled, but Hannity’s rudeness was appalling. He made no effort to question Buchanan in such a way that would allow his guest to make his points, rather the host turned it into a nonstop argument. He told Buchanan he was “dreaming,” twice, and that he was “dead wrong.” Somewhere, if we were brought up right, we were taught to be gracious to our guests, and to take turns talking. Hannity’s act would be an embarrassment to any well-mannered first grader (and yes, they do still exist).
Why was Buchanan even invited on to the show if Hannity was just going to regurgitate Fox News’ well-known position on the Iranian negotiations? Why would Buchanan subject himself to Hannity’s abuse? Hannity is by no means an anomaly. He has a partner in pompous, preening, presumption in Bill O’Reilly. Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, and other “celebrity” television journalists (who are, after all, just glorified news and propaganda readers) are often just as uncivil and outright rude. There are obviously viewers who want to see opposing views shouted down, but this kind of display is an insult to most viewers’ intelligence, and has to be one of the reasons why so many now get most of their news and analysis from the Internet.