Our de facto motto, as I laid out last week: “Cable news: We watch it so you don’t have to.”
In keeping with that promise, your humble editor-in-chief viewed the latest edition of Hannity‘s goofy mega-panel series, this time featuring 20+ pundits eager to shout at each other about ISIS, the Oklahoma beheading story, and the Secret Service.
For the uninitiated, these mega-panels typically include a variety of people: Overeager pundits, hapless experts, and attractive faces — all happy to yell at each other — along with some sensible commentators who get drowned out in the cacophonous flurry of shrieking and fake outrage.
Put all of those people in a cage (Hannity’s studio), get them heated up with incendiary questions, encourage them to shout over each other for 44 minutes, and, oh baby, you’ve got a TV show going!
Here are the highlights, starting with a relatively tame one:
Hannity Battles Moderate Muslim Who Says Jihadists Misinterpret the Koran
Muslim speaker and self-avowed moderate Mike Ghouse was tasked with dissecting how there are “two Islams” — a “pristine” one followed by a majority; and a “mangled” one followed by jihadists. Several seconds into his explainer on how scholars from the 10th and 11th centuries “have misinterpreted the whole thing,” Hannity interrupted (a common thread) to say “I’ve read the Koran.” The host countered that words like “jihad” and “infidels” are in that holy book, but we never got to see the end of the discussion, as the panel quickly moved on.
(That was just an interesting little snippet. It was actually one of the more timid moments, as you’ll see in a second…)
Imam and Room Full of Pundits Yell at Each Other
Imam Muhammad Siddeeq of the Nur-Allah Islamic Center refused to condemn Hamas for its charter calling for an end to Israel, instead suggesting the Palestinian organization should “change the charter.” He also echoed Ghouse’s comments on radical Islam being separate from majority Islam.
Enter several minutes of shouting.
Rather than transcribe what happened, let’s just say it ended with Todd Starnes (you knew he’d show up eventually), with characteristically overwrought language: “Let’s be real, sir. A grandmother was beheaded in the United States of America, sir. A grandmother was beheaded in the United States of America.”
As several people shouted in the background, the imam wailed: “Am I going to get a chance to talk?!”
Nope. No one will. That’s the fun!
Some More Howling and Shrieking, Plus Some Todd Starnes Gems
When criminal defense lawyer Joe Tacopina suggested the Oklahoma beheading does not constitute “jihad” because the killer was likely just a nutcase who “used the Koran as a defense” for his murderous actions, the crowd went wild.
Panelists Bo Dietl and Michelle Fields both traded some heated words with Tacopina, eventually finding the lawyer in a red-faced frenzy. Fellow attorney Tamara Holder attempted to calm the situation by agreeing with Tacopina, saying the beheading suspect was clearly crazy and will use insanity as his defense.
And then Hannity said “Let me go to Todd Starnes in the back,” so you know you’re in for a treat. Some of his gems: “What was 9/11? Air rage?” followed by a breathless declaration that the Oklahoma beheading “was an act of terrorism on American soil.”
Enter Tacopina shouting again, and then a group-wide clamor that swelled for another minute or so, reaching a feverish climax while Hannity attempted to throw to commercial break.
Bill Ayers and Reverend Wright Make a Cameo
What’s a Hannity extravaganza without one mention of 2008 election celebs Bill Ayers and Rev. Jeremiah Wright?
During the segment on the White House fence-jumper and what it means for Obama’s foreign policy (or something like that), GOP strategist Noelle Nikpour noted: “You have to realize Obama’s background from the very beginning. This is someone who palled around with Bill Ayers — y’know, look at what Bill Ayers’ background is. This is someone that went to a church that basically preached hate.”
Holder interrupted, demanding Nikpour make her point, which she never did.
More Shouting, What Else? Use Your Imagination.
Another segment, another beautiful symphony of pundits yelping, squealing, and screeching.
This one had so many voices overlapping, it’s actually quite difficult to fully recap what happened. Here’s my half-assed attempt: More of Fields and Tacopina screaming at each other over whether the beheading suspect was a criminal or a jihadist; the imam battles everyone again; discharged Navy SEAL Carl Higbie warning that ISIS is already fighting “on our front lawns”; Bo Dietl shouting that “Today’s Twitter is out!” as if it’s a daily newspaper; and a former military sniper outright declaring that the beheading suspect is a member of ISIS.
Once again, the yelling continued into commercial break.
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