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by Steve Young

Steve Young columns

Pity Sean Hannity: When Rep. Patrick Kennedy crashed his car in the middle of the night, Hannity had to wait twelve long hours before his radio show would begin and he could tell listeners how he only wished the young Congressman well.

I knew Hannity would charge that Kennedy received a pass from DC police, but I was eager to hear him spin why this incident was so different than the pass Dick Cheney received from Texas officials. I certainly couldn't find much difference, 'cept maybe that one guy hit a barricade and the other guy shot an old man in the face.

As Sean is wont to do, he prefaced every condemnation of Kennedy with a sincere concern for the well-being of his target.

"I wish only the best for that kid."

Genius. He even brought on Democrat Bob Beckel. This way when liberals slam him for his lack of compassion he can go to the tape or his "I guess you don't listen to the show" bleat. He demonstrated that routine outside Terri Schiavo's hospice, insisting that he only wanted all the facts to come out, while inviting every nutball to the microphone to urge the immediate lynching of Michael Schiavo. He played the same trick recently with the Duke lacrosse team rape story: "I think we should wait for all the facts to come in, BUT..." The BUT is the signal that he is about to discredit the alleged victim prior to "all the facts coming in."

"I wish only the best for that kid, BUT...."

I wondered if Kennedy could feel the new asshole about to be ripped into his addictive behavior.

"It may be unfair, but there are people are going to bring up the sins of the father," Sean sympathetically cooed. Then he decided it was best to err on side of unfairness as he reminded us over and over and over what the sins of the father were: Chappaquiddick. He left that girl to drown. He went home to sleep. He got a pass.

And he was sure to ask every guest if they agreed.

"It may be unfair but there are people are going to bring up the sins of the father...but what do you think about how the sins of the father play here?"

Just to balance the analysis, he brought in Ann Coulter.

This is not to question the validity of Chappaquiddick, or the injustice of some people having the money or connections to allow them to buy a pass. But after he repeated dozens (maybe hundreds -- I lost count) of times the sins-of-the-father bit, it seemed like old Sean was beating the red herring until it was black and blue.

Sean also could hardly hide his compassion as he reminded us of the particulars of the pass people like the Kennedys receive as opposed to "you or I." Sean is fond of using the "you or I would never receive the same get out of jail free card," attaching it as a display of the sameness he shares with his audience. The same sameness he applies to when he pushed for abolishment of the unfair Death (Estate) Tax, which I'm going to guess applies to Sean and about 0.1 percent of his audience. Making $5 million a year like Sean does is not a crime. Insisting that his power and pocketbook are affected the same as his audience is not a crime either, but it is a lie. It is not a crime to make a living by lying to the people who trust you the most, but it is shameful. At least, it would be to you or I.

Two points were evident in the three straight hours of covering the Kennedy story: Sean never saw or even mentioned the irony of a Vice President's lack of a Breathalyzer test the same day he shot a man in the face. Nor did Sean mention his defense of it when it happened. The second point, and the one that affected me personally, was that Sean said that NO LIBERAL stood up to support Rush Limbaugh when he faced addiction problems.

Glossing over the pure hypocrisy of Rush's incessant condemnation of the addicted and the fact that right-wing talk went balls ahead to pummel Kennedy and the "sins of the father," Sean knew damn well he was lying when he said that no liberals empathized with or encouraged Rush's recovery.

Sean is aware that many on the left did come out to wish Rush back to health. He also knows that I, who was once a regular guest (until I suggested he actually hugged a liberal), was one of them. My sincere good wishes appeared in editorials printed in many of the biggest right wing outlets, including the Washington Times and the

Sean also said that part of Kennedy's ability to get sober through 12-Step programs was the need to get honest with one's self, and in the less than twenty-four hours since the accident, Kennedy had yet to tell Sean the whole truth. What's taking this kid so long?!

I don't know that Sean has any addiction where a 12-Step program would help, but with his own problem with honesty, he sure could use one.

Steve Young, author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" can be read every Sunday in the LA Daily News Op-Ed page (right next to Bill O'Reilly)

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Albion Monitor   May 5, 2006   (

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