There was yet another great segment for liberals on Hannity & Colmes Friday night, March 23, 2007. Alan Colmes and News Hounds top dog and radio talk show host Leslie Marshall provided the perfect response to attacks from Sean Hannity and Michael Reagan against Charlie Sheen over his narration in a “9/11 conspiracy” film. Marshall and Colmes confronted Hannity and Reagan for attacking Sheen with personal insults rather than debating the issues at hand. Neither Hannity nor Reagan had a counterargument, other than to level more attacks at Sheen and the left. The result, in my view, was that Hannity and Reagan were exposed as thuggish oafs while Marshall and Colmes sounded the voices of reason. With video.
Hannity, during a teaser at the beginning of the program said, “The hopelessly confused actor is going to narrate a film full of his wild-eyed conspiracy theories.” Can you imagine Alan Colmes saying before a segment about, say, Ann Coulter, “The hopelessly malicious columnist will offer more of her crackpot theories in an upcoming book?” I can't. On FOX News, the conservatives do the attacking, often while complaining about the rhetoric of the left.
At the beginning of the actual discussion, Hannity played a clip of Sheen calmly talking about why he doesn't believe the official explanation of 9/11. Hannity said, “That was Charlie Sheen, ranting like a lunatic.”
Reagan didn't waste a moment getting in a slur of his own. “The apple does not fall far from the very tree at all, with Martin Sheen being his father.”
In synch with the conservatives, the screen chyron read, “CHARLIE SHEEN'S 9/11 CONSPIRACY RANT HEADED TO THE BIG SCREEN.”
Reagan added, without explaining how he “knew,” that jihadists will use the film to blame the Jews.
Marshall laughed at that, saying that she has a lot more Jew in her than he does. Comment: Why don't more liberals laugh at conservative attempts to intimidate them? What could take the wind out of a bully's sails more?
Marshall said, “Last time I checked, we're all Americans here… I don't think someone's an idiot if they disagree with you or me, Sean…. I don't think Sheen's an idiot for expressing his mind.” Responding to Hannity's ridicule of conspiracy theorists, she added, “Last time I checked, there are a lot of people today in Dallas standing on a grassy knoll, still disputing the single-bullet theory and Arlen Specter is still in office.”
During Colmes' turn, he said to Reagan, “Look, the fact of the matter is, I don't agree with Charlie Sheen. But, you know, your way of dealing with it though is to ‘Let's denounce Charlie Sheen. Let's denounce Martin Sheen…' rather than actually debate the issue and talk about just what's going on here. You want to make it personal and go after the individual.”
Reagan answered, “You're out of your mind to debate that.”
Colmes continued, “You're missing my point. My point is, you take free speech, which we all agree we all have, and you meet that with other free speech... That's the way free speech works… You choose to make it a personal attack on the individual rather than deal with what the individual is saying, which you can easily refute.”
Reagan had no answer to that, apparently. So he widened his field of attack. “People who support that also are giving aid and comfort to the enemy.”
“Stop with the aid and comfort to the enemy,” Colmes told him. “Michael, can we believe everything the government tells us?”
Reagan stopped in his tracks. “What kind of a question is that, Alan?”
“A good one!” Colmes fired back. “I'm trying to get beyond the idiot-calling and actually have a conversation with you, if that's possible. We've already established that you think he's an idiot. That's your level of debate. Do you think the government would ever lie to us?”
But Reagan didn't seem to have anything else to say beyond attacking the left. “Don't make the issue other than what it is. It is Charlie Sheen, Mark Cuban supporting Charlie Sheen and putting this out so the left can have an orgasm…”
Marshall jumped in. “The only person having an orgasm here, Michael, are the right, attacking the Sheens – Charlie and his father – attacking any conspiracy theory, actually attacking any one individual on a personal level – I agree with Alan – rather than just ‘let's sit down and talk.' …One of the things that I know is that you can only learn more if you hear every side and every opinion.”
Reagan, stymied again, responded with yet more invective. He said scornfully, “Charlie is a wonderful human being, just a wonderful guy…”
Marshall answered, “That's not what I said. I've never met him… I'm here to debate what he's doing. I'm not going to debate his character.”
Hannity broke in to end the discussion. Waggling his bullyboy pen, he declared, without offering any evidence, “He has free speech but I gotta tell you something. This will be used by America's enemies as propaganda.” Comment: Unlike, say, an invasion of a Middle East country on false pretenses?
Colmes said sarcastically, “You should never speak out in this country.”
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