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They Shoot Mad Dogs, Don’t They?

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I just had the strange and unpleasant experience of listening to Sean Hannity interview Russell Means on the radio. At least I think I have to call it an interview even if it mostly consisted of Russell Means mumbling semi-reasonable things and Hannity shouting him down and repeatedly calling him a ‘scumbag’. It was one of the creepier and more repulsive things I’ve been exposed to this year.

This ‘interview’ occurred on the Sean Hannity radio show as a result of the Ward Churchilll controversy. For those of you who live in EcoHuts in the far Yukon, Ward Churchill is the delusional professor at the University of Colorado who has been very outspoken with his theory that anyone who worked in the World Trade Center was part of the economic mechanism of American empire and therefore a fair military target, and that basically everyone who died on 9/11 deserved it. As you might imagine he’s not a real popular guy.

Anyway, at a speech Churchill made last week Russell Means did the introduction, and apparently Means has read and more or less endorses Churchill’s book. Now, Means is a very complex guy, and a bit nutty in his own right. But he’s got interesting things to say and is usually worth listening to if you let him get around to actually saying something. He’s not an easy interview, because he takes a while to get to his point and isn’t given to clear, straightforward answers.

What Russell Means really isn’t well suited to is being interviewed by a foam-flecked lunatic who seems to have no interviewing skills whatsoever and wanted him to either recant his support for Churchill instantly or just sit there and be insulted for 5 minutes.

The first thing which became clear at the start of the interview is that Shawn Hannaty has no idea whatsoever who Russell Means is. For someone who is supposed to be a professional interviewer and who has a staff of some sort to look things up for him, that’s inexcusable. Ok, maybe Hannity is too young to remember AIM and Means’ activities in the 60s and 70s, but surely someone on his staff could have looked Means up. The man is in Who’s Who in America. He’s all over the internet. There are multiple published biographies on him. How hard is it to find out who he is so your front-man doesn’t look like a complete idiot while talking to him? Hannity apparently thought Means was some sort of renegade leftist professor like Churchill, and when that turned out not to be true he latched onto Means mention that he was a part time actor and started gibbering about ‘you hollywood people’.

The ‘interview’ itself didn’t get very far at all. Hannity would read some statement from Ward Churchill, ask Means if he agreed, and then before Means could explain or qualify his agreement with the statement Hannaty would shout him into silence, ranting on about slain innocents. This type of exchange happened three times, and in the tirade at the end of the last one, before Means could even say much of anything, Hannaty started a rant in which he called Means a ‘scumbag’ five times, at the end of which Means had hung up. Of course, Hannity hardly noticed that Means was gone, and ranted on for another five minutes in a vacuum.

At the conclusion of this bizarre aural spectacle I felt more than a little queasy and wondering who the hell thought Sean Hannity was qualified to be interviewing people on the radio and TV in the first place. He’s generally not as bad as this on TV, but I guess radio indulges his worst instincts.

Ward Churchill is clearly a nut. If Russell Means is supporting him – hard to tell from this interview – then he’s made a pretty serious error in judgement. But why on earth is Hannaty bringing Russell Means on his show if he doesn’t know who the hell he is in the first place, isn’t going to let him get even one complete sentence out, and is going to shout him down and call him a scumbag? Russell Means deserves more respect than that, whatever his views on this particular topic may be.

As for Hannity, I’m at a loss. This was one of the most childish displays of unprofessional conduct I’ve seen in the media ever. More than that, this particular incident made him appear positively mentally unhinged, so overcome with emotion that he ranted like a lunatic street preacher and barked at his interviewee like a rabid dog. This type of display is neither informative nor is it entertaining. It’s everything bad that liberals accuse talk radio of being. Usually they’re wrong. In the case of Hannaty they appear to be dead on the money. He’s one mad dog who ought to be put down for the good of the rest of the talk radio community.


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About Dave Nalle

Dave Nalle is Executive Director of the Texas Liberty Foundation, Chairman of the Center for Foreign and Defense Policy, South Central Regional Director for the Republican Liberty Caucus and an advisory board member at the Coalition to Reduce Spending. He was Texas State Director for the Gary Johnson Presidential campaign, an adviser to the Ted Cruz senatorial campaign, Communications Director for the Travis County Republican Party and National Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus. He has also consulted on many political campaigns, specializing in messaging. Before focusing on political activism, he owned or was a partner in several businesses in the publishing industry and taught college-level history for 20 years.
  • Eric Olsen

    mad dog=rabies, maybe an injection into the stomach would help

  • Its good to see there are conservatives out there who agree with me about Sean Hannity!

  • I think Hannity’s bland good looks lulled people into accepting him at first, but that’s worn off now, and he’s just a scary embarassment.


  • C Wilson

    He treated him exactly like he should have been treated…like a scum bag.

  • RJ

    There is a reason why I enjoy O’Reilly more than Hannity. Hannity is a predictable right-winger. O’Reilly is an unpredictable right-winger.

    Both shout down their guests. But at least O’Reilly keeps you on his toes with the occasional “I didn’t see that coming” position on an issue.

    FWIW, Rush is entertining because he’s…entertaining! He’s a solid right-winger, but he’s fun to listen to. Hannity’s radio show bores me to death. His FOXNEWS TV show is a little better, but little better. Ya know?

  • I heard the beginning of the interview with Means, and when he stated that he agreed with everything in Ward Churchill’s book, but “only in the context of what Churchill didn’t say,” I turned it off.

    I don’t care what Means has done in the past (and I’m fairly familiar with his ideas), that’s just loony. I totally understand Hannity’s frustration.

  • But it’s so unprofessional to not at least let the guy explain what he means, and to have someone as famous as Means is on your show and clearly not know who the hell he is – that’s just embarasssing. If Hannity can’t control himself enough to complete an interview so that someone with questionable ideas gets a chance to hang himself, what use is he?

    O’Reilly would have handled this interview a thousand times better. He may be a bit of a blowhard, but he’s a professional and knows what he’s doing. He would have let Means have his say and then picked it apart. And he damned well would know who Means was going into the interview. Hannity is more and more coming off like a frustrated crank.

    Sorry, Means may have turned into a scumbag – though I’d pick a different term – but calling him one on the air is just embarassing. Hannity is a liability to the conservative movement.

    Oh, and what the hell is with Ward Churchill supposedly claiming to be an Indian?



    One of the main reasons I don’t listen to most of the talkshows is because a host constantly interrupts his guest, as though letting me hear the whole argument and make my own decision. It is the same as the other side thinking I am too stupid to understand the issue and trying to tell me what to think.

    All too often these personalities damage their own argument by making a well reasoned statement, and then following it up with some idiotic comment. No thanks, I’ll stick to news and blogs and make my own assessments.

  • Del

    I think Hannity’s ‘style’ of interviewing is due to the fact that he’s a terrible debater; he can’t think on his feet – and if his opponent throws him a curve ball that he hasn’t been prepared for he’s at a loss. Thats why he just screams and butts-in and fillibusters the whole interview. Its a stalling tactic to fill the time while keeping the interviewee from making a salient point and making Hannity look like the ignoramus that he is.

    I don’t listen to his radio show but I watch him on tv and I’ve noticed that he says the same stuff over and over and over again, like he’s a scripted robot. He has very few ideas of his own.

  • I’m a conservative, but I too have tired of Hannity and his one-note act. Pre-election he sounded like a parrot who could only repeat 3 or 4 phrases over and over and over….


  • D. Bower

    It is difficult to hear Russell Means is so disregarded. He has been my hero since 1973. He is the greatest American and mind alive. It is good he has come to the aid Of Professor Churchill. I’ve had the honor of hearing both lecture and personally spoke to both. The bravery of each is astounding. If Prof. Churchill was after money he’d be on Wall Street or in the right-wing media. It’s easy to go to war with the pentgagon behind you; quite another to mount the statement they did at Wounded Knee in 1973. They reaffirmed freedom and liberty for all Americans while taking machine gun rounds from the U.S. government in that tiny church on the land where the grandparents and ancestors of the living Lakota where slaughtered as women, men, children and infants. They did this to draw attention to the continuing genocidal policies and practices by white culture against the Lakota. America must come to acknowledge these facts. Could their critics, red or white have been so brave? Current Indian Journalism wallows in self pity. Where is the bravery in that? It has takened a man part white with an Indian heart, namely Ward Churchill, to label these activities genocide. As for the criticism by Indians of his Indianess, they need to expand their minds to realalize that many Indian woman who had married white men and had children where not allowed to enroll for their “pedigree papers” as the Indians who chose to sign the Dawes Roles. Many were part of both cultures before the Dawes Roles that gave Indians “pedigrees”. To these people, the was no division between red and white, they were one family. That their lives allowed them to walk outside of reservation lines made them no less Indian. There is no way for them to show up on paper as Indian. This was genocide by record keeping that some Indians have bought into. Their decendants live on in their honor. Other Indian families defied the order to go to reservation land and did not sign up. Where they less brave, honorable or Indian? I find it difficult to comprehend that people can have brains so small and unexpansive as to not be able to grasp the simple truths Prof. Churchill voiced. It is true that the hate-mongers like Hannity are equivalent to the German population that let Nazism take life. The shoe fit and Hannity wore it in true Nazi fashion.

  • D. Bower writes: “I find it difficult to comprehend that people can have brains so small and unexpansive as to not be able to grasp the simple truths Prof. Churchill voiced.”

    Two simple truths, according to Ward Churchill:

    1) “The World Trade Center victims were ‘little Eichmanns,'” (a reference to Adolph Eichmann, who carried out Hitler’s plan to exterminate Europe’s Jews during World War II).

    So, America’s Heroes of Enterprise = Nazi mass murderers? Capitalism and world prosperity = genocide? Obviously this is a case of university-funded moral equivalence, taken to a nutty extreme. I feel sorry for those who lost loved ones in the Towers that day. To hear a university professor not only justify that massacre – but show admiration for the murderers…well, it’s sickening. But not surprising. I’ll explain later.

    2) “The suicidal assassins of Sept. 11, 2001, did not ‘attack America,’ as our political leaders and the news media like to maintain; they attacked American foreign policy.”

    Whether they attacked America or America’s policies is totally irrelevant. What matters is this: before American policy – even before there was ever an AMERICA – the followers of islam waged eternal jihad on the world. The goal was to make the world ISLAM. That effort continues today, in Asia, Africa, Europe, and yes, in America. The followers of the Qur’an will capture, conquer, and kill – as per their “holy” verses – until the world falls under the oppressive yoke of islam. But don’t expect to hear this warning from your political leaders, the media, and certainly not from a third-rate thinker like Ward Churchill.

    There’s no doubting Churchill’s shock value is the kind of red meat that breeds headlines. Does it amount to sedition, or even treason? I’m no lawyer, but my guess is that in another era, when moral clarity was something to be admired, a crank like Churchill would’ve been deported, or jailed. But times have changed. We are now a complacent nation; we’ve lost track of the enemy within. There are legions of Fifth Columnists working to undermine our country. The problem is, they work BEHIND the scenes. That’s why I’m thankful for Ward Churchill who, unwittingly, has exposed the evil within. And for that, we, as a nation, owe this poisonous snake a debt of gratitude. For Churchill is “Hate” in its purest, unapologetic form – hate for America, Capitalism, and Western Civilization. The scary part is that you can find a Ward Churchill at every major university in the country.

    That’s probably news to most average folks. Which is why Ward Churchill is a blessing in disguise. Fact is, I don’t want this repugnant monster to be silenced at all. Maybe he should lose his teaching job (a job that he uses to brainwash, not teach, done at the expense of public funds – a travesty!). But muzzle him? Absolutely not. Ward Churchill should write lots of articles and books, hold press conferences, speak at rallies – and enjoy maximum media exposure. Hell yeah! I want Ward Churchill to get in the face of every American in Flyover Country, so that they will finally wake up and see the plague that is spreading from coast to coast. That plague is the American left.

    So there you have it, Ward Churchill. My advice: keep pounding those war drums, Chief.

    Oh, I forgot…you’re not a real Indian.

    As for Russell Means, whom I take is a REAL Indian, what can I say, except that I liked him in “Last of the Mohicans.” Great fight scene at the end there – when he chopped down Magua to size. Maybe Russell Means should stick to acting and forget “activism.” Then again, he probably won’t.

  • the truth

    I envision someday sean hannity is going to talk so much crap he’ll end up getting murdered by a crackpot lurking in a parking garage at fox news in new york city.

    If there ever was a symbol of hatred by terrorists it would be the propoganda machine at foxnews.

    You would hear how a truck bomb was parked outside of foxnews and it was exploded and the building was destroyed with everybody in it.

    It’s just a theory that i have.

    I have a vivid imagination.

  • Means was an activist before he was an actor, and I think that’s his main occupation. But most of what he does is very positive – raising money for indian education, promoting tribal self-reliance and preservation of native culture. Generally a good guy, but perhaps a bit naive in some ways.

    As for Churchill, the Sedition Act expired in 1801, so he’s free to say all the crazy stuff he wants. And I agree that all he does is expose how totally lost in loonyland a lot of liberals are.

    On the FoxNews propaganda machine. Hannity really isn’t typical of FoxNews. They may have a bit more of a leftward slant, but I have to say in their defense, that unlike almost all the other networks, their shows make an effort to get both perspectives on the air, and most of their hosts don’t shout the guests down like Hannity. Fox shows almost always have both a liberal and a conservative guest at the same time to debate an issue, and they get good people who actually have something to say. You don’t see much of that on other network shows or on other cable shows, except for Chris Matthews who also shouts everyone down. IMO that makes for more interesting ‘newsertainment’.


  • Dave Nalle writes: “As for Churchill, the Sedition Act expired in 1801, so he’s free to say all the crazy stuff he wants.”

    You might want to check your dates.

    The following comes from The U.S. Sedition Act, dated 16 May, 1918.

    SECTION 3. Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States, or to promote the success of its enemies, or shall willfully make or convey false reports, or false statements, . . . or incite insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or shall willfully obstruct . . . the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, or . . . shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States . . . or shall willfully display the flag of any foreign enemy, or shall willfully . . . urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production . . . or advocate, teach, defend, or suggest the doing of any of the acts or things in this section enumerated and whoever shall by word or act support or favor the cause of any country with which the United States is at war or by word or act oppose the cause of the United States therein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both….

    relevant url:

    Based on this definition, Churchill would seem to be guilty of sedition, although I’m sure there are clever lawyers out there who make a living doing semantic stuntwork, thereby blurring the issue.

  • “On the FoxNews propaganda machine. Hannity really isn’t typical of FoxNews. They may have a bit more of a leftward slant, but I have to say in their defense, that unlike almost all the other networks, their shows make an effort to get both perspectives on the air”

    You sure that was fox news you were watching there, Dave?

  • Absolutely. It sure wasn’t CNN where they get two liberals on to nod in agreement on every topic.


  • RJ

    In other times (say, 50 years ago, or earlier), Professor Churchill would have been lynched by an angry mob from a lamp-post.

    Today, he is heralded by some as a patriot and a hero.

    Sometimes, I think I was born too late…

  • Ward Churchill and Russell Means.. what HANNITY and O’REILLY are missing.. natch

    i think all of you are misinterpreting the intent of what Means and Churchill are saying.. these are Churchill´s words from commondreams.org

    Churchill later said he wouldn´t take back his “little Eichmanns” statement. But on the day he resigned as chair of the school´s department of ethnic studies, he issued a statement in which he said he wasn´t comparing all the victims to Nazis, just the “technicians” who died in the attacks.

    On Tuesday night, Churchill again emphasized that he was not blaming everyone in the towers for U.S. policies.

    “No I did not call a bunch of food service workers, janitors, children, firefighters and random passers-by little Eichmanns,” he said. “The reference is to a technical core of empire – the technicians of empire … obviously I was not talking about these people.”

    Now my take especially after viewing the recent TOWER
    burnings in MADRID for over 24 hrs>. where the TOWER NEVER FELL.. …. it was also made of STEEL RODS.. as was the WTC(which was an imposion bombing event).. therefore the WTC event was a REICHSTAG EVENT of the BUSH ADMINISTRATION.. to take us into WAR.. if you look at it that way.. which many non NDN´s do as well as NDN’s.. the CORPORATE WORLD IS THE NWO which we are fighting.. i think that is the correct interpretation these two men are trying to say.. EICHMANN AND CORPORATE EMPIRES ARE THE SAME THING>> AND THEY ARE!!!!!!! since the CEO’s of 9=11 were in OMAHA with WARREN BUFFET on 9-11, certainly THOSE could be considered ” little EICHMANN’s”

    sovereignty for humanity on planet EArth

  • I’ll just keep it simple and short then.
    Well written post Dave.

  • HW Saxton

    Fox Network needs to bring back the show
    “Celebrity Boxing”. Y’all can figure out
    the rest of the equation.

  • So, Wiolawa, because you’re off your meds that makes Churchill less insane?

    Do you really think people who work for stock brokers are like nazi bureaucrats? Are you really that completely divorced from reality?


  • Dave, don’t waste your time. Some people just don’t get it. Churchill has become the Pied Piper of Useful Idiots. Sit back and watch the line form behind him.

  • nick

    Sean wanted a simple yes or no. As is with his type Mr. Mr. Means began the “talk” and would not answer. He called him a scum bag because of his agreeing with Ward about the World Trade Center deaths. Sean knew who he was, I heard the interview.

  • Nick, a lot of questions require more than a simple yes or no answer. If Hannity expects a yes or no to every question then he’s not asking the right questions or doesn’t care what the real answers are.