In case you missed it, a bit of a brouhaha has developed between American commentator Sean Hannity and British comic Russell Brand.
Here is how CNN reported the dispute:
It may have started as a TV debate about the Israel-Hamas conflict, but it’s now turned into a seemingly endless online war of words between Russell Brand and Fox News anchor Sean Hannity.
The British comedian, actor and occasional political commentator branded Hannity a “terrorist” last week after the conservative U.S. pundit berated a Palestinian guest on his show during a heated debate over Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas militants in Gaza — a conflict that has claimed the lives of hundreds of Palestinians and dozens of Israelis in the past month.
In a July 24 “Hannity” segment branded “Sympathy for the Terrorists,” the right-wing Fox host began his interview with Yousef Munayyer, the Palestinian executive director of the U.S.-based Jerusalem Fund, by jabbing a finger at his guest and demanding to know how he would react if thousands of rockets were being fired into his neighborhood — a reference to Hamas firing rockets into Israel.
Munayyer attempted to answer several times but was interrupted by the increasingly infuriated Fox anchor, and the interview reached its nadir when a visibly agitated Hannity bellowed, “What part of this can’t you get through your thick head? Is Hamas a terrorist organization?” before cutting the interview short with a terse “goodbye.”
Russel Brand used his YouTube account to criticize the way that Sean Hannity treated Yousef Munayyer. Hannity responded to Brand with the following Tweet:
@rustyrockets aka Mr. Katy Perry, heard you don’t like my interview style. Well, I got some professional advice for you. Tune in at 10p ET
I watched that segment of Hannity’s show that Brand responded to, and CNN’s description of what happened is correct. Hannity repeatedly jabbed his finger at Munayyer, berated Munayyer and didn’t let Munayyer finish speaking.
From the beginning, Hannity looked and acted as if he were angry. It was as if Hannity had set up Munayyer to be a punching bag.
Hannity wants to give Brand “professional advice”, when it is Hannity’s professionalism – or lack thereof – that is the topic of Brand’s initial complaint.
Hannity’s opinion about Hamas may be correct, but the way that Hannity treated a guest with a contrary opinion was unnecessarily abrasive.
Had Bill O’Reilly been the one talking to Munayyer, then O’Reilly would have been firm and assertive, but he would also have been calm and courteous. Even when O’Reilly disagrees with a guest, he always thanks that guest for appearing on O’Reilly’s program.
Of course, Hannity isn’t O’Reilly, and it shows.
As for Russell Brand, his criticism of Hannity was also unnecessarily abrasive, but that is to be expected from him. Also, I do not agree with Brand’s opinion about what is happening between Hamas and Israel.
However, even a broken clock is correct twice a day. I consider that to be the case in regards to Brand’s criticism of Hannity’s treatment of Yousef Munayyer. In my opinion, Hannity started off hostile, which set the tone for that segment of his show.
No, Hannity wasn’t a verbal terrorist, contrary to what Brand claims. However, Hannity was rude to his Palestinian guest, and Hannity made things worse by the way that he responded to Brand. Instead of taking the proverbial “high road”, Hannity took the proverbial “low road”.
Both Brand and Hannity are acting like a couple of kids having a fight on a playground. Brand probably knows that, but does Hannity? I doubt it. As that CNN story about the brouhaha ends, “Neither star is prone to letting someone else have the last word, so stay tuned. We could be here awhile.”
OK, that’s my take on the Brand/Hannity brouhaha.
Let the mud-slinging commentaries begin.
[Featured Image copied from CNN website.]