Deja vu

As I sit here on a sweltering July day, listening to Sean Hannity run through all the Republican talking points over and over again — no crime was committed, she wasn’t even a covert op, Joe Wilson is the real villain here, blah blah blah — I am transported back in time a few years. It is the summer of 1997 and I have just moved to New York City, and I am sitting in the ludicrously large loft studio I have rented as a workspace. (An illegal space with no bathroom, hence the cheap rent. The tenants from whom I sublet would eventually decide they wanted the space back, and kick me out without much notice, forcing me to scramble for a new studio space while I was (a) working with Saturday Night Live, trying to get some stuff on the air, and (b) planning for my wedding. But this would turn out to be a small blessing — the building was just a few blocks north of the World Trade Center, and had I still been working there in the fall of 2001, I would most likely have been shut out of my studio and unable to work for a month or two.)

At any rate, this is when I first become aware of Hannity as a radio personality, listening to him on WABC that summer in my sweltering loft space. The big story of the summer concerns several New York City police officers, including Justin Volpe, who are accused of sodomizing a Haitian immigrant named Abner Louima with a broom handle, and day after day, Hannity defends Volpe and attacks Louima — regularly referring to the latter as “Lyin’ Louima.”

Except as it turns out, Lyin’ Louima is telling the truth and Justin Volpe and the others go to jail.

And Sean Hannity drops the topic like a burning hot potato.

So whenever I hear him ranting on like this, trying to restructure his audience’s perception of reality so that the obviously guilty party is pure as the driven snow, and the obvious victim actually dirty as sin, I think back to the days of Lyin’ Louima, and wonder — why does anyone listen to this moron? Is there anything any of these guys can get so wrong that their audience will even notice?