CHARLOTTE, NC, August 5, 2014 – Three cheers for Sean Hannity. Benjamin Netanyahu invited the media and the Obama administration to visit Israel and see what is really happening there. Hannity obliged.
Sure, other reporters are imbedded in the region. We see nightly on-the-scene stories with journalists wearing helmets and bullet-proof vests standing on hotel balconies telling us that a bomb just went off when we can already see it in the background.
For many reasons that isn’t the same as having a network anchor on location. To begin with, the reporter is always at the mercy of one of the “hard breaks.” You know the ones. Those maddening the-world-is-coming-to-an-end-but-we-need-to-go-to-a-commercial-and-if-it-ends-while-we’re-away-we’ll-show-you-tape-when-we-get-back interruptions. Those kind of breaks.
Hannity, however, is an anchor. He has his own hourly nightly program. By being on the scene, he is all the more equipped to ask relevant questions in the future to his talking-head experts whose opinions run the gamut of information and no information.
Rarely do reporters have the opportunity to express what they really know. There is no chance for them to explain what is happening in detail because they are the mercy of the anchor’s questions.
An anchor, on the other hand, dictates the direction of the program, and if he or she knows the answers and don’t get them, they can keep the discussion on track.
Everyone knows Hannity is politically conservative. But to his credit, his reporting from Israel has been decidedly unbiased. He is doing his best to provide accurate information that viewers can use to make up their own minds about the current unrest in Gaza. For that he should be applauded.
Unlike those ridiculous town hall meetings which do nothing more than demonstrate there are multiple sides to every story where everyone winds up yelling over each other, this time Hannity has taken us inside the elaborate Hamas tunnel system, interviewed soldiers who have been fighting since the outset of hostilities and in mere hours of actually being there himself, has provided excellent insights into the problems.
What Hannity has discovered in the brief time he has been there is that, for the most part, Israel has been telling the truth about their defensive efforts to protect their nation.
Recently, Raymond Ibrahim, the son of Egyptian Coptic immigrants and an expert on the Middle East, was interviewed by a leading Polish website. In the course of his interview Ibrahim profoundly stated “on the one hand, the conflict (between the West and Islam) was almost identical to the historic conflict, one of continuity—at least that is how many Muslims were portraying it.
“But on the other hand, in the West, the narrative was very different and based on a ‘new paradigm,’ one that saw Islam and Muslims as perpetual victims of all sorts of outside and material pressures, mostly from the West. Thus the analyses that were being disseminated through media and academia were to my mind immensely flawed and, while making perfect sense to people in the West—for they were articulated through Western, secular, materialistic paradigms—had little to do with reality.”
This is precisely what Sean Hannity is seeing first-hand as he travels through Israel and learns more about the conflict.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the difficulty between the two sides. Nor does it take a genius to see where reason is overshadowed by raw emotion, centuries of hatred and unrepentant medieval brainwashing.
Certainly there are subtleties and nuances that add complexity to both sides. But that is true of any cultural exchange.
The Gazan tunnels of Hamas are elaborate. Nearly forty have been decimated but dozens remain. Imagine if that money had been put to use for the good of the Palestinian people rather than designed to destroy a perceived enemy that would have left them alone had been no provocation.
If you already live in a desert wasteland, why would you want to add burning cars and the rubble of bombed out buildings to the mix? It makes no sense.
Sean Hannity is seeing that personally. The media would be well served if others would follow his lead and, at the very least, attempt to understand the reality of the situation.
From now on, when Hannity rails against those with whom he disagrees about Israel and the Middle East, he can honestly state that he has been there and seen it for himself. That alone gives him added credibility.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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