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Wednesday, 27 May 2009 14:00

Sean Hannity Jokes About Being Waterboarded, Chickens Out, Wins BuzzFlash's Media Putz Award

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Sean Hannity

For reporting that is an embarrassment to the profession of journalism, and for being beholden to corporate paymasters rather than the citizens of America.

We like to joke about many different things, even if some of those topics are tasteless. We'll make jokes about death, "yo mama" jokes, and of course, ethnic jokes.

But torture is one of the few topics where joking about it takes on a new low. And if anyone knows low, it's Sean Hannity.

Hannity had Charles Grodin on his show on April 22. The topic of waterboarding came up and Hannity offered to be waterboarded, and suggested Grodin do so. Grodin said he wouldn't do the waterboarding but offered Hannity a towel when he was done.

GRODIN: You're for torture.

HANNITY: I am for enhanced interrogation.

GRODIN: You don't believe it's torture. Have you ever been waterboarded?

HANNITY: No, but Ollie North has.

GRODIN: Would you consent to be waterboarded? We can waterboard you?


GRODIN: Are you busy on Sunday?

HANNITY: I'll do it for charity. I'll let you do it. I'll do it for the troops' families.

The challenge seemed tempting. After all, Hannity said he would agree to be waterboarded. And if Hannity was a man of his word, then conservatives might figure out, finally, that waterboarding is torture. If somehow Hannity could do well under the procedure, then he might be able to prove his argument that it isn't torture.

Keith Olbermann jumped on the bandwagon, and offered $1,000 a second to a veterans group -- $2,000 per second if Hannity would admit that he was wrong. Whatever he might think of Olbermann, Hannity couldn't pass up a chance to show Olbermann that ultimately, he was right on this issue.

Day by day trickled by, and still no Hannity waterboarding. Was Hannity serious about being waterboarded, or was he joking? Certainly, even Sean Hannity wouldn't joke about waterboarding.

Oh, who are we kidding. He's Sean Hannity; he could sink that low to joke about waterboarding. Even as Olbermann would do a running countdown (pun intended) on how many days it had been since Hannity agreed to be waterboarded, Hannity remained mute on the subject.

Finally, Olbermann called off the deal on Friday because conservative talk-show host Erich "Mancow" Muller of WLS Chicago finally had the courage to do what Hannity failed to do: get waterboarded to show that the procedure wasn't torture.

Under Olbermann's clock, Mancow earned $6,000 toward a veterans group for lasting 6 seconds. And Mancow admitted he was wrong about torture. The $10,000 number was arrived upon (though Mancow wasn't part of the original deal), which Olbermann gave in the name of VeteransofValor.org. And Mancow appeared on "Countdown" because Olbermann was writing that check.

As if the humiliation for Hannity couldn't get worse, Mancow shared with the MSNBC audience part of a phone conversation with Hannity.

"First of all, Sean Hannity called me and said, "It's still not torture." I said, "Sean" -- he is a friend of mine -- "it is torture."

So Hannity is still talking trash about waterboarding not being torture, after his friend Mancow did it and said it was "absolutely torture," and after he agreed to be waterboarded, then chickened out.

Given that Mancow, who seems in better shape than Hannity, lasted 6 seconds, Hannity might have felt that he wouldn't be able to last even that long, and that the video proof would be ever a shame upon his "reputation."

What Hannity doesn't get -- and likely never will -- is that there isn't shame in not wanting to be waterboarded. Waterboarding is torture, and no one typically likes to be tortured.

But if you feel that way, there are two things you should never do: don't say waterboarding isn't torture and don't jokingly promise that you will be waterboarded when you have no intention of going through it. When you do both of those things, the shame comes down upon you like water in a waterboarding, rushing through your nose and mouth while you lie there helpless, with people screaming at you in a language you likely don't understand.

For joking about being waterboarded when he's too chicken to go through with it, and for thinking torture is a joking matter, Sean Hannity wins this week's BuzzFlash Media Putz of the Week.

Sean Hannity previously won the Media PUTZ of the week on November 6, 2008, October 9, 2008, September 25, 2008, March 27, 2008, and September 13, 2007. You can see a list of all the previous winners here.