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Welcome to 1995: Sean Hannity Discovers Law and Order is “Politicized”

September 28, 2009

Monday night, Sean Hannity undercut a great point with a facile overstatement and lack of precision that is all too typical of him.

In highlighting an outrageous Law and Order episode in which DA Jack McCoy prosecutes a Bush Administration lawyer for writing a memo that authorized the torture of prisoners in Iraq, Hannity made the following statement after running a clip from the show:

HANNITY: “NBC, the Obama network, they’ve even found a way to politicize Law and Order! Never thought I’d see the day.”

Gee, Sean, welcome to 1995. While it’s true that last Friday’s show crossed a Rubicon of sorts, since at least the departure of Michael Moriarty and the arrival of Sam Waterston, Law and Order has steadily become the most reliably PC show on television.

Whether it’s the steady parade of white male corporate criminals, or the show’s jaundiced view of pro-lifers, Christians, crazed war veterans, or conservative media personalities, Law and Order has had a distinctly liberal perspective in what is an instinctively conservative genre—and it’s become such an old joke among conservative-minded viewers that it’s hardly remarked on anymore.

But Sean is right on one point, as has been pointed out by many voices this weekend and today, the September 25 episode, Memo from the Dark Side, was as egregious as it was unrealistic: Here’s a pretentious example:

DISTRICT ATTORNEY JACK McCOY: “This memo he wrote for the Department of Justice laid out the legal architecture permitting the abuse of prisoners, abuse that led directly to this death in Iraq. You could argue this memo is an element in a conspiracy to commit assault and depraved indifference murder.”

ADA MICHAEL CUTTER: “Jack, you want to prosecute a member of the Bush administration for assaulting suspected terrorists?”

McCOY: The word is torturing. And, yes, it’s about time somebody did.”

In the episode, the lawyer in question kills a PTSD-suffering vet (cliché alert!) who has gone round the bend because of the death of an inmate at Abu Ghraib. The ex-soldier wanted his help to get health benefits from the Army.

But merely prosecuting the Evil Bush Justice Department Torture Lawyer for murder would not give the crusading McCoy an excuse to add former Vice President Cheney and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the indictment– which ridiculously, is allowed to go to trial before a federal court order to pull the plug on the stunt.

This tired show, which was always too formulaic for my taste, has picked an odd way to try and win back viewers. I guess the abject failure of liberal statement movies about Iraq didn’t give them a hint this might be a bad move. No wonder Law and Order has been relegated to the TV show graveyard of Friday night.

One further note: If Sean Hannity wants to make messiah cracks about Barack Obama, he should drop the “let not your heart be troubled” line when assuring us that his “great, great, great, great, great, great, great American Panel” is coming up next. It’s a tad messianic in its own right—not to mention, shall I say, “grating?”

  1. Bud permalink
    September 29, 2009 1:29 am

    To David Forsmark,

    “One further note: If Sean Hannity wants to make messiah cracks about Barack Obama, he should drop the “let not your heart be troubled” line when assuring us that his “great, great, great, great, great, great, great American Panel” is coming up next. It’s a tad messianic in its own right—not to mention, shall I say, “grating?””

    You have your head in the sand on this one. Wise up please!

  2. Walt permalink
    September 29, 2009 2:57 am

    Sean Hannity has always been dull and grating. He has a bigger ego than a teenage prom queen, and half the intelligence.

  3. shane comeback permalink
    September 29, 2009 3:08 am

    Conservatives need to stop flaying each other. In point of fact. Hannity does not pick apart the words of other conservatives. You may not care for his style,but he is a good man… maybe he doesn’t watch as much TV as some?

    • September 29, 2009 7:02 am

      This post was in no way a “flaying.” Nothing wrong with critiquing other cons provided it’s done in a friendly, constructive manner with the intention of helping them get better.

  4. September 29, 2009 3:16 am

    Was he being sarcastic? (She asked hopefully)

  5. jac mills permalink
    September 29, 2009 4:02 am

    I have not watched Hannity much, but he seems to be forthright in his approach to most subjects. He certainly does not pull punches when he speaks of Obama, as O’Reilly does more and more, trying to get Obama on the The Factor. I suspect that Hannity is a better newsman than O’Reilly, anyway, but that would not take much would it? Anyone else feel that O’Reilly is now so complacent he will start losing viewers? I know he has ratings now, but as a once-regular viewer of The Factor, I don’t care if I miss the show. After watching Glenn Beck each day O’Reilly is a non-event.

  6. Bob Jones (USAF - Retired) permalink
    September 29, 2009 4:57 am

    Almost every criminal on every cop/lawyer show on TV is white. Prove me wrong.

    • The Inquisitor permalink
      September 29, 2009 6:07 am

      Matlock had a pretty good balance among bad guys.

    • Retired Soldier permalink
      September 29, 2009 6:48 am

      You are right,and take a look at the advertisements … the white people are the dumb ones.

      I stopped watching law and order years ago because of the underlying politcal correctness themes.

      Holllywood and the movie industry is as bad as network news.

    • David Forsmark permalink
      September 29, 2009 7:09 am

      This doesn’t prove you wrong at all, Bob, but:

      The Closer
      Homicide: Life on the Street
      The Wire
      NYPD Blue
      Hill Street Blues
      Third Watch

      But to prove your point, all but one of these shows is no longer on, and two producers were responsible for 4 of the shows…

      And since nearly every other cop show is an L&O or CSI franchise right now, it kind of skews things a little.

      Burn Notice has a diverse mix of bad guys, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.

  7. bls1985 permalink
    September 29, 2009 4:59 am

    As a former prosecutor, for years L & O was one of my faves. Unfortunately, I have found that I need to turn it off for each new episode because of the nonsense that it spews. As for Hannity, his new format is not the best and for conservative commentators he is not the brightest bulb in the box but his comments with regard to L & O were right on.

  8. Brent Smith permalink
    September 29, 2009 5:13 am

    Law and Order used to be a great show. It has gone particulary in the leftist direction since Jerry Orbach left the show…and has gone down hill in other respects. It is in the Friday night death slot so I doubt very many people are even watching anymore at all.

  9. sprinklerman permalink
    September 29, 2009 5:35 am

    I have been a fan of Law and Order for many years. I agree with Brent that since Jerry Orbach left the show it has not been the same. I couldn’t get past the first half hour of this show however and just turned off the boob tube and found a good book.

  10. jbtrevor permalink
    September 29, 2009 6:13 am

    I never thought I’d see the day where I got so disgusted with the politics of Law + Order that I will no longer watch it.
    Never thought we Americans would hand out country over to a bunch of Leftist either…

    I can turn off Law + Order, I hope you all are helping me get our country back…

  11. Janet permalink
    September 29, 2009 6:25 am

    I’m in agreement with Jac Mills. I much prefer Sean and his show, Law and Order clip and all, to Bill O’Reilly and his irritating ego, and his very annoying habit of cutting his guests off and/or talking over them, case in point, last night when he interrupted repeatedly John McCain.

  12. David Forsmark permalink
    September 29, 2009 6:57 am

    A good flaying of L&O over at Big Hollywood.

  13. stmichrick permalink
    September 29, 2009 7:05 am

    Let’s all take a deep breath; we need lots of different voices in the movement. Not all are my style (Beck, Hannity) but each have their audience which adds strength to the Right side.

    O’Reilly is a broadcaster first, culture warrior second. I accept that. I’d rather watch him interview Obama than Sheiffer/Stephanopoulas/Smith/Couric et al.

    Bottom line; the current crop of right-leaning mouthpieces is better than when I started watching 35 years ago. Buckley and James Kilpatrick were IT.

  14. David Forsmark permalink
    September 29, 2009 7:45 am

    I don’t remember seeing Kilpartrick on back then, but the recently departed Bill Safire was a staple on the talking head shows back in the day…

    BTW, RIP to a man who cared about what words mean and holding people accountable for their language.

  15. Elaine permalink
    September 29, 2009 8:16 am

    Aw come on. I stopped wasting my time watching the stupid law and order type shows years ago because even then they were politicized. Hey, I’ve heard even children’s cartoon shows are tools of indoctrination and brainwashing.

    Turn off the tube and read a good book or better yet, get out and enjoy the fresh air-while there is still some left to enjoy.

  16. September 29, 2009 8:47 am

    My sister watched this show and was so put off, she has vowed to never watch it again. Way to go NBC! Alienate another of your too few viewers.

  17. David Forsmark permalink
    September 29, 2009 8:47 am

    I’ve read a good book, or two:

    But I still love cop shows that try to reflect reality. Check out The Wire. It’s a brutally honest look at the absolute failure of liberal institutions in urban America. All 5 seasons are as good as a Tom Wolfe novel with cops.

  18. J Williams permalink
    September 29, 2009 9:17 am

    Hannity lost my viewership quite a while ago. I only watch when he has a guest that I respect and the discussion doesn’t devolve into shouting, overlapping stupidity.

    I’d like to see Fox produce a panel discussion/debate show that presents all arguments in an intellectual manner. Take the Special Report with Bret Baier All-Star panel and expand it into the 9-10pm time slot. Pick 4 current event issues and devote 10 minutes each.

    I’d watch every night and DVR those I couldn’t


  19. David Forsmark permalink
    September 29, 2009 10:16 am

    Special Report is hands down the best show on Fox, and the best traditional news hour (or half hour) anywhere.

  20. pj newsjunkie permalink
    September 29, 2009 1:20 pm

    The best and only way to watch Hannity is to Tivo it and then fast forward whenever his mouth moves.

    He is very tedious and I’m always surprised at the number of people I run into who like his show. Maybe it’s the 9pm slot.

    When Hannity is presented with a fact he doesn’t know, he goes right back to his mini-monologues ‘we all know he’s friends with Rev. Wright, G-d damn America, Bill Ayers, blah, blah, blah’ or my personal favorite ‘I knew about that’ ‘I warned people about that’ “I exposed that’ or ‘I’m much prettier than Shep and he knows it’. Okay that last one was a joke.

  21. Ryan Abbey permalink
    September 29, 2009 6:39 pm

    I had still been tuning the DVR in to grab Law&Order for me.
    The propaganda and half truths espoused by this show drive me nuts. The writing and characters in this past year or two have especially grated on my nerves.

    I had always found it handy to view in helping to understand the inmates. But wow. This one was pretty far out. I get that some folks are feeling pretty self-righteous and still need to feed the hate they feel for those that oppose their agenda. We’ve had some pretty severe polarization towards any person that happens to register to vote (R).

    So many convenient memory lapses by the progressives paired with caustic hateful groupthink. This is beyond nuts.

  22. Jack Hampton permalink
    September 30, 2009 6:49 am

    David Forsmark
    You appear to be hitting on all cylinders. I might have watched 3 episodes of L&O But it does not even come close to the real thing. The fact is most cases by far reach a plea agreement. Also Having set in many court rooms these people would not be allowed the leeway and liberties they take on these shows. Your comment ref Above post is again right on the mark.

  23. raging capitalist permalink
    September 30, 2009 11:32 am

    The folly here is that anyone sits in front of the tube at all. That so few people in this world possess their own minds, we have television to thank.

  24. Janet permalink
    September 30, 2009 11:59 am

    Dear Raging,
    Since I’m a news addict, and local papers are so biased causing me to discontinue them ages ago, TV and a few conservative magazines are my alternatives. Any other suggestions to recapture my mind?

  25. stuart permalink
    October 1, 2009 8:43 am

    I can’t say too much about Law and Order- though trusting David, it does sound as if they have whitewashed the criminal world.
    But I’ll weigh in on Sean. He is so blunt, so dependent on obvious sarcasm, and so tendentious when he’s debating an issue with a guest. And,yes, David is right about the Great American Panel spiel of Sean’s. “Let not your heart be troubled” is cringe making after he’s been on about the Great One(who is indeed scary and sickening in his narcissism- not to mention our fellow Americans who revere him).
    The panel itself is too often a collection of actors, athletes, and country singers who have no business on a current affairs show. Tom Arnold, Mickey Rourke? Two weeks ago, he had a panel with a Democratic party operative- but a bright, refined guy, whose name escapes me- and Rich from Big and Rich, and Mickey Rourke. Sean had no right putting this
    well-mannered, well-spoken Democratic fellow with these two. Rourke is an egotist who works so hard to project toughness so much that it often comes across as menace; with his guitar put away, Rich is just another opinionated face on a bar stool.
    Look, Sean is neither the most eloquent or knowledgeable conservative out there- which would not be fatal if he would tamp down the sarcasm, book good guests, ask good questions, and step back a foot or two. While I’m having a Fox bash, let me throw a question out to all of you. Just what distinguishes Greta’s show. It seems to me that she simply rehashes the same stories that O’Reilly and Hannity cover. Is this her decision or Fox’s. And what’s with that studio footage of Limbaugh?
    I guess many of us are watching far too much T.V.


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