Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Ace Countdown

Three kills and counting...

PSAYINGS.5Q.78. Three times now in recent weeks, Hugh Hewitt has had one of the guests on his radio show hang up on him. We wouldn't be tracking this statistic for Sean Hannity, who gets hung up on fairly frequently for his loud, blustering style. Hugh Hewitt is a very gentlemanly fellow, though, and when someone bangs down the phone in his ear it's because he has found a line of questioning the guest doesn't want to respond to or can't respond to without giving something vital away. Here at InstaPunk we call that a "kill," and though we're sure Hugh would never approve, we think it would be fun to keep count.

First to dive into the weeds was CNN's Washington correspondent Ed Henry, who thought his Messerschmidt would be more than a match for Hugh's P-51. It didn't turn out that way: Mr. Henry grew more and more distraught at Hugh's questioning of policies and practices at CNN throughout the interview, then finally took a mortal hit in his engine about here:

HH: Okay, let me ask you, Ed. Are you a liberal or a conservative?

EH: I'm sorry?

HH: Are you a liberal or a conservative?

EH: I'm neither. I think my reporting is pretty obvious that I'm independent.

HH: Did you vote for John Kerry?

EH: I, like I say, I'm independent.

HH: Well, did you vote in the presidential election?

EH: I'm strictly independent, and I think my coverage shows it.

HH: But...

EH: Thanks for inviting me on, Hugh.

HH: But Ed, is that not a relevant question to ask?

EH: Again, Hugh, I'm already late for a meeting. We've gone through two segments. I'm sorry that we've continued beyond into a third.

HH: And so, you don't want to answer just that very basic question before you leave?

EH: Again, we were talking about the Alito coverage.

HH: I know, but I think the Alito coverage...

EH: I appreciate you inviting me on.

HH: I think the Alito coverage represents a left of center opinion that you embrace.

EH: Right.

HH: Am I wrong?

EH: Again, thanks for inviting me on, Hugh. I really appreciate the time.

HH: And so you're going to hang up and walk away?

EH: I'm...again, you know, it's unfortunate that you told me it was going to be two segment, and now you've...I'm late...

HH: But Ed, you told me it was going to be the top of the hour, right? You told me from 5-5:30, which is a total of 18 minutes of air time, which we're going to cover in these three segments.

EH: Okay. Thanks again, Hugh. I appreciate the invite.

HH: You don't want to talk about your own political...

EH: (click)

HH: He hung up. He hung up. CNN hangs up. CNN hangs up. And that's CNN. That is my point. Now let me give you the background. We booked him yesterday, and he cancelled. And we booked him today, and he tried to cancel. And so I said wait a minute, you said...and I cleared it, and I promoted it, at 5:00, from 5:00 to 5:30, and Ed Henry said yes. And then today, he said no. And I said wait a minute, you can't say no. I've done this, I've cleared the show. And then I said come back for a third segment, and he didn't say no, and he comes back, and he doesn't want to answer hard questions, because that's CNN.

Second to go down in flames was the admittedly disturbed Helen Thomas, who maintains the delusion that she is regarded as an objective journalist. Trying to defend this absurd pretense on the radio got her into trouble right away, and she began fleeing at top speed. The climax was reached when Hugh swung the P-51 around on her tail and politely gunned her down:

HH: Why don't you like George Bush?

HT: I don't like people who want a war.

HH: And you just think he really just decided to go to war...and is Iraq better off today than it was four years ago?

HT: No. Watch...I want you to read...I want you to look at these pictures of these detainees and prisoners of war. And you will really be so disturbed. Why don't you...

HH: What did we do?

HT: Why don't you look at the pictures and call me back, okay?

HH: No, but Helen, before I let you go, I want to know why do you think Iraq is worse off today than it was four years ago? What was Saddam doing to his people?

HT: Should they be the grateful dead? A hundred thousand dead? Wounded? Should all of the people we have killed, Americans, dead? Should they be happy? I mean, what are you talking about? Did you enlist?

HH: I'm asking...

HT: Are you going to be recruited?

HH: I'm asking, Helen, if you think Saddam was good for Iraq?

HT: Of course not.

HH: Okay.

HT: But I don't think it was right to go in and to kill thousands of people.

HH: Do you think he would have killed even more...

HT: No.

HH: ...and that there would have been any free elections?

HT: No, no. I think that we brought it on, and we have really killed thousands. And I don't know how you can face that fact and look in the mirror.

HH: And what would have happened to the Oil For Food program if Saddam had not been removed?

HT: Look, are you...I'm talking about human beings. Why don't you try to think of the people you've killed. All of us. It's all on our hands.

HH: Helen, again, I think it was a good thing...

HT: I'm so sorry that you don't care about people who've been slained, thousands and thousands. I mean, worry about them.

HH: What about...

HT: They can't vote.

HH: Helen...

HT: Okay, goodbye.


HH: I lost her. Oh, well. Ed Henry and Helen Thomas. We'll return shortly.

The third victim was pollster James Zogby, who was trying to perpetrate a methodologically and ideologically skewed poll result regarding U.S. troops in Iraq. After they both cleared their guns, there was some preliminary ducking and dodging about all the poll particulars Zogby refused to discuss, and then Zogby thought he could stop the whole dogfight in mid-air:

JZ: You know what, Hugh? Where are you going with this?

HH: I'm trying to figure out whether it should be trusted, John.

JZ: I am a very patriotic American, and did a poll objectively...

HH: Of course you are. John...

JZ: I said that there are security reasons that we're not going to get into this.

HH: John, why would a...

JZ: Talk to the Vice President of the United States if you want to.

HH: Why would the identity of the military man who asked you to talk about this be a security issue?

JZ: Because I don't like your attitude, Hugh. Do you want to talk about the results?

HH: No, I want to get...

JZ: Is there something with the poll that troubles you?

HH: Yes, there's a lot. Why were no demographics released?

JZ: All the demographics were indeed released, Hugh.

HH: Okay.

JZ: All of the demographics were released.

HH: How many of these...

JZ: You see, you've got to harden your facts before you harden your mind.

HH: Where is the racial and ethnic...

JZ: We released all of the demographics, all of them.

HH: Where are the racial and ethic groups statistics put forward?

JZ: All the racial characteristics, the know what, Hugh?

HH: Are those on your website?

JZ: I'm going to make an agreement with you right now. You get yourself better informed on this poll, and I'll come back on your show.

HH: John, I've got your entire thing here. You have not released the demographics.

JZ: You are clearly uninformed.

HH: You have not released the demographics.

JZ: (click)

HH: You have not...he hung up. He hung up. That's John Zogby, not a pollster.

Many thanks to the Radioblogger website for posting the complete transcripts. We'll be back at you with more air-to-air combat as it happens.

UPDATE 3/21/06. Helen Thomas has struck again, this time at thw President, and she went down in flames just like she did with Hugh. For those who are marvelling at the moonbattery surrounding the third anniversary of the War in Iraq, you won't want to miss this completely different perspective on "unacceptable" U.S. casualties.

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