A tweet this morning from Washington Post colleague Dana Milbank:
— Dana Milbank (@Milbank) April 24, 2014
“Lionize” is about right.
Bundy is the Nevada cattle rancher whose herd has been grazing on federal land illegally for two decades. This month, he and a motivated contingent of armed supporters forced rangers with the Bureau of Land Management to back away from their efforts to confiscate hundreds of Bundy’s cattle.
On his program last night, Fox News host Sean Hannity remarked, “For weeks we’ve been covering the story about Cliven Bundy in Nevada and how armed federal agents and snipers began impounding his cattle, all because they were grazing on public land and eating grass.” In an earlier segment, he told Bundy’s son, Ammon: “I guess this goes to the heart of it here because what we’ve always been talking about is the government fighting over land that they don’t need for a hospital or a road or a school, and the land is going to be sitting there anyway, and all the cows are doing is eating and maybe going to the bathroom on it. They said originally this was about the desert tortoise. How did we get to this point where the government sends hundreds of people in there? There seems to be a total lack of proportionality in this.” At one point, Hannity stated that Bundy’s ranching business model “keeps the price of meat down for every American consumer.”
As the drama in Nevada has played out, “Hannity” has had a direct line to the Bundy family, providing Fox News viewers with fawning interview after fawning interview. For example, on Monday night’s show, Hannity went after the $1 million figure often cited in media accounts as Bundy’s unpaid bill to the feds:
HANNITY: I’d like to see how they got to a million-dollar figure that keeps getting repeated by the liberal media. I mean, I want to know if that includes court costs, fees, fines, penalties. How they get to a million dollars? I can’t imagine your cattle can eat a million dollars of grass, grazing. Can you?
CLIVEN BUNDY: No, they can’t. And you know, just a week or 10 days ago, it was only $300,000. Now it’s up to a million. So I don’t understand that.
Perhaps in the next interview, Hannity will ask Bundy about his racial views, which surfaced in a story in today’s New York Times (and linked in Milbank’s tweet). Here are two paragraphs from the story, citing Bundy’s comments at a “daily news conference”:
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”