A lively night on Fox News

A LIVELY NIGHT ON FOX NEWS…. It’s not a news network, it has no ethical standards, it makes a mockery of modern journalism, it lies to its audience, and it’s largely responsible for the confusion of millions of Americans about current events. On the other hand, once in a while Fox News can be lively.

First up was an unusual moment with Shep Smith, who was hosting a discussion about torture. The “discussion” (I use the word loosely) turned to the efficacy of illegal abuse of detainees in American custody. Naturally, a Fox News analyst defended torture, saying, “This stuff helped.”

Smith, fuming, couldn’t take it anymore. Banging his hand against the table, Smith shouted, “We are America! I don’t give a rat’s ass if it helps! We are America! We do not f***ing torture! We don’t do it!” (Please note: there was no “bleeping” in the broadcast, so the clip is probably not safe for work.) When the FNC analyst once again said the debate is over the effectiveness of torture, Smith once again argued, “Doesn’t matter; we don’t do it.”

Thank you, Shep Smith. Sorry about the inevitable FCC fine.

A few hours later, Sean Hannity hosted a chat with actor Charles Grodin, who pressed Hannity on his support for torture.

“Would you consent to be waterboarded?” Grodin asked. Hannity said he would. Grodin followed up, “Are you busy on Sunday?” Hannity replied, “I’ll do it for charity. I’ll let you do it. I’ll do it for the troops’ families.” Grodin explained he wouldn’t take part in such an exercise, presumably because it’s morally repugnant and sadistic.

I rather doubt that Hannity was serious about this, and even if he were, there’s a rather dramatic difference between being tortured at a secret CIA prison and a television personality being waterboarded for charity, knowing full well that those around him don’t mean to do him harm.

For the record, I don’t want to see anyone tortured, whether it’s a detainee at Guantanamo or a blow-hard on Fox News.