Rep. Ellison Calls Hannity 'Worst Excuse For a Journalist I've Ever Seen'; Hannity Calls Him 'Waste of Time'

UPDATE: Hannity issues comment at end of post.

Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) had an amazingly heated discussion with Fox News's Sean Hannity Tuesday evening.

At the beginning of the six-minute slugfest, Ellison called his host "the worst excuse for a journalist I've ever seen" leading to a truly ugly encounter that culminated in Hannity ending the interview by saying to his guest, "You are a total waste of time" (video follows with rough transcript and commentary):

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Joining me now, Congressman Keith Ellison from Minnesota. Congressman, welcome back, sir.

CONGRESSMAN KEITH ELLISON (D-MINNESOTA): You bet.

HANNITY: I guess that's what we can describe as staying on message, something the Democratic Party I would argue is very good at.

ELLISON: You're pretty good at it, too.

HANNITY: Thank you.

ELLISON: Quite frankly you are the worst excuse for a journalist I’ve ever seen. It’s absurd. The worst.

HANNITY: I can't hear you.

ELLISON: You heard me.

HANNITY: No, say it again, I didn’t hear you.

ELLISON: I heard you, I mean, what you just displayed was not journalism, It was yellow journalism. It wasn't anything close to trying to tell the American people what's really going on, and I mean, it's just shocking.

HANNITY: Yellow journalism, to play Obama in his own words is yellow journalism?

For the record, as the video showed, the program began with Hannity playing clips of President Obama speaking. There was indeed a musical soundtrack behind the dialogue, but Hannity offered no commentary during it whatsoever.

It appears that playing video clips of the president is yellow journalism according to Ellison, a Congressman who is a regular guest on MSNBC:

ELLISON: Well, with the background music and with your lead up before you let the president talk. Let me tell you, I was here. The president, everything the president said is absolutely true.

HANNITY: Yeah.

ELLISON: And for you to try to make the American people think that it isn't is deceptive on your part and a breach of everything, every journalistic ethic I have ever heard of was just violated by you.

Once again, for the record, all Hannity did was play video clips of the president speaking with added background music. Is that really breaking journalistic ethics?

HANNITY: Really?

ELLISON: And the president was truthful. The president was honest. The president, what the president said was dead on accurate, and for you to say the president is to blame here is ridiculous. I was there August 2011 when the Republicans, your party, which you shamelessly represent…

HANNITY: I'm not a Republican, let me correct the record.

ELLISON: You are nothing but a Republican.

HANNITY: No, no, sir.

ELLISON: Yes, you are.

HANNITY: Sir, sir, I'm a registered conservative, sir.

ELLSION: Well...

HANNITY: Congressman, I am not a registered Republican, I'm a registered conservative.

ELLISON: You are a shill for the Republican Party.

HANNITY: I'm a registered conservative, sir.

ELLISON: And you alibi them constantly.

HANNITY: Keep going. Keep ranting.


ELLISON: Okay good, let me just say this.

HANNITY: Keep ranting.

ELLISON: What the president said is absolutely true. The president, the people watching the show should ignore all of the commentary that you put in and all of these heightened music that you put on and should pay attention to what the president actually said, because what the president said was true. You by the way are inaccurate when you say that the president is to blame here, he's not. It was the Republicans in August of 2011 who said that they were going to cause the American economy to default on debts we already acquired unless they got deep and substantial cuts. And we ended up with a downgrade because of what the Republicans did, and after that, we set up this thing called the super committee, and when all the Republican members on that super committee had already pledged to Grover Norquist they would not raise revenue, only do cuts, and then, after it failed, as it always was going to, we ended up with sequester.

HANNITY: Let me ask you a question.

ELLISON: No wait a minute. You said I could rant and I'm going to.

HANNITY: I’ve given you plenty of time to rant Congressman.

ELLISON: We'll let you get a word in, go ahead.

HANNITY: Oh, you're so nice to give me a word on my own program.

ELLISON: Okay, I changed my mind.

[Crosstalk]

HANNITY: Let me ask you, you said the, Congressman, I will give you your chance. I gave you three minutes to rant, calm down. I gave you three minutes, relax, I've got a question for you. You were invited on the program to answer a question, I want to give a couple of questions.

ELLISON: No, I'm going to...

HANNITY: Congressman, you said.

ELLISON: I'm going to say what I think is right.

HANNITY: Why are you so angry? You're so angry.

ELLISON: Why are you angry?

HANNITY: I'm not angry. I'm laughing at you because I think this is actually comical.

ELLISON: I’m laughing at you, and it's not the first time.


HANNITY: Listen, I invited you on, I gave you three minutes to rant, now let me ask you a question, we’ll have a discussion, in the spirit of bipartisanship, let's find a dialogue.

ELLISON: I thought you weren’t a Republican.

HANNITY: I'm a registered conservative. You want to make a thousand dollar bet that I’m a registered conservative? You want to make a $10,000 bet?

ELLISON: I don't bet, I don't bet.

HANNITY: I'm just telling you I'm a registered conservative. I wrote a book called “Conservative Victory.” I didn’t write Republican victory.

ELLISON: Do you have a question for me, sir?

HANNITY: Yes I do. Now, first of all, it was Max Baucus and it was Bob Woodward that said that the president requested the sequester point one. Point number two, my question to you is very simple. Barack Obama, because you said what he said isn't…

ELLISON: The budget control act was forced down by the Republican Party. Sequester is a provision of the budget control act.

HANNITY: Congressman, relax.

ELLISON: The Republicans are responsible for the budget control act which contains sequester.

HANNITY: I've got it, I know you're a broken record. Now let me get you my question.

ELLISON: You're a broken record.


HANNITY: Okay, thank you. Here’s my question. So Barack Obama said in 2008 when he was running for office that George Bush was irresponsible and unpatriotic for when he became president we had 10 trillion dollars in debt.

ELLISON: You want to ask me about..

HANNITY: We now have $16 trillion in debt, Congressman.

ELLISON: I'm had here to speak myself.

HANNITY: 16 trillion in debt.

ELLISON: You want to talk about-- okay.

HANNITY: I want to ask you, here is my question.

ELLISON: I've got an answer for you. You want to do something about the 16 trillion, let’s do something. Let's close loopholes on large corporations, and let’s say that yachts and jets should not be something you can write off. Let’s say that Exxon-Mobil and Chevron should not get a tax rebate and a subsidy. Let's start there. Let's say that people who earn, who get to pay less on carried interest should…

HANNITY: All right, Congressman, you're ranting really well.

ELLISON: You say, if you don't like what I'm saying, you say that I’m ranting. Sean, I'm not backing down to you.

HANNITY: Is it immoral to put 16 ½ trillion…

ELLISON: You are immoral.

HANNITY: I'm immoral? What did I do that's immoral? I didn't do anything that’s immoral.

ELLISON: You say things that aren't true.

HANNITY: Give me one example, sir.

ELLISON: Well, to try to say that it is, that it is the president's fault that he is to blame is wrong and it's a lie it's not true.

HANNITY: It's not his fault that we have 16 trillion in debt. He didn't add 6 trillion to the debt since he's been president.

ELLISON: No, no he, no.

HANNITY: You did add 6 trillion to debt since he's been president.

ELLISON: What about the other 10? Let’s talk about the other 10.

HANNITY: Congressman, you are a total waste of time. I'm moving on because our audience deserves better. Thank you for being with us. I tried to give you a fair shot.


It seems a metaphysical certitude that Ellison's followers will love what transpired here, but let's be clear: he's a member of Congress, and his behavior Tuesday evening was deplorable.

That said, it is nevertheless illustrative of the state of journalism today, for Ellison is one of the Democratic media darlings regularly invited on MSNBC as well as NBC, and he's always tossed softballs.

Since he's not used to getting tough questions from the sycophants he normally deals with, he clearly found it offensive to actually be challenged.

Even worse, he was courteously welcomed on Hannity's program, and right out of the gate fired all of his weapons in an unprovoked attack on his host.

If a Republican behaved this way on any television network, he'd have a lot of explaining to do.

But in today's biased media environment, Democrats are allowed to do whatever they want with total impunity.

Makes you wonder how this condition can ever be reversed.

*****Update: I asked Hannity for a comment about this matter. He responded via email:

I invited Ellison on to discuss sequestration, the President's rhetoric and fear mongering, and also the morality of Obama accumulating 6 trillion dollars in debt since he has become President.

Ellison became totally unhinged. It is clear Liberals like him and the President are losing it, and frankly I am happy the American people got to see it. Watching him implode was actually funny to watch. It just shows how reckless, radical, and extreme the modern day Democratic Party has become.

As Americans continue to see the President's policies fail, I suspect it will dawn on them Obama and the Democrats have nothing but empty rhetoric, scare tactics, false promises, and they deserve to be fired.

I mark this night as the beginning of the end for the Obama Democrats.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.