A Tuesday night interview on Fox News quickly turned into a faceoff between host Sean Hannity and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) when Ellison berated Hannity for the network’s attacks on President Barack Obama. Before Ellison joined the program, Hannity blamed the president for the “sequester” budget cuts, airing a pair of clips of Obama asking Congress to halt the mandatory cuts. Ellison, apparently upset by Fox’s coverage of the economic issue, launched into a tirade, accusing Hannity of practicing “yellow journalism,” and saying that the host was “the worst excuse for a journalist I’ve ever seen.”
“The people watching the show should ignore all of the commentary that you put in and all of this heightened music that you put on and should pay attention to what the president actually said,” Ellison continued, egged on by Hannity. “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.”
Ellison went on to pin the blame on Republicans for the sequester, while Hannity accused the congressman of ranting, eventually ending the interview. The heated exchange was not uncharacteristic of the program or Fox News. It is usually Hannity and Fox hosts like Bill O’Reilly doing the ranting. Though Ellison effectively turned the tables on Hannity, his point was hardly communicated through his direct attacks.
Instead, the argument was more characteristic of the conflicts currently keeping Washington’s lawmakers divided. In identifying Hannity as “a shill for the Republican Party,” Ellison continued to divide the discussion along party lines.
Tuesday’s appearance was not Ellison’s first on the network. He also appeared in 2007 to discuss the Bush administration’s handling of the 9/11 terror attacks, and again in 2011 to talk about the network’s discrimination against the Muslim community.