Welcome to 1995: Sean Hannity Discovers Law and Order is “Politicized”


Monday night, Sean Hannity undercut a great point with a facile overstatement and lack of precision that is all too typical of him.

In highlighting an outrageous Law and Order episode in which DA Jack McCoy prosecutes a Bush Administration lawyer for writing a memo that authorized the torture of prisoners in Iraq, Hannity made the following statement after running a clip from the show:

HANNITY: “NBC, the Obama network, they’ve even found a way to politicize Law and Order! Never thought I’d see the day.”

Gee, Sean, welcome to 1995. While it’s true that last Friday’s show crossed a Rubicon of sorts, since at least the departure of Michael Moriarty and the arrival of Sam Waterston, Law and Order has steadily become the most reliably PC show on television.

Whether it’s the steady parade of white male corporate criminals, or the show’s jaundiced view of pro-lifers, Christians, crazed war veterans, or conservative media personalities, Law and Order has had a distinctly liberal perspective in what is an instinctively conservative genre—and it’s become such an old joke among conservative-minded viewers that it’s hardly remarked on anymore.

But Sean is right on one point, as has been pointed out by many voices this weekend and today, the September 25 episode, Memo from the Dark Side, was as egregious as it was unrealistic: Here’s a pretentious example:

DISTRICT ATTORNEY JACK McCOY: “This memo he wrote for the Department of Justice laid out the legal architecture permitting the abuse of prisoners, abuse that led directly to this death in Iraq. You could argue this memo is an element in a conspiracy to commit assault and depraved indifference murder.”

ADA MICHAEL CUTTER: “Jack, you want to prosecute a member of the Bush administration for assaulting suspected terrorists?”

McCOY: The word is torturing. And, yes, it’s about time somebody did.”

In the episode, the lawyer in question kills a PTSD-suffering vet (cliché alert!) who has gone round the bend because of the death of an inmate at Abu Ghraib. The ex-soldier wanted his help to get health benefits from the Army.

But merely prosecuting the Evil Bush Justice Department Torture Lawyer for murder would not give the crusading McCoy an excuse to add former Vice President Cheney and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the indictment– which ridiculously, is allowed to go to trial before a federal court order to pull the plug on the stunt.

This tired show, which was always too formulaic for my taste, has picked an odd way to try and win back viewers. I guess the abject failure of liberal statement movies about Iraq didn’t give them a hint this might be a bad move. No wonder Law and Order has been relegated to the TV show graveyard of Friday night.

One further note: If Sean Hannity wants to make messiah cracks about Barack Obama, he should drop the “let not your heart be troubled” line when assuring us that his “great, great, great, great, great, great, great American Panel” is coming up next. It’s a tad messianic in its own right—not to mention, shall I say, “grating?”

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