While Sean Hannity was providing first-hand coverage of the struggle between Israel and Hamas over the Gaza Strip, Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert edited the Fox News Channel host's reporting to make it seem that he used the word “literally” constantly and compared that to a five-year-old boy who has become an Internet sensation after his live television where he often used the word “apparently.”
“Apparently,” the host of The Colbert Report asserted during his Wednesday night program, “that five-year-old child could replace Sean Hannity … literally.” That led the Fox News anchor to declare: “Terrorism isn’t funny,” and “Colbert needs to come over here and get a dose of reality.”
Colbert began the segment by stating: “As a professional newsman, I'm always looking for innovations in journalism, from the futuristic news desk of Shep Smith (on the Fox News Channel) to the 3-D environments of (CNN anchor) Wolf Blitzer to whatever aluminum alloy (fellow CNN host) Anderson Cooper is sculpted from.”
“Today, I saw a troubling glimpse of broadcasting future, and like most troubling things, I saw it at a county fair,” he stated.
Colbert then showed segments of an interview with Noah Ritter of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, at the Wayne County Fair with the boy's grandfather when a local news reporter asked him what he thought about riding on the Super Slide.
“It was great!” the child said, and then launched into a different topic. “I've never been on live television before. Apparently, sometimes I don’t -- I don’t watch the news and I’m a kid, and apparently every time Grandpa gives me the remote after we watch the Powerball."
Then with the reporter's microphone in hand, he continued: “I've never, ever been on live television. I've never, ever been on live television.”
“Are you excited?” the reporter asked.
“Yeah, and apparently, I only went down the Super Slide, and I was apparently scared half to death.”
“Oh, my God,” Colbert responded. “This kid is a natural born newsman. I mean, he's already breaking the story of how the Super Slide is 'half-death' scaring our children.
“And folks, you wouldn't know it from the interview, but apparently, this child has never, ever been on live television before,” he joked.
Colbert then stated that one of the reasons he's ending his Comedy Central program is that “news anchor babies are breathing down my neck.”
“At five years old, he’s already got the sincerity of Edward R. Murrow, the reassuring gaze of Walter Cronkite, and more gravitas than (Fox & Friends co-host) Steve Doocy,” Colbert said. “And he’s already established the word ‘apparently’ as his catchphrase. That is the sort of mindless repetition that marks a real news legend like Sean Hannity.”
Colbert then showed clips of Hannity’s trip through Hamas tunnels, each of which was edited to emphasize the word “literally.”
“Apparently, that five-year-old child could replace Sean Hannity … literally,” he concluded.
As Hannity prepared to wrap up his four-day trip to Israel on Thursday, he was interviewed by Chris Ariens of the TVNewser website, who asked: “I don’t know if you saw it, but Stephen Colbert had some fun with your liberal use of the word 'literally' during your coverage. How do you handle that when the late night comics dissect your performance?”
The Fox News anchor replied:
Look, Stephen Colbert … I understand that people have their job to do. First of all, he’s not as funny as Jon Stewart (host of Comedy Central's Daily Show weekday evening program). Stephen Colbert will have the lowest-rated late night show.
There are issues that just aren’t funny. Terrorism isn’t funny. I didn’t see the bit. I won’t see it. I don’t care.
“Maybe Stephen Colbert needs to come over here and get a dose of reality,” Hannity asserted. “He sits in the comfort of his studio, reading jokes written for him by 30 writers.”
“I have a challenge for Stephen Colbert,” he added. “I’ll pay for your flight. I’ll pay for your hotel, your meals. Then you sit on the border. You talk to the people. You sit across from the mother of an Israeli solider who was killed, and then make a joke about it.”
As you might expect, neither Colbert nor any member of his staff has so far responded to Hannity's challenge. Comedians -- especially liberal ones -- usually have little interest in dealing with serious subjects in a serious manner.