Ellison has spoken 425+ more words on Hannity than the host himself during his two interviews on the program; the congressman has been on FOX’s primetime shows nine times in two years

keithellison10.jpgMinnesota DFL U.S. Representative Keith Ellison made headlines Tuesday evening after a very aggressive appearance on FOX News’ Hannity program.

Appearing to discuss the sequester and the federal budget, highlights are circulating that include choice, biting quotes from the Gopher State’s 6th CD congressman to Hannity such as:

“You are the worst excuse for a journalist I’ve ever seen.”

“Every journalistic ethic I have ever heard of was just violated by you.”

“You are a shill for the Republican Party.”

“You are immoral.”

Viewed in a broader context, Ellison’s attacks on Sean Hannity – and his appearance on the show in the first instance – are a bit bewildering.

Ellison was elected to Congress in 2006, but waited more than four years before he appeared on the network in primetime in March 2011.

Prior to this time, FOX hosts had alternately called him “loony,” “crazy,” “misguided,” and “dumb.”

“Mr. Ellison, you have explained why you don’t like George Bush but you haven’t explained why you publicly articulated and endorsed the deranged thinking of the looniest among us. Until you take it back, and apologize for dabbling in the craziest 9/11 conspiracy theories, you truly call into question your fitness to serve in the U.S. Congress.” – Jon Gibson (July 16, 2007)

“Now, let’s get to this crazy guy Ellison in Minnesota. He takes Grayson’s place in Florida as the looniest guy in the House. And he says, yes, you know what? Let’s blow up the entire economy so we, the income redistributors, we can show the American people who — you know, and I’m going, are you just dumb or what?” – Bill O’Reilly (December 13, 2010)

“Congressman Ellison and CAIR are misguided. They are not — they are not looking out for us.” – Bill O’Reilly (December 21, 2010)

“That’s certainly the sort of civility that we’ve come to expect from the Democrats and their allies in recent weeks. Now, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison did his part to bring the rhetoric into the gutter.” – Sean Hannity (February 21, 2011)

Despite this backdrop, over the last two years Ellison has appeared on FOX’s primetime programming nine times: seven times on the O’Reilly Factor and twice on Hannity.

On O’Reilly, Ellison has been a guest to discuss radical Islam (March 10, 2011), U.S. intervention in the Middle East (March 29, 2011), the decline of America (September 23, 2011), Occupy Wall Street (November 16, 2011), trust in Congress (December 13, 2011), Iran (March 20, 2012), and the assassination of the U.S. ambassador to Libya (September 13, 2012).

Ellison debuted on Hannity on April 20, 2011 to discuss radical Islam in a lengthy two-segment appearance.

While Sean Hannity is the most demonstrably conservative ideologue on the FOX network, and is known for taking off the gloves with some of his liberal guests, he has definitely given Representative Ellison the floor to express his views when appearing on his show.

Out of Ellison’s nine primetime FOX appearances, the Minnesota congressman was given the most time to speak on his two Hannity appearances: speaking 1,441 words on his April 20, 2011 debut and 645 words on his appearance Tuesday, February 26th.

Hannity, meanwhile, merely spoke 1,066 and 594 words respectively during those two interviews for a +426 word advantage for Ellison collectively.

In fact, these were the only two times out of his nine primetime FOX appearances that Ellison spoke more words than the host.

By contrast, on O’Reilly, Ellison had a -1,059 word deficit to the host, 4,307 words to 3,248.

And so, depending on one’s view of Ellison’s performance Tuesday, this could be seen as Hannity being gracious…or choosing to give Ellison a lot of rope (Hannity himself encouraged or complimented the congressman on his ability to keep “ranting” four times in the recent interview).

Words Spoken by Keith Ellison on Primetime FOX News Appearances

Radical Islam
O’Reilly Factor
Occupy Wall Street
O’Reilly Factor
O’Reilly Factor
Radical Islam
O’Reilly Factor
Decline of America
O’Reilly Factor
O’Reilly Factor
US intervention in Middle East
O’Reilly Factor
Trust in Congress

* Joint appearance with U.S. Representative Robert Andrews (D-NJ). ** Joint appearance with U.S. Representative Steve King (R-IA). Table compiled by Smart Politics.

Considering Ellison confronted Hannity so hard right out of the gates with his “worst excuse for a journalist” and “yellow journalism” barbs, it seems Ellison’s appearance on the program was a calculated attempt to confront Hannity and perhaps score political points.

(The Daily Beast’s media critic Howard Kurtz hypothesized Ellison wanted the confrontation “because it helps him”).

For example, apropos of nothing in the middle of the interview, Ellison – who had been dictating the tempo and direction of the interview up to this point – warns Hannity, “I’m not backing down to you,” when the host attempted to ask a question:

ELLISON: You want to do something about the 16 trillion, let’s do something, let’s close loopholes on large corporations. Let’s say that yachts and jets should not be something that 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 the people who earn, who get to pay less.

HANNITY: All right. Congressman, you’re ranting really well. Can I ask you a question? Here’s a simple question.

ELLISON: If you don’t like what I’m saying Sean — and I’m not backing down to you.

Although he represents one of the safest Democratic districts in the nation, one could imagine a fundraising email leading with “Keith Ellison: Not backing down to Hannity.”

And yet, despite taking charge of the interview, Rep. Ellison did not exactly seem prepared to debate the issue at hand, instead frequently parroting what Hannity had just spoken with an “I know you are but what am I?” argumentative technique that might have been left on the cutting room floor of Monty Python’s famous “Argument Clinic” sketch:

HANNITY: Why are you so angry? You’re so angry. Let me ask you a question.
ELLISON: Why are you so angry?

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

HANNITY: Rah, rah, rah, 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: Here’s my question. Is it immoral — is it immoral —
ELLISON: You are immoral.

The Republican Party of Minnesota is already circulating the Hannity video in a fundraising email discussing Ellison’s “history of losing control” and asking for people to “Donate $25 if you agree we need to give liberal Congressmen like Keith Ellison the boot!”

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.


  1. Earl Wood on March 2, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Congressman Ellison ranting shamed himself, the Democratic Party and his family. In his rant he mentions tax loopholes, write-offs and tax rebates; well why doesn’t he do something about these. He is a total jerk!!!!!

Leave a Comment