By MARC McDONALD
The debate between Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson and Fox News propagandist Sean Hannity was a sad commentary on the state of political discourse in America today.
During the event, Anderson politely and convincingly detailed one logical, iron-clad argument after another to demonstrate why George W. Bush should be impeached for lying the nation into war.
But someone forgot to send a memo to Hannity that this event was supposed to be a political debate of ideas. Hannity spent the entire time acting exactly the same way he does in the broadcast booth every day. He never responded to a single point that Anderson made and instead just spewed out a nauseating series of right-wing lies and talking points.
Incredibly, Hannity once again trotted out the long-discredited right-wing lie that President Clinton supposedly once turned down an offer from the Sudanese government to hand over Osama bin Laden. It's the same charge Hannity made in his 2002 book, Let Freedom Ring. It's a story that's been echoing around the right-wing noise chamber ever since.
The problem is, the story has long since been debunked. It now exists only in the same creepy parallel universe as other right-wing fantasies such as "Clinton murdered Vince Foster."
As Al Franken pointed out in his Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them book, the Sudan tale is completely bogus. The story was originally peddled by a Pakistani-American named Mansoor Ijaz, an investment banker with a big stake in Sudanese oil.
Incidentally, as Franken points out, Ijaz was later hired as a "foreign affairs analyst" for the Fox News Channel.
But it doesn't matter how many times this story is debunked as a fraud. The Great Right-Wing Noise Machine is hermetically sealed from the truth. We can expect this bogus tale to be regurgitated over and over in the future.
What's interesting is that while this bullshit story continues to be repeated years after it was debunked, few Americans today are aware that Bush actually DID turn down an offer by Afghanistan to hand over bin Laden. And what's more, Bush rejected this offer after the 9/11 attacks.
As Britain's Guardian newspaper points out, in October 2001, Bush "rejected as 'non-negotiable' an offer by the Taliban to discuss turning over Osama bin Laden if the United States ended the bombing in Afghanistan."
This incredible story was ignored at the time by the U.S. media, (which was dusting off the pompons and getting ready to play cheerleader for Bush's invasion of Afghanistan). And unlike the dogshit peddled by Hannity, this story has the advantage of actually being true.