Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota ripped into Fox News host Sean Hannity during a tense interview on Tuesday night.
Hannity began his segment by claiming President Barack Obama was to blame for looming across-the-budget cuts known as the sequester. The conservative Fox News host insisted the President was “fearmongering” about the consequences of the cuts and played an irreverent mash-up of Obama’s recent speeches.
“You’re the worst excuse for a journalist I’ve ever seen,” Ellison said after being introduced.
Hannity asked for Ellison to repeat himself, claiming he couldn’t hear him. Instead, Ellison continued to blast Hannity, saying his mash-up was deceptive “yellow journalism” and a “breach of every journalistic ethic I know of.” Ellison told Hannity he was a “shill for the Republican Party,” but Hannity repeatedly insisted he was a “registered conservative.”
“Keep going, keep ranting,” Hannity said.
Ellision said it was wrong for Hannity to blame Obama for the sequester. The across-the-board spending cuts were part of a political deal to raise the federal debt ceiling in 2011. The sequester was intended to be so painful that it would force Republicans and Democrats to compromise on a plan to reduce the federal deficit. Ellison noted a so-called “super committee” that was supposed to hash out a deal had failed and blamed the failure on Republicans’ stubborn opposition to raising taxes.
The two men continued to exchange barbs. Eventually, Hannity asked Ellison about the “immoral” debt.
“You’re immoral,” Ellison replied. “You say things that aren’t true.”