Friday, November 09, 2012

How Fox News misinforms: 15 minutes with Sean Hannity

Guest post by Ted Leibowitz

Ed. note: Ted's good friends with our former associate editor and co-blogger Creature, and Ted often wrote for Creature's now-on-long-hiatus blog State of the Day. Ted also guest blogged here at The Reaction. Looking back, I found a post from December 2008 in which he was rather critical of then President-elect Obama for choosing Rick Warren, who supported California's anti-gay Prop 8, to give the inaugural invocation. (We love President Obama here, but it's not like we're completely supportive of everything he does.) Well, it's great to welcome Ted back to the fold with a post on the completely unfair and unbalanced coverage of the election by the delusional folks at Fox. -- MJWS

Ted is an award-winning internet radio music director / DJ focused on bringing the best new and interesting indie rock to his worldwide listenership via his 10-year old station BAGeL Radio. He has been featured on panels at music/tech conferences and writes about the exciting new business of music as well as the foot-dragging, entrenched, dinosaur-like old music industry. Ted mainly tends to share his political thoughts around election time as this time of year makes him an insomniac.

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You lost, Sean. Oops.
I turned on the TV Wednesday night. It was tuned to Fox News. Sean Hannity was on. I watched, so you don't have to. For those of you who don't live in the U.S. and don't get the pleasure of tuning into Fox News, perhaps this sampling will help you understand how nearly 58 million Americans this week voted for a guy they didn't even like: they watch Fox News.

Below is what I gleaned from watching about 15-20 minutes of the show.

Sean Hannity is disgusted by President Obama for dirty campaigning.

SH: "One tragedy of this election is that Obama's dirty tactics have now been vindicated, and we're now going to see this [sic] kind of tactics replicated for many years to come. Thanks to Barack Obama, politics is now dirtier than it was, and it will get worse as others try to now perfect this "politics of personal destruction."


Apparently Mr. Hannity was not paying attention when George W. Bush (who is rarely mentioned anymore on Fox News for some reason) mercilessly took down one of his own, Senator John McCain, in the Republican primaries prior to the 2000 presidential election. Nor Dubya's second presidential campaign, during which Karl "Dubya's Brain" Rove invented the Swift Boat campaign smear against his opponent John Kerry, a recipient of the Purple Heart medal.

"If I'm [one of the people who ran Obama's campaign], today, I'm embarrassed," Hannity said, "because they knew no boundaries when it came to lying, and demonizing, slandering, smearing, besmirching, attacking a nice guy."

Hannity referred to the Obama campaign as "dirty and ugly and mean."

Even if this were true, it would be very "pot calling the kettle black" of someone at Fox News to disparage a campaign over such deeds. Fox News has on its payroll the unchallenged modern grand master of campaign dirty tricks, Karl Rove. Karl Rove learned dirty politics in the Nixon administration and went on to run many a smear campaign on behalf of George W. Bush with highlights including hinting that Texas Governor Ann Richards (1994) was a lesbian and suggesting that Senator John McCain (2000) was psychologically unstable due to his time as a POW (and also that McCain's wife was on drugs and that McCain had fathered an African-American love child). And who can forget the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame (2003) and the aforementioned Swift Boaters (2004).

The same Karl Rove who wouldn't concede Obama's victory on election night even after CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, and his own Fox News had already called it. Perhaps he thought if he kept barking he could pull James Baker out of a hat, like in 2000. But enough about Rove.

Next, Hannity had Ann Coulter on the show.

Coulter: "Recent immigrants are more likely to be on government assistance. The Democrats lure them in, get them on government assistance... recent immigrants are for more likely to be on government assistance than native-born Americans..." (I doubt she gets the irony of her poor word choice with "native... American")... get them on welfare, and they vote Democratic."

She continued, "Teddy Kennedy's 1965 immigration act was specifically designed to change the demographics of this nation."

Suddenly, 47 years after the fact, Ann Coulter woke up and realized that the 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act was a liberal conspiracy to change the demographics of the U.S. by luring immigrants to our shores in order to get them addicted to government assistance so that they would some day vote Democratic.

Mr. Kennedy, if Ms. Coulter is right, you were an even more incredibly forward-thinking political genius than anyone knew.

Coulter then said, "I think Mitt Romney would have won if he'd had the same demographics that Ronald Reagan had."

Yes, Ann, in an alternate reality, Mitt Romney could have won the Presidency of the United States this week. Unfortunately for Mitt, and you, and Sean, and Karl, and Fox News, we live in this reality.

Coulter went on to refer, in passing, to Bush's wars as "wars that help America." Off-handed remarks like that get bandied about without explanation all the time on Fox News, implanting unsubstantiated falsehoods in viewers' minds.

Then there was this exchange:

AC: "Simpson-Bowles [a commission set up by President Obama to address growing U.S. debt] would be better than anything Obama could come up with."

SH: "Tax reform is a sneaky way of basically raising taxes..."

AC: "...raising taxes, which produces less revenue to the government."

Wait a second... raising taxes is a way to produce less revenue for the government?!?! What?!?!

Then a favorite Fox News straw man came up: the Liberal Media, which is apparently a monolithic entity that works in concert against the interests of conservatives and America.

SH: "The Liberal Media put all it's resources behind re-electing Barack Obama."

He then had Bob Woodward of The Washington Post on to talk about how the Liberal Media worked to get Obama re-elected. Problem was, Woodward brought up three examples of how the "mainstream media" (which Fox always refers to as the Liberal Media) hammered Obama in recent months.


Hannity's response was (paraphrasing), "Well, you may have some [valid] points, but I don't think the Liberal Media covered the scandals* to my satisfaction." Before I get to just what those "scandals" were, here is what Hannity actually meant:

"Well, you may have some [valid] points, but I'm not going to let the facts which you just stated, Bob Woodward, and which I, Sean Hannity, just acknowledged the validity of, get in the way of me reiterating the false narrative we here at Fox News have created and are ramming down our viewers throats."

After that I could take no more.

*The "scandals" were "The Beghazi Cover Up" (a non-story that Media Matters thoroughly debunked); "The Fast & Furious" (which has been debunked by such liberal rags as Fortune and the NY Daily News); and something about high unemployment numbers, which Woodward had just stated had been pretty well covered by that demon, the Liberal Media.

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2 Comments:

  • The people at fox news,still dont get it,to suggest that everybody that voted democratic wants hand-outs is offensive to hard working honest people,sure you got people,thats looking for a ride,but you shouldn't lable everybody that way.that type of stereotype and talking and thinking like that,is a big reason republicans lost.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:33 PM  

  • Distortion, fabrication and villfication is the mantra of Hannity and Fox News. The Tea
    Party and rightwing wackos eat it up like kids gone berserk in a candy store!

    By Anonymous Sean Hannity, at 3:39 PM  

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