Christian Science Monitor

10 Examples Of Sean Hannity Saying Things That Aren’t True

Media Matters

Fox News’ Sean Hannity brushed aside Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-MN) assertion that Hannity was “immoral” for “saying things that aren’t true.” Yet Hannity has a long history of using his Fox News program to push false and misleading claims.

Hannity Dismisses Claim That He Says “Things That Aren’t True”

Hannity Dismisses Ellison’s Claim That He Is “Immoral” For “Saying Things That Aren’t True.” On the February 27 edition of Hannity, host Sean Hannity replayed part of his February 26 interview with Ellison. During the exchange, Ellison responded to Hannity’s question about the federal debt being “immoral” by saying, “You are immoral for telling lies.” Hannity asked, “I’m immoral? What did I do that’s immoral?” Ellison responded, “You tell mistruths. You say things that aren’t true.” Speaking before the clip was aired, Hannity said Ellison “at times, seemed incoherent” and “really started grasping at straws.” After the clip was aired, Hannity said to guest J.C. Watts, “I just gave him the rope and said, go. Here you go, rant away.” [Fox News, Hannity, 2/27/13]

Hannity Has A History Of Pushing False And Misleading Reports

10. Hannity Hyped RNC’s Doctored Audio Of Supreme Court Arguments. Hannity uncritically aired a Republican National Committee (RNC) ad that used audio from Supreme Court oral arguments to attack health care reform — but the audio used in the ad was dishonestly edited. [Media Matters3/30/12]

9. Hannity Distorted CBO Data To Attack Obama. Hannity claimed that a January 2012 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report showed that if Obama were to win a second term, taxes would “go up 30 percent.” In fact, the report only stated that taxes would increase at such a rate if all the Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire. [Media Matters2/2/12]

8. Hannity Falsely Claimed A White House Adviser “Advocated Compulsory Abortion.” Hannity claimed that White House science and technology adviser John Holdren “advocated compulsory abortion” and sterilization. PolitiFact had previously rated a similar claim — made months earlier by Fox News’ Glenn Beck — “pants on fire” false. [Media Matters9/9/09]

7. Hannity Falsely Claimed Obama Called The Death Of Four Americans “Just A Bump In The Road.” Hannity claimed that Obama referred to the death of four Americans in the September 2012 attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi as “just a bump in the road.” In fact, Obama was referring to the difficulties Arab countries were facing in transitioning from autocratic rule to democracy. [Media Matters9/25/12]

6. Hannity Spread False Report That Egypt Was Considering Necrophilia Bill. Hannity hyped a thinly-sourced report from an Egyptian newspaper to claim that the Egyptian government was considering a law that would allow a husband to have sex with his dead wife. The Christian Science Monitor called the story “utter hooey,” and multiple sources later debunked the claim. [Media Matters4/30/12; Huffington Post, 4/26/12]

5. Hannity’s Special On “Liberal Bias” Featured Wildly Distorted And Out-Of-Context Quotes. Hannity’s “Behind the Bias” special, in which he purported to investigate the “bias” of “the mainstream media,” featured multiple deceptively cropped quotes. For example, he played a clip purporting to show that Katie Couric called President Ronald Reagan “an airhead”; in fact, Couric was citing a conclusion from a biography of Reagan. [Media Matters4/24/11]

4. Hannity Cast Doubt On Scientific Consensus About Climate Change. Even though the overwhelming majority of scientists agree that global warming is occurring and is likely caused or exacerbated by human activity, Hannity has repeatedly denied or cast doubt on the existence of climate change. [Media Matters12/4/091/13/108/27/1011/19/106/24/11]

3. Hannity Fueled Myth That Obama Is A Muslim. During a segment in March 2011 in which he fueled the smear that Obama was not born in the U.S., Hannity claimed that Obama “went to a Muslim school.” In March 2012, while claiming that he was “not doubting [Obama’s] faith,” Hannity said, “[L]ook, he did write about his early years, that he did study the Quran, that one of the most beautiful moments in life was prayer at sunset. So, I mean, he does have that background.” [Media Matters3/24/113/21/12]

2. Hannity Fed The Birther Movement. Hannity repeatedly fed the long-standing smear that Obama was not born in the United States, even after Obama released his birth certificate and multiple fact-checkers debunked the smear. Hannity denied that Obama had shown his birth certificate and once falsely claimed that Obama “grew up in Kenya.” [Media Matters3/28/114/20/12]

1. Hannity Ignored Overwhelming Evidence To Repeatedly Claim Obama‘s Policies Have Not HelpedImprove The Economy. Hannity has repeatedly claimed that President Obama’s policies have not improved the economy. In fact, numerous economists and independent analysts have noted that many of Obama’s policy achievements, such as the stimulus, have benefited the economy: GDP is growing rather than contracting as it was at the end of 2008, and the economy has added millions of jobs. [Media Matters1/13/107/14/112/2/12]

 

The disturbing rise of Sandy Hook conspiracy theories

This insanity has gone too far…

The Week

Claims that the massacre was a hoax have gone viral

In the aftermath of the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., President Obama has moved to strengthen America’s gun laws, and public opinion has swung significantly in support of stricter gun control. Gun-rights advocates have responded passionately, but opposition has also begun to take on uglier forms — most notably in conspiracy theories that contend the shooting was a hoax perpetrated by the government, the media, or some wildly improbable combination of the two.

What kind of conspiracy theories are out there?  One contends that something is amiss because the adults in Newtown — particularly Robbie Parker, who lost his 6-year-old daughter Emilie in the shooting — haven’t grieved hard enough. According to this theory, many of the shattered adults you’ve seen on camera are actors. Another claims that Emilie is still alive, appearing in a photograph with President Obama (the person in the photo is Emilie’s sister). Yet another claims that there were other gunmen besides Adam Lanza. For a comprehensive list, as well as a thorough debunking (not that you’d need one), check out this article from Salon.

The thread that connects the various theories is gun control. “The underlying theme in all the theories is that the media, the government, and the Obama administration specifically either manipulated or orchestrated the shooting to move political opinion on gun control,” says Laura Edwins at The Christian Science Monitor. Analysts say the theories may be a way to deflect blame from guns to imaginary culprits.

Of course, conspiracy theories abound on the internet. But the Sandy Hook variety are gaining traction, approaching Obama-was-born-in-Kenya ubiquity. One YouTube video, “The Sandy Hook Shooting—Fully Exposed,” has been viewed more than 10 million times. Gene Rosen, a Newtown resident who sheltered six children during the shooting, has reportedly received creepy phone calls and emails from those who believe he is an actor. And it’s all over social media, according to Ben Smith and CJ Lotz at BuzzFeed:

“It’s by far the hottest topic of the moment,” said David Mikkelson, the co-founder of the popular fact-checking website Snopes.com, which offers a detailed and extensive debunking of the theory’s various planks.

The term “Sandy Hook conspiracy” was also a “hot search” on Google this week. [BuzzFeed]

It may be unwise to attribute these theories to a bunch of cranks. As the National Rifle Association showed this week, with an anti-gun control ad harping on Obama’s daughters, a conspiratorial strain runs through the gun lobby’s public relations approach. As David Weigel at Slate explains:

The idea that the government is one short step away from a gun ban is actually integral to the lobby’s pitch…At the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference, [NRA head Wayne] LaPierre warned that the first-term Obama administration’s “lip service to gun owners is just part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment during his second term”…

[T]he fact that Obama responded to Sandy Hook at all validates LaPierre’s fears, and he’s said so. Why would anyone be surprised when that paranoia grows into a full-on conspiracy theory? [Slate]

How the Right-Wing Media’s Fantasy World Caused a Republican Meltdown on Election Night

Alternet

Despite all evidence to the contrary, right-wing pundits were telling whoever would listen that Romney would win by a landslide.

The greatest thing on television Tuesday evening wasn’t Obama’s victory speech. It wasn’t Romney’s concession speech. It wasn’t even John King’s gentle caress of the CNN Magic Wall.

It was the Fox News team’s collective meltdown when the network’s own analysts called theelection for Obama.

In fact, Fox might have given us the most entertaining five minutes of cable newsin television history. Karl Rove in particular couldn’t wrap his head around the idea that Romney had lost. He sent Megyn Kelly downstairs to the Fox election desk to find out what had happened. Despite one of the election desk staffers saying he was 99.5 percent sure about the outcome, Rove insisted that there must have been a mistake. If you look at the footage closely enough, you can actually see smoke come out of Rove’s ears as his brain malfunctions. At one point even Megyn Kelly couldn’t take Rove’s BS any longer and asked him if the number-crunching he was doing was “math you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better.”

But it wasn’t only the on-air personalities at Fox who were shocked and appalled by the election outcome. White conservatives across the nation were caught off guard, and oh how they mourned . As the AlterNet team wrote in a post-election roundup , it’s pretty easy to see why: despite all evidence to the contrary, right-wing pundits were telling whoever would listen that Romney would win by a landslide. They attacked Nate Silver, the New York Times blogger and statistics savant, who, it turns out, nailed it . They claimed Black voters wouldn’t turn out for Obama, and plenty of other obvious nonsense. Basically, they were living in a fantasy land that did not reflect the reality of the election or the citizens of this country.

At the Christian Science Monitor , Gloria Goodale has an interesting piece on the right-wing media’s alternate version of reality. She writes:

[R]ather than the purportedly surprising election results reflecting some national subversion of the voting process, many political scientists and other analysts say this right-wing upset is dramatic evidence of a growing partisan divide in our media.

Increasingly, the public consumes media that reinforce personal views rather than give actual information about the world, says University of San Francisco political scientist Corey Cook.

“The biggest story of this election is the stories that were being told about the election,” says Professor Cook….“It was really as if places like MSNBC and Fox were talking about completely different races,” he adds.

Goodale’s sources also note that major networks like NBC share some of the blame in misleading viewers. But in their case, the deception seems to have been largely relegated to claims that the race was neck-and-neck, when in fact Obama was the clear leader in the polls; close elections are of course better for ratings.

Outlets manufacturing a false sense of drama to make more money is loathsome, but the fallout from the right-wing media’s trip to la-la land seems to be much more profound for conservatives who were given a false sense of hope. Whether many conservatives will disavow Fox and its ilk over its election lies remains to be seen. But it’s entirely possible that this time the right-wing media has gone too far. As Amanda Marcotte wrote in a blog post earlier today, “Without lies, what does the right wing media have? Not much.”

 

Stephen Colbert’s ‘not-so-funny’ presidential announcement – The Week

The Week

The video: Stephen Colbert isn’t on the ballot in South Carolina. But a PPP surveythis week put his support in the Palmetto State’s Jan. 21 presidential primary at 5 percent — better than actual candidate Jon Huntsman. So on Thursday night’s show, Colbert asked his lawyer, Trevor Potter, if he could run for president and continue leading his successful super PAC, Citizens for Better Tomorrow Tomorrow. No, Potter said: Campaign law prohibits candidates from coordinating with super PACs. That inspired Colbert to hand over his super PAC to close friend and business partner Jon Stewart. Perfectly legal, Potter pronounced. Assured of a sympathetic super PAC, Colbert then announced that he was “forming an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for [his] possible candidacy for the president of the United States of South Carolina.” Cue celebratory balloon drop!

The reaction: This could “be more fun, and pointed, than just another vanity run,” says James Poniewozik at TIME. Colbert is effectively and informatively satirizing the absurdity of campaign rules that allow super PACs to accept unlimited contributions, which they use to prop up candidates. But that’s actually “not so funny,” says Peter Grier at The Christian Science Monitorgiven that Mitt Romney and Co. are as cozy with their super PACS as Colbert is with Stewart.

Hedges: ‘Corporations have carried out a coup d’état in my country’

That is the absolute best description of what’s going on in America that I’ve heard to date…

The Raw Story

In an interview published Monday, taken in Times Square during Saturday’s global day of protests, Pulitzer-winning writer Chris Hedges explained his view of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and why he’s supporting it.

“I spent 20 years overseas, I’m a war correspondent,” he said. “I came back and realized that corporations have carried out a coup d’état in my country.”

Hedges wrote for The New York TimesThe Dallas Morning News and The Christian Science Monitor, and was part of the team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting, for a series of articles examining the terrorist attacks on the United States and profiling the al Qaeda network.

“I covered the street demonstrations that brought down Milošević, I’ve covered both of the Palestinian intifadas, and once movements like this start and articulate a fundamental truth about the society that they live in, and expose the repression, the mendacity, the corruption and the decay of structures of power, then they have a kind of centrifugal force, you never know where they’re going.”

He went on: “What happens, and it’s true in all of these movements as well, is the foot soldiers of the elite, the blue uniform police, the mechanisms of control, finally don’t want to impede the movement. At that point, the power elite is left defenseless. So, where’s it going? No one knows. Even the people most intimately involved in the organization don’t know. All of these movements take on a kind of life and color that in some ways is finally mysterious. The only thing I can say, having been in the middle of similar movements, is that this one is real … And this one could take ‘em all down.”

Hedges went on to say that large segments of the blue uniform police largely agree with the 99 Percent movement, and that many other police are frustrated because protesters aren’t breaking windows, which they “know how to handle.” He added that the protesters’ “non-hierarchical structure” for decision making is “brilliant,” and suggested that he had nothing he could possibly teach them.

Finally, addressing an individual standing off-camera, Hedges concluded: “For me, I got kids. It’s not about me anymore. It’s about my childrens’ generation. I think my passion for what you are doing — I would even use the word love — comes from the fact that I look as you as fighting on behalf of my little three-year-old, and when I … On Friday morning, of course I was up to find out what happened … And I did what I do now, which is to start crying. God bless you all.”

This video was published to YouTube on Monday, Oct. 17, 2011.

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The “Real” Reason For Rick Perry’s Fall From The Tea Party Throne

If you say that we should not educate children who come into our state for no other reason than that they’ve been brought there through no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.”

No one is talking about the real reason Texas Governor Rick Perry is no longer the darling of right-wing  pundits or the Tea Party after last week’s debate.

Most pundits site Perry’s fumbling and bumbling over an attack on Mitt Romney’s “flip-flop” record.

The truth is that even Perry’s staunchest supporters, who are mostly comprised of Tea Partiers or Tea Party sympathizers, don’t agree with his admission of support for immigrants who were brought to this country as children, through no fault of their own.   When he expressed his feelings about the state sponsored “DREAM Act” for those “illegal immigrants” the entire dynamic changed.  To top it off, Perry stated that anyone who didn’t understand the reasoning and compassion behind the Texas Dream Act…”didn’t have a heart.”

Red State’s reaction:

Rick Perry is free to defend his position as he sees it on the merits, but to suggest his critics are heartless is right out of the liberal textbook. As conservatives it is bad enough that we must endure such assaults from liberals and their acolytes in the mainstream media, but we’ve come to expect that and have effectively rebutted this view. But from Rick Perry? A conservative Republican Governor of Texas to criticize a dissenting view to label his conservative critics “heartless”?  I would expect that from Barack Obama or Bill Clinton or Michael Moore, but from the front runner in a contest for President?

Mike Keuber’s Blog:

Rick Perry has caught a lot of flak for his most recent debate performance.  Although he had numerous low points, his lowest was his defense of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants:

  • If you say that we should not educate children who come into our state for no other reason than that they’ve been brought there through no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.”

There are at least three problems with this response – one was unavoidable, one was easily avoidable, and one was inexcusable:

  1. Unavoidable.  The unavoidable problem was that in 2001 Perry had signed-off on a bipartisan law, but now he is faced with partisan primary voters.  At the Christian Science Monitor cogently described – “For Perry, his state’s version of the Obama administration’s ‘Dream Act’ proposal for helping students without legal immigrant status has become like ‘RomneyCare’ – a state-specific position that’s hard to justify in the context of today’s national debate on such issues.”
  2. Avoidable.  The avoidable problem was that Perry was unable to speak clearly.  Perry knew that this question was coming, so he should have been able to rehearse an articulate response.  Instead he gave a response with jumbled syntax.
  3. Inexcusable.  Perry knew that many Republican voters disagreed with his position, but instead of trying to persuade them that his position was reasonable, he criticized them for not having a heart.  I don’t think he read Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

As Keuber mentions, Perry’s Texas Dream Act will always be compared to Obama-Care.

So Perry’s issue is not that he flubbed a rebuttal to Mitt Romney’s statements, but that he supports some form of  illegal immigration, albeit a very small part in the complex overall scheme on the issue of immigration.  That is a faux pas as far as the Tea Party and other right-wing conservatives are concerned.

Rick Perry ignored the sacred Tea Party’s mantra: “stick to the party line”, and now, he may pay dearly for that.  No amount of apologies will change the hearts and minds of those folks.

Carville: If Hillary Gave Obama One Of Her Balls, ‘He’d Have Two’

OMG! Just…OMG!

Hey! In retrospect, Carville may have a point there.

TPM DC

Via Tribune reporter Mike Memoli on Twitter comes a colorful line from Democratic strategist James Carville:

“If Hillary gave up one of her balls and gave it to Obama, he’d have two.”

Carville presumably made the quip at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast where he was speaking this morning. But he’s actually made a similar point before.

Speaking to Newsweek back during the 2008 campaign, in an article about Obama’s relative political toughness compared to Clinton, Carville said: “If she gave him one of her cojones, they’d both have two.”

(Politico also wrote about Memoli’s tweet.)