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Sean Hannity's Phony Compassion Puts Politics Over Public Interest

Reported by Ellen - September 8, 2005

Sean Hannity's insensitive hypocrisy toward the hurricane victims came through again last night, 9/7/05. Wrapping himself in a cloak of concern about the hurricane victims, he largely ignored them in favor of attacking Democrats. By the end of the hour, it was clear that Hannity's most important rescue priorities were that of the Bush Administration's public image.

During an interview with Newt Gingrich, Hannity said, "This has been so highly politicized. It's grotesque, in my view. I've never seen anything this bad in my life in terms of politicizing a tragedy."

That was minutes after verbally attacking the Democratic Congressman from Louisiana who represents New Orleans. Somebody truly intent on not politicizing a tragedy might have demonstrated a bit of sympathy and deference for a representative from such a disaster-struck area. But not Hannity. His eyes squintier than usual, Hannity pointed his finger in the air and yelled at the Congressman "We had five days notice to get these people out of there... Is that the mayor's fault? Is that the governor's fault? ...We knew the storm was coming, why didn't we get the people out?"

Good question and it's funny how all Hannity's finger-pointing was against Democrats (the mayor, the governor, the Congressman from Louisiana and, later, Howard Dean) and no hard questions for Republicans.

Hannity did admit during his interview with Gingrich that "There's a lot to learn... There is room for legitimate criticism. I'm not saying everything's been done perfectly."

Then he raised his voice and got back on his anti-Democratic soap box. "The thing that bothers me the most, Mr. Speaker, is that FOR DECADES, the city and the state was (sic) warned. They knew for days that a Category 5 was headed there and that nobody did anything knowing that there were all these weakness and vulnerabilities here."

Meanwhile, Hannity expressed no interest in the mis-steps of the federal government nor any concern about the fact that FEMA is being run by people with little or no disaster experience but are pals of the president. While it may be true that the mayor and governor also mishandled the situation, why all the focus on them? How come no concern about FEMA which, unlike the Louisiana officials, would matter to the rest of the country, should a terrible disaster strike elsewhere? Hannity didn't seem to know or care about the following stories as linked via DailyKos:

FEMA won't accept Amtrak's help in evacuations
FEMA turns away experienced firefighters
FEMA turns back Wal-Mart supply trucks
FEMA prevents Coast Guard from delivering diesel fuel
FEMA won't let Red Cross deliver food
FEMA bars morticians from entering New Orleans

There was also this news item, reported by AP, FOX News' own wire service:

The top U.S. disaster official waited hours after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast before he proposed to his boss sending at least 1,000 Homeland Security workers into the region to support rescuers, internal documents show.

With all of Hannity's dramatic outrage, he seemed blithely disinterested in the plight of the evacuees who still face incredible challenges after having been radically displaced from their homes and communities. The only attention he paid any human suffering was toward one man in New Orleans who, apparently, appeared on the air yesterday refusing to leave his home. "What's going to happen to him?" Hannity asked Greta Van Susteren late in the show. He was afraid, he said, that the man wouldn't survive. That was the extent of Hannity's discussion about the humanitarian side of the problem. It was clear that the political fallout was what was really on his mind.

Maybe Hannity's right and all the blame should be put on local officials but aren't there legitimate reasons to ask the questions, raise the issues and have a discussion? Anyone as truly interested in not politicizing a tragedy as Hannity claims he is would not only want to get to the bottom of it all but make sure that the American public could, too.

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