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FOX News’ Michael Reagan And Sean Hannity Blame Democrats For Haditha Massacre

Reported by Ellen - June 1, 2006

Surely if there was any marginally believable way for FOX News to accuse Congressman John Murtha of having personally murdered innocent Iraqis in Haditha for the sake of political gain, Sean Hannity and Michael Reagan would have done so last night (5/31/06) on Hannity & Colmes. They are clearly so desperate to change the subject away from what actually happened in Haditha and the likely cover-up that followed, that they can’t say enough bad things about Democrats in general and John Murtha in particular.

It’s pretty clear from the questions Alan Colmes asked and the ones he didn’t that there’s some kind of “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about a discussion of the events at Haditha on FOX News, or at least on Hannity & Colmes. Just as Hannity and Reagan tried to make the story about Murtha, Colmes tried to make it about Bush. Playing a clip of Bush saying that anyone who had broken the law would be punished, Colmes said it was reminiscent of Bush’s comments about the leaking of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity and questioned Bush's sincerity.

It was a good point but hardly the leading one about this story. While every new fact and allegation in the Duke rape case is discussed, analyzed and rehashed nightly, there has been very little discussion about what actually happened at Haditha and/or the cover-up that may have followed. Not discussed last night was this heartbreaking but thought-provoking report about differing statements from two children who survived. There was absolutely no discussion of the alleged cover-up.

Reagan told Colmes he (Reagan) didn’t care what the president said about Haditha. “The issue is John Murtha and the people on the left… What John Murtha is doing is in fact, besmirching the marine corps, besmirching what’s going on over there and trying to make Iraq into another Viet Nam which it is not. Those men are going out there and dying each and every day and you people and people like you (meaning Colmes and other liberals) are finding guilt before innocence.”

With dramatic Hanctimony, Hannity asked Reagan, “Why is there this unwillingness to even give the benefit of the doubt to the people that are protecting our most basic liberties when the facts haven’t even been established yet? Why is there this impulse among the left to do this, like Jack Murtha saying ‘they’re killing people in cold blood?’”

Predictably, Michael Reagan was ready to take that cue and pounce. “Well, that’s what’s so outrageous to me. And just to take this position that, in fact, you know, find the Americans are wrong, find that the marines are wrong before all these facts in fact do come out… We do know that insurgents – every one of us on this program know (sic) that insurgents hide in homes where innocent people are. They don’t mind that innocent women and children are killed by collateral damage so they can use it as a ploy to recruit more insurgents. And they know that the liberal left in this country will use the same issue. And that is a terrible thing.”

Democratic “strategist” and FOX News contributor Bob Beckel made a half-hearted argument. As he usually does, Beckel seemed more interested in pointing out where he agrees with Hannity than in arguing with him (though Beckel had one great moment when he confronted Hannity for his hypocritical rush to judgment defending "rich, white boys" in the Duke rape case). “I said at the outset I think we ought to wait until the facts are in.”

Hannity pounded on the desk with bullyboy fury. “You don’t have the moral courage to speak out and say, ‘Jack Murtha, be quiet until this is finished.’ Why?”

Did Beckel say that Hannity should have the moral courage to speak out and say that killing civilians must be investigated, even if it doesn’t reflect well on the commanders? Did he say that the real cowards were those trying to make the issue about Murtha instead of Haditha and/or the conditions our troops are fighting under? No. Once again, Beckel tried to appease. He said Murtha’s statement that the marines killed “in cold blood” was “a terrible use of words. I think that the best thing that could happen here is that - these other marines in this area right now are probably in greater harm’s way because this story is beginning to get out.”

“Because of Murtha,” Hannity said. “And people like him.”

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