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Is There Anybody The FOX News Chickenhawks Won’t Smear For Political Gain?

Reported by Ellen - June 21, 2006

Sean Hannity never saw fit to enlist in the military when he had a chance, never served his country in public office, never visited Iraq and, as far as I know, has never visited any of our wounded troops in the hospital. But night after night, he climbs on his red, white and blue bullyboy soapbox and smears those who have.

Last night’s smears (6/20/06) were against Hannity’s two favorite targets (besides the Duke rape DA) – decorated war veterans John Kerry and John Murtha. They have had the courage and audacity to exercise that sacred American right, Freedom of Speech granted in the First Amendment. Apparently, Murtha and Kerry didn’t get Hannity’s memo instructing them that the First Amendment is only to be exercised at certain times and in certain cases. So in response to Murtha and Kerry speaking out against the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq (where we are supposedly fighting for our freedoms and those of the Iraqis now that the WMD reasons seem to have evaporated), “military man” Sean Hannity seems determined to turn the Congressman and the Senator into the second greatest threats to our troops after the insurgency.

Last night’s smears came during a discussion of the Haditha incident. Once again, “fair and balanced” FOX News had a guest who had no firsthand knowledge of what happened but was guaranteed to be biased in favor of the troops. He was Jesse Grapes, a retired commander of the company involved. He hadn’t been briefed on the Pentagon report (as Murtha has), is neither an expert in law nor in the kind of military situations that are alleged to have occurred at Haditha. Like the Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, another favorite Hannity & Colmes guest, Grapes’ main attribute seemed to be a willingness to provide cover for Hannity to attack someone out of his own league.

Hannity started his portion of the discussion with Grapes – a discussion that was supposed to be about Haditha – by saying with Hanctimonious solemnity, “Lieutenant, John Murtha has been a disgrace in this campaign (Comment: Campaign? What campaign?) because before the investigation was concluded, he said that your men, the people YOU were the commander of, killed innocent civilians in cold blood. He wouldn’t even give them the presumption of innocence. He’s disgraceful. Not even worth talking about.” Not worth talking about for at least another minute, that is - until Hannity wanted to bring up Murtha again.

Then Hannity, who was also not briefed by the Pentagon on Haditha, asked Grapes to tell what he “knew” happened that night, despite the fact that Grapes had not been there. Grapes replied, “What I know from the Marines who were there, is that they were emotionally ruined for a short period of time.” Not exactly a blanket denial that no innocent civilians were wrongly killed.

While Hannity has decreed that SOME people need to wait for the investigation to be concluded before discussing it, that rule does not apply to Hannity. He made a not-so-subtle attempt to prod Grapes. “But they deny these allegations. They were under fire at that moment. They had to defend themselves and protect their colleagues, correct? – their fellow Marines from being under attack. They followed the rules of engagement and that’s what they’re telling you, correct?”

No, not correct, if Hannity believes his own news network. According to an article on FOXNews.com, "'This report is going to be ugly,' one commander said, adding that it appears the Marines did not follow the rules of engagement... Senior commanders said Murtha is 'coming from a position of knowledge.'"

Soon, Hannity was back to smearing Murtha. “Let me go back to the Jack Murtha question, here. (As if there is one!). What does it mean to Marines that are on the ground, putting themselves in harm’s way, watching their fellow Marines be destroyed this way and their lives taken away from them, to be accused by a United States Congressman without the full investigation, of killing civilians in cold blood or John Kerry said that, you know, ‘Our troops are terrorizing women and children in the dark of night in Iraq.’ What does that mean to the troops that have put everything on the line to serve their country and their Commander-in-Chief?”

Grapes took the cue. “It’s incredibly disheartening.”

At the end of the segment, Alan Colmes tried to get in that Murtha got his information from the Pentagon – you know, the commanders who are above Grapes – but Hannity prevented Colmes from finishing by interrupting and talking over him.

If there are any military people or vets out there reading this who would like to let FOX News and Sean Hannity know that it’s incredibly disheartening to see him smear and lie about decorated veterans who fought for the right to exercise their First Amendment rights, you can contact them at comments@foxnews.com or hannity@foxnews.com. You can also contact Alan Colmes at colmes@foxnews.com.

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