Hannity Uses Dubious Sourcing and False Reports to Attack Al Gore
Reported by Marie Therese - March 5, 2007 -
For some strange reason Sean Hannity is obsessed with Al Gore. Despite the fact that Gore has clearly stated he has no intention of running in 2008, Hannity has continued to make absurd statements using specious sources to back them up in a manic attempt to paint the former Vice President, long an advocate for energy conservation, as an energy-guzzling hypocrite who's pulling the wool over the eyes of a gullible public. Fortunately for Sean, who just can't seem to find any factual documentation to back up his smears, there are unseemly and marginally accurate online sources he can quote. And, sadly, there are still some foolish people in this country who believe anything that comes out of Sean Hannity's mouth.
Case in point.
Last night on Hannity's America, Sean Hannity invited his best buddy Mark "The Great One" Levin to debate Gore's alleged hypocrisy with FOX News Contributor Laura Schwartz and Democratic strategist Steve McMahon. McMahon was a weak guest throughout the whole segment, offering little in the way of fight. (I sorely missed the wonderful Jane Fleming, who has apparently left Young Democrats of America to take up a postion with Young Voter PAC. She always provided a grounded, intelligent point of view backed up with facts and figures.) Laura Schwartz, however, was terrific as she blasted through the noise and called Hanity and Levin on their tripe.
To start things off, Hannity said "Let me read from UK News... (reading) 'Accepted theories about man causing global warming are 'lies' claims a controversial new TV documentary. 'The Great Global Warming Swindleâ - backed by eminent scientists - is set to rock accepted consensus that climate change is being driven by humans.' (end reading) Now throughout this segment we're gonna out the names of prominent scientists that disagree with Al Gore's hysterical views and are skeptical of this. People who have devoted their entire lives to this issue."
Before going any farther let's look at Hannity's "source" for this quote. There is no publication called UK News. There is, however, a British online publication called LifeStyleExtra where one can find the exact quote read by Mr. Hannity last night. Oh, yes. It's under the sub-heading "UK News" and was published Sunday, March 4th, a few hours before Hannity's show aired.
LifeStyleExtra grew out of an internal program developed by Pathom Web Design, a company that describes itself as follows:
We've been around for 6 years. Actually, we've been around a lot longer, but as a company, Pathom has been producing websites for 6 years.
We believe in good communication, and integrity in business. Our work ethic is based on the principles layed out in the Christian Bible. Less the wiping out nations, more the honesty, putting others first, etc.
We're based in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, so if you visit us for a meeting, it's also a good excuse for a trip to the sea-side! While the majority of our clients are based in London, we also have long standing client relationships with companies from around the country.
Pathom is a small company by most standards. The documentary mentioned on the LSE website and touted by Hannit on his show was directed by Martin Durkin. As it turns out, Durkin, who describes himself as a Marxist, has been down this road before and was severely chastised in England for making a series of anti-environmentalist documentaries called "Against Nature" that were riddled with lies and deceptions. They were originally shown on Channel 4, which plans to carry Durkin's latest documentary. (You can read all about Durkin's shoddy reputation at GMWatch. GM refers to "genetic modification" of plants.)
Of course, Hannity - good stooge that he is - just read what was put in front of him and (one would hope) never bothered his vacant head about whether or not the source he was citing was credible.
Steve McMahon was a nice guy, but not any match for Hannity and Levin, although he did manage to get in a few good words about how Gore had purchased carbon offsets to make up for the private jet flying. Then McMahon shot himself in the foot when further pressed by Hannity.
HANNITY: "Is he a hypocrite?"
McMAHON: "Well, listen, Sean, I think everybody could do better, including Al Gore and I think he'd tell you that. And I don't think, frankly, that anybody, probably, life would be destroyed if they didn't get to fly around in a private jet. "
(N. B. Except if you're a former Vice-President who gets daily death threats!)
HANNITY: "I didn't ask you. I said 'Is he a hypocrite? If he gets on a private jet and uses 20 times the energy, why can't you say [indecipherable]?"
McMAHON: "Sean. Sean. Sean, can you be a sinner and think sin is wrong? I mean. Come on."
HANNITY: "Oh. I can buy sin offsets."
McMahon: "Seriously. I'm absolutely serious. And I think he i's buying carbon offsets and he's doing everything you can do to make his home climate neutral."
HANITY: "No, he's not."
LAURA SCHWARTZ: "Yes."
McMAHON: "I mean, look. All you can do is what you can do, Sean. And he's trying, I think, to do it."
HANNITY: "This is so weak."
Shortly into the somewhat heated discussion, Mark Levin launched into what he clearly thought was an ironclad "gotcha" against Al Gore, claiming that according to another online publication, The Tennessean, Al Gore has been lining his own pockets by buying carbon offsets from a company that he, Gore, is involved with.
To her undying credit, Laura Schwartz would not let either Levin or Hannity get away with this, caling it a lie repeatedly and shooting them down. It was nice to see her finally grab an argument and not let go rather than doing the "FOX News Contributor Two-Step" a la Kirsten Powers.
During this segment Hannity scrolled the names of the 82 "prominent scientists" who think global warming is a crock.
On the other side of the issue are 2500+ scientists who believe that global warming IS an issue.
That means 97% of the world's climateologists subscribe to global warming but FOX News and Sean Hannity have declared that the 3% who dissent have it right.
So, let's see. Earlier in the show Hannity dismissed a report by CBS' 60 Minutes on Iraq vets who disagree with the war by saying that one should not pay any attention to these soldiers because they represented such a small percentage of the military people stationed in Iraq.
He can't have it both ways.
Either he's got to agree that the dissenting soldiers interviewed on 60 Minutes soldiers deserve to be taken seriously or he's got to dismiss the opinion of the 3% of scientists who disagree with global warming.
Oops! Mr. Hannity's caught in a double-bind of his own making!
As for Generation Investment Management, it does not sell carbon offsets. It is an INVESTMENT firm that buys shares in companies, some of which do sell carbon offsets.