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How Hannity Used California Wildfires For Political Gain: By Accusing Others Of Doing So

Reported by Ellen - October 26, 2007 -

Just as I predicted, Sean Hannity used the California wildfires for his partisan purposes in his usually crafty way: by accusing Democrats of doing it, then using his own accusation as cover for doing the same thing, himself. Rather than debate the issues like a grownup, Hannity threw a hissy fit (h/t chrish). Fortunately for truth-lovers, guest Ellis Henican was in fine fettle and exposed the shenanigans. With video.

The discussion on last night’s (10/25/07) Hannity & Colmes seemed to be a continuation of an aborted segment the night before in which Democratic strategist Michael Brown was paired with former mayor of San Diego and current talk show host Roger Hedgecock. I was very glad to see the feckless Brown replaced by Henican. The topic was the same accusation question: whether Democrats were exploiting the tragedy.

From FOXNews.com:

The most scrutiny went to Senator Barbara Boxer’s comments that the California National Guard is missing crucial equipment because it’s in Iraq. As I previously noted, the fact that FOX News chose to debate the politics instead of the questions raised by Boxer smacks of their own politicization. It also suggests that underneath his bullyboy bluster, Sean Hannity was too chicken to address the substance. Thus his hissy fit became a convenient weapon of avoidance.

“I want to deal with this issue, Roger. Cause this is too important here,” Hannity said in his Hanctimonious voice. “You know, the natural inclination of most Americans, they see that people’s lives are being uprooted.” He started counting off on his fingers. “They’re being evacuated. Their natural inclination is to help people. And then you have Harry Reid the first day: ‘Oh, one of the reasons these fires are burning, because of global warming.’ Barbara Boxer: We’re down 50% of our National Guard equipment because it’s in Iraq. There’s been enough Bush-bashing out there. What is this compulsion to push an agenda rather than the natural inclination one would have to help a fellow American in need?”

You tell us, Sean. Because who can forget your callous and self-serving remark, “I want to get some perspective here," to Shepard Smith after he despairingly reported that in the aftermath of Katrina there were “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds” of people stuck on a bridge in New Orleans without food, water or medical attention.

Hannity went on to claim that Barbara Boxer is “factually wrong.” His basis for claiming that was the National Guard's refutation the night before. Funny how the only guest with real authority on the subject also had a vested interest in contradicting Boxer.

But Henican got it. He told Hannity, “Slow down making these final judgments. The fact that the National Guard is defending itself is not proof that there’s no problem there.”

Hannity waved his papers around with both hands. “Why did Barbara Boxer have to rush to judgment and make this about Iraq?”

“Making analyses of why things went wrong is very important and you’d better do it early so don’t give these people a pass. Why are you giving them a pass?” Henican said. He added that the National Guard’s statements were “just like Brownie said ‘We’re doing great.’ …We will investigate these things and the facts will bear out. But seriously, don’t give them – you’re gonna be saying ‘Brownie did a heck of a job' again!"

Alan Colmes laughed heartily from the other side of the table.

Once again, I commend this article on BBC for its true fairness and balance. It's worth noting that they relied on several experts, with diverse points of view and interests, and that none of them were political pundits.