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Moments After Report That Hillary Clinton Had No Role In Planted Question, Sean Hannity Repeatedly Said She Did

Reported by Ellen - November 10, 2007 -

On last night’s (11/9/07) Hannity & Colmes, Major Garrett reported in a FOX News Alert that Hillary Clinton’s staff had confirmed she had been asked at least one planted question at a campaign event. Garrett said he had been told by Clinton's staff that “Senator Clinton did not know which questioner she was calling on during the event” and “They say Senator Clinton didn’t know (the question) was planted.” Nevertheless, moments later, in his introduction to a discussion on the subject and then four more times over the next two segments, Sean Hannity said that it was Clinton doing the planting. With video.

Hannity started the discussion a little more than a minute after Garrett’s report. But Hannity either misunderstood, deliberately ignored or forgot what Garrett had just said. In his introductory question, Hannity said, “On top of the horrible two weeks (Hillary has) had, now that it’s been confirmed by FOX News that she is planting questions in an audience here, and that she couldn’t answer tough questions by Tim Russert and she’s sending Bill out to defend her and she’s changing her positions, this is now gonna keep going for at least another week, don’t you think?”

“Democratic strategist” and FOX News contributor Bob Beckel put in a mediocre and lackluster showing (again). He didn’t seem to notice that Hannity had just misrepresented FOX News’ own reporting. He didn’t even offer much in the way of an argument. He could have, for example, pointed out that just a few weeks ago, during the California wildfires, FEMA held a fake press conference in which their own staff had posed as journalists.

Instead, Beckel joined the pile-on. "That’s the problem with being the front runner… Once you start to stumble, things begin to multiply on you."

In fact, Clinton continues to lead in the polls.

Beckel acknowledged that it’s not unusual for candidates to have questions planted for them. But, he said, it’s unusual in Iowa. “It’s one of those things you just don’t need to add to the trouble.” Beckel continued, “Yeah she’s had a bad couple of weeks and I suspect she’s going to have a bad couple more.”

Hannity repeated the misrepresentation about the planted question. With hammy outrage he said, “She’s had one meltdown after another… Now we’re discovering she’s planting questions here.”

The other guest, Republican Michael Steele, didn’t correct Hannity either. Steele and Hannity were soon doing Bill Clinton imitations while Beckel laughed along.

Beckel went on to say that Bill Clinton’s advocacy on his wife’s behalf was a negative. “One of the problems with having him out there, essentially hitting out, is that it takes away from her own strength. I mean, one of the things that’s keeping Hillary Clinton going is that she’s seen as the most electable candidate. Now if that begins to erode, that’s where she runs into trouble.”

Once again, it was Alan Colmes who did the job the Democratic strategist should have done. “This is much ado about nothing!” Colmes exclaimed. He brought up President Bush’s “carefully controlled town hall meetings” and fake reporter and question-planter Jeff Gannon Guckert. Calling Hillary's planted questions “a mountain out of a molehill,” Colmes reiterated, “This is nothing! You got nothing!”

Steele made the laughable claim that Hillary’s situation is different than Bush’s because this is a “very different environment” for her than it was for Bush. Sure it is. Because FOX News didn’t care about those issues when it was the Bush camp doing the staging. There has not been one debate on Hannity & Colmes either devoted to Guckert or the fake FEMA presser. But Hillary was worth a FOX News Alert and the top story of the night.

Colmes continued with another point that Beckel should have offered: The indictment of Bernard Kerik, Rudy Giuliani’s former business partner, police commissioner and the man he recommended for Homeland Security chief.

“If I were you,” Colmes said to Steele, “I’d be more concerned that your leading candidate and someone who was his business partner was indicted today on a number of charges including selling his office, violating his duty to the people of New York, betraying the public trust, obstructing the IRS, filing false tax returns. I could go on and on. If I were you, I'd think that’s a little more of concern to you than a minor Hillary Clinton story that’s going to blow over in about 24 hours.”

Finally, Beckel woke up. “The most important appointment you can make as the mayor of a big city is the police commissioner. And he appointed a felon. Now that’s something he’s gotta own up to.”

But even then, Colmes had more to offer than Beckel. Colmes added, “He’s also got some problems about whether he knew, what he knew, when he knew it, saying he didn’t know, then it turns out that he was informed about some of Kerik’s problems. You’ve got some problems here that go way beyond what Hillary Clinton’s going through… Let’s talk about priorities.”

In the video below, Hannity twice misreported what's known about Clinton's role in the planted question. In the following segment (not shown here), he repeated the same distortion three more times.

Please join me in writing to Hannity and FOX News and asking for a correction.

You can email Sean Hannity at hannity@foxnews.com and FOX News at comments@foxnews.com. You can also contact Alan Colmes at colmes@foxnews.com.