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Hannity’s America – “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics” – Lies and Statistics

Reported by Chrish - November 12, 2007 -

Note: Guest blogged by Priscilla

There is a quote about “lies, damned lies, and statistics,” variously attributed to Mark Twain, Benjamin Disraeli, and others, which pretty much summed up last night’s (November 11th) “Hannity’s America.” Hannity’s show could have been produced by the Republican National Committee as it was replete with right wing talking points that were certainly neither fair nor balanced.

Not surpisingly, Hannity wasted no time in smearing Hillary Clinton and brought in Frank Luntz whose presentation covered the “statistics” part of the above cited aphorism. Luntz presented graphs from focus groups who pressed buttons on a “dial device” to signal effectiveness of candidates’ statements during recent presidential debates. Not surprisingly Luntz’s “wired” conservative/moderate audience reacted strongly when Rudy Giuliani mocked Hillary Clinton at a Republican debate. There wasn’t much of a reaction to Giuliani's comments about immigration which, according to Luntz, showed that Republicans are upset about immigration and wanted more from him on that topic. (Comment: memo to the mayor – rev up that xenophobia!) Yet, a lack of audience reaction to Giuliani’s comments about abortion showed, according to Luntz, that abortion is really not that big a deal with Republicans.

The Luntz O Meter showed strong audience reaction when Mitt Romney said that Hillary Clinton never “ran anything” as he has done. He then showed strong liberal/moderate audience reaction to Hillary Clinton’s “demonizing” comments about health care after which he presented the strong reaction to Obama criticizing her comments about the release of Clinton documents while saying that government should be “open and accountable.” (Comment: get it – Clinton isn’t open and accountable.) Luntz added that the Clinton’s drinking some water after Obama’s comments indicated that she was “nervous.” (Comment: Luntz’s “data” is questionable as the interpretation of it is highly subjective. Was the lack of response on Rudy’s immigration comments reflective of political sentiment or just plain boredom? The debates covered much more than the topics selected; but the point was to select topics that could be used to discredit Hillary Clinton).

Hannity got cutesy when he presented Chapter10 of his ongoing smear of Hillary Clinton (titled the “Clinton Chapters”). Chapter 10 was about various Clinton pardons issued by Bill Clinton at the end of his presidency. He began his “chapter” by saying that “after 8 years of Bill Clinton, everyone was ready for a change.” (Comment: is that why Al Gore won the popular vote?)

In his most “Hanctimonious” voice he told us that we would learn about “the most atrocious of the Clinton pardons.” He cited Clinton’s pardon of his brother for a cocaine distribution charge. The next pardon, described by Hannity was for a drug dealer whom prosecutors described as a “kingpin.” (Comment: not so atrocious when one considers that President Bush has issued 113 pardons some of which were for drug dealing!) Not surprisingly the grand finale was the Marc Rich (former client of lawyer Scooter Libby) pardon. Hannity told us that Congress investigated this and neglected to tell us that nothing came of it. (Comment: funny how the right wing doesn’t like Democratic congressional investigations; but had no problem with this lengthy investigation.) Hannity then strayed from “truthiness” when he asserted that “the shady characters involved in so many of these Clinton chapters are still connected to everyone and everything.”

Comment: The “Swift boats” have left the docks and Sean Hannity is at the helm of the flagship. Attempting to smear Hillary Clinton with the Bill Clinton pardons is just par for the course for he who has no compunctions about inferring that Hillary Clinton was responsible for Vince Foster’s death. The right wing talking points that Hannity presents make a mockery of “fair and balanced” journalism. But then, Fox is not “fair and balanced” and college drop out Sean Hannity is not a journalist.

Note: Guest blogged by Priscilla