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Hannity Spoonfeeds Palin GOP Talking Points On Troopergate And More

Reported by Ellen - September 19, 2008 -

In Part 2 of his lapdog interview with Sarah Palin on last night’s (9/18/08) Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity made a pretense of probing into some of the many controversies swirling around her: Troopergate, the Bridge to Nowhere, her interest in book banning and her connection to the fringe secessionist Alaskan Independence Party. But Hannity’s “questions” were posed in such a way as to steer Palin into a safe haven of polished spin, replete with distortions and contradictions all of which Hannity ate up as Truth. With video.

Hannity started by ridiculing, as he did several times during the interview, “the 30, mini-army of reporters and opp-research people in the Obama campaign.” Multi-millionaire Hannity, in all likelihood the biggest bully on television, always fashions himself and his causes as victims. He seems to feel it gives him license to tell falsehoods and distortions. Or in this case, propel someone else to do so.

“Did you ban books in the Alaska library? Did you try to ban books in the Alaska library?” Hannity asked.

“No,” Palin answered. “No banned books.”

Fact check: As Hannity almost surely knows, the story of Palin and banned books is murky. It is true that there is no official record of her trying to ban any books from the library. But Palin publicly expressed an interest in removing books and there have been two reports of her complaining about the inappropriateness of specific books on the shelves.

So Palin’s follow-up comment, “No desire to ban a book,” was, at the very least, questionable.

But not to Hannity. “False,” he pronounced.

Next, he told, rather than asked, “Never part of an effort to secede... from the Union.”

“No,” Palin answered definitively. “False. Always been a Republican. Not been a part of a party that has wanted to secede.”

Fact check: Palin may well be telling the truth here. But what she didn’t mention is that her husband was a member of the secession-minded Alaskan Independence Party for seven years, and that she has been supportive of their efforts.

After running through her claim to support science and evolution along with her justification for wearing a Pat Buchanan button because it was an “honor to see anyone of that stature come to our city,” Hannity crossed the Bridge to Nowhere.

“Did you originally support it and did you change your view on it?” he asked.

Palin ducked answering the question directly. “I killed the Bridge to Nowhere,” she said. Think Progress counted that as the 11th time she misrepresented her record on it. She conveniently omitted her original support for the project and bragged about “ruffl(ing) some feathers there.”

No follow-up from Hannity.

He moved on to Troopergate. “What is your version of the story?” he asked, without offering any other to balance it.

As TPMMuckraker points out, Palin has given contradictory explanations of why she fired Alaska public safety commisioner Walt Monegan (including saying that he quit) and what communication was made with him about firing her former brother-in-law, a state trooper. Furthermore, after pledging total co-operation with the bi-partisan investigation into whether or not Monegan was fired for refusing to fire the trooper, Palin is now refusing to testify on the grounds that the investigation represents “obsessive partisanship.” She claimed last night that she “asked the Personnel Board, that appropriate Board, to oversee such actions, to come investigate and that’s where it is now.”

Fact check: Once again, Palin left out some crucial information. Unlike the bi-partisan investigation already in place, the Personnel Board consists of three gubernatorial appointees. In other words, “reformer” Palin wants her own appointees investigating whether or not she engaged in official misconduct.

Predictably, Hannity ignored that hypocrisy. Instead, he went on to vilify the ex-brother-in-law in a transparent effort to persuade viewers that Palin was justified in pushing to have the guy fired regardless of the rules for firing him. “(Your ex-brother-in-law) admitted to tasering a 10 year old or an 11 year-old child,” Hannity helpfully prompted.

Palin took the hint. “He did. This trooper tasered my nephew,” she said somberly. “It’s all on the record... His threats against the First Family, the threat against my Dad. All that is in the record and if the opposition researchers are choosing to forget that side of the story? Well, that’s, that’s, they’re not doing their job.”

After the interview, there was analysis from Newt Gingrich.

So Palin was interviewed by a sympathetic commentator who helped promote, rather than challenge, her numerous distortions. The only guest analyst was similarly sympatico.

The only way you can say that FOX News did their job is if it is defined as hyping
Palin's candidacy.