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19 Days After Viciously Attacking Guest Who Called The Economy “Dire,” Hannity Now Accuses Democrats Of Ignoring Catastrophic Economic Problems

Reported by Ellen - September 30, 2008 -

Less than three weeks ago, Sean Hannity had a bullyboy temper tantrum when a guest dared to say that the American economy is in “dire straits.” But now that the Dow has lost nearly 800 points on the day Congress rejected a $700 billion bailout for the finance industry, Hannity launched a melodramatic attack against Democrats for failing to address the crisis earlier. With video.

“It's all based on a lie,” Hannity said accusingly a few weeks ago to progressive guest Robert Kuttner about his negative assesment of the economy. Then Hannity counted off on his fingers all the indicators (job growth, low interest rates, inflation and unemployment) that “proved” the economy was just fine, thank you.

But on last night's (9/30/08) Hannity & Colmes, Hannity was in a Hanctimonious lather at Democrats for not heeding the dire warnings of Republicans that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae needed to be fixed. “Why isn't this discussed in the mainstream media?” Hannity asked with a straight face.

Hannity was joined in his partisanship by FOX News who brought on Mike Huckabee, former Republican presidential candidate and now a McCain supporter and Republican Congressman Mike Pence for an unbalanced discussion. Pence serves on no finance committees. Huckabee's background is in religion. Their politics, it seems, was their only qualification as guests. No Democratic guest followed to give the “We report. You decide” network's audience a different perspective. Democratic host Alan Colmes got significantly less time to question and debate the guests.

“(The media doesn't) want to tell the truth,” Huckabee responded. Huckabee is a FOX News contributor so he ought to know the kind of reporting that goes on (or not) right there on the show.

Then, predictably, Huckabee went on to blame Democrats for the crisis in the first place. “It was the (Democratic-backed) Community Reinvestment Act that started this ball rolling down the hill,” Huckabee told a credulous Hannity. “When you start loaning money to people who can't buy it back, and then you regulate it and force banks to continue that ridiculously stupid regulatory practice, and predatory loan practice, the result, ultimately is going to catch up with you.”

As Aaron Pressman of Business Week noted, the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 required banks to make loans in low-income communities where they take deposits. Pressman has also written that the CRA has nothing to do with the crisis.

“Most subprime loans were made by firms that aren’t subject to the CRA... Not surprisingly given the higher degree of supervision, loans made under the CRA program were made in a more responsible way than other subprime loans. CRA loans carried lower rates than other subprime loans and were less likely to end up securitized into the mortgage-backed securities that have caused so many losses, according to a recent study by the law firm Traiger & Hinckley.”

Hannity launched into what I am sure is a distortion-filled account of the causes for the crisis that included one of his latest fave smears, calling former Fannie Mae CEO Franklin Raines, “economic advisor” to Barack Obama (this has been debunked). Hannity ended his saga with a triumphant, “We were warned about (the credit crisis) by the Republicans in 2004 and now the Democrats blame the Republicans!”

Hannity went on to make the dubious claim that the reason there was no oversight of Freddie and Fannie because “these Democratic fatcats were kicking back money to people like Chris Dodd and Barack Obama.”

In other words, Hannity was suggesting Barack Obama was conspiring with corrupt Wall Street financiers in order to push loans to low-income people. It was a trifecta for the bigoted Hannity: Blame the Democrats (and exonerate Republicans) for the financial crisis; Smear Barack Obama both for having caused the crisis and for showing corrupt favoritism for minorities.

I didn't compare the times with Huckabee alone but when Pence joined the discussion, Hannity got about 3:15 to Colmes' 2:10 (give or take a second or two). Hannity got almost another two minutes with Huckabee, leaving Colmes with about 28 seconds at the end.

Just another example of what passes for "fair and balanced" on FOX News.