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FOX News Conducts McCarthyesque Witch Hunt Against Obama While Pretending Otherwise

Reported by Ellen - December 12, 2008 -

It was a night of smears without substance on FOX News last night as Sean Hannity and one guest after another implied or insinuated or suggested without any real evidence that somehow Barack Obama was guilty of something in the Blagojevich drama, even though nobody knew what it was. Nobody offered any real proof of anything. The reasoning included, “They're both from Chicago politics” to “They have many of the same associates” to the gut feelings of a few guests. Meanwhile, nearly all of them, Sean Hannity, included, disingenuously claimed to be giving Obama the benefit of the doubt. The smears carried over to "liberal" On The Record. With video.

Please forgive the lengthy post and video but I felt it was important to document as much of the hate-mongering as possible.

First, Hannity tried to implicate Obama via the debunked Rezko land deal smear.

SH: One of the issues that keeps coming up here as we talk about 'the Chicago way' – we've learned and discovered that Tony Rezko's playing a very key role – and we talked a lot about Tony prior to the election of Barack Obama. His name literally appears 170 times in the criminal complaint. And it's obvious that Tony Rezko played a big part in disclosing information about Blagojevich. Do you think that in any way it's gonna bring to a light a deal that we have talked about often on this program and that is... the Obamas and the Rezkos by adjacent properties the same day. Rezko pays full price, full asking price, the Obamas 300 grand below asking price. Not a short time thereafter, the Rezkos sell a portion of their land to the Obamas which renders their lot unbuildable. Do you think there's, do you think this may come into play, considering that, clearly, Rezko's talking a lot?

Next, Hannity used Blagojevich prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's words, "I should make clear the complaint makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever” to insinuate that Obama is guilty.

SH: The complaint DID NOT say Barack Obama was not involved. What the complaint (sic) actually said... is there's no allegation in the COMPLAINT.” The obvious implication was that there's an unstated allegation or one to come.

Then Hannity pretended to be on Obama's side. “There's no evidence, by the way – I'm not suggesting he was – and I hope and pray he wasn't,” Hannity quickly said.


Conservative columnist John Kass made a passing effort to present a pro-Obama side by noting that Obama had promised to keep Fitzgerald on so that he can finish the investigation beyond the tenure of the Bush administration. But then Kass immediately made a sleazy insinuation against Obama aide Rahm Emanuel. “The guy who was not at the Obama news conference today was the fellow who's usually at his left, immediately, Rahm Emanuel. I wonder why he wasn't there. Maybe he could have answered some questions about what was going on.”

Alan Colmes asked what Kass was suggesting.

“If I were Barack Obama,” Kass said, “it wouldn't take me, you know, several days to get an answer. All I'd do is turn and say 'Rahm, David (Axelrod), you know anything about this?' I'd ask them.” He was obviously suggesting that Obama had not asked or else was hiding the answer, once again without offering proof.

Kass also said, “The larger issue to me is that Obama is a creature of Chicago politics. The machine runs Chicago. Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel are Daly guys from the Daly group. I'm not saying he's corrupt. (Noooo, of course not!) What I'm saying is, there seems to be a willful attempt by some outside Chicago to sort of, kind of, not consider Obama is a Chicago political guy.”

Kass went on to say, “I'm not condemning him. This scandal that Blagojevich is involved in also involves Republicans. It's not just a Democratic thing.”

Funny how only the Democratic involvement gets discussed.

Then in his bullyboy sing-song, Hannity turned to the Democratic guest, Albert Wynn, a former Congressman. “Let's stay on this idea of, you know, what we call 'the Chicago Way.' Does any of this bother you?” Then Hannity started counting off on his bullyboy fingers the old routine about Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, and the “unholy relationship” with Tony Rezko.

Big props to Wynn for calling Hannity on “the appalling lack of evidence” and, earlier in the discussion, rightly noting that Hannity was using this issue to divert public attention from the important issues facing this country. But I wish Wynn had seized the moment to call them out on their larger tactics: using this issue and every other one they can find (the nomination of Holder is in the wings) to steadily erode and undermine Obama while feigning a stand on principle.

Hannity went on to cast himself and his fellow witch hunters as victims. “Nobody wants to even question – you can't even raise the question (about Obama).” Then he launched into another round of guilt by association attacks on Obama via. Rev. Wright, Ayers and Rezko.

So this seems like a good time to remind readers that Hannity has yet to explain his own shameful association - with a Neo-Naz/white supremacist. You might want to email him at hannity@foxnews.com, as I did earlier, to let him know that there are plenty of people who can see the glass house from which he throws stones.

The smearing continued on “liberal” Greta Van Susteren's On The Record. There, guest Bill Myers suggested that Obama had distanced himself from Blagojevich only because he was no longer useful to Obama's career. Myers said, “One thing that the president-elect has been very careful about, all the way up his chain from the south side to the state house and now in the White House, is to find a mentor, make the next step and then burn that bridge backward.”

Van Susteren, who so eagerly leapt to the defense of Sarah Palin over what she considered unfounded accusations, let that dig go by unremarked and without asking for proof. Myers never offered any.

Myers continued by saying that it was a problem for Obama that he and Blagojevich had “a lot of friends in common... I'm not sure that you're looking at a guy who's convinced that everybody on his staff stayed away from Blagojevich.”

Once again, Van Susteren neither asked for evidence nor even noted that none had been offered. Instead, she gave Myers' flimsy assertion further weight by adding, “Well, he's – one of the people who's key to his election to President-elect Obama is David Axelrod. And David Axelrod has a history with the governor.”

Which was a a new suggestion of guilt by association, this time from a lawyer who ought to know better.