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FNC And Hannity Ignore History Of Antagonism Toward Ayers In Order To Taint Latest Obama Pick As Having “Radical Connections”

Reported by Ellen - December 17, 2008 -

FOX News ignored its own reporting last night (12/16/08) in its eagerness to help Sean Hannity smear Barack Obama's latest cabinet pick, Arne Duncan, the man who would be Secretary of Education. Earlier in the day, a FOXNews.com headline painted a portrait of an educator who is well-respected and who had butted professional heads with former 60's radical William Ayers. But during Hannity & Colmes, both Hannity and whoever wrote Alan Colmes' scripted introduction falsely tried to paint Duncan as an Ayers associate. To top it off, Republican guest Sophia Nelson baselessly suggested that Duncan is embroiled in the Blagojevich corruption scandal. Hannity misrepresented Obama's not-very-close relationship with Blagojevich as one in which Obama was a "chief advisor." With video.

An article, with a byline by FOXNews.com, describes Duncan in its headlines as “praised as 'bona fide reformer' of Chicago education system.” The article runs through some of Duncan's achievements such as being “credited with boosting student test scores, raising the graduation rate by nearly 6 percent and creating 53 new public schools.” Then it notes, “But Duncan, 44, is not without controversy.” Part of the controversy referred to is – get this: Duncan has gone on the attack against William Ayers for “failing to embrace” a school reform program Duncan champions.

You'd think that would earn him a place in Hannity's Educator's Hall of Fame. Instead, FOX and Hannity speciously tried to connect Duncan to Ayers. The FOXNews.com video of the segment is called, "Cabinet Dud?"

Colmes introduced the discussion about Duncan by saying, “Reports say studies produced by Chicago's Annenberg Research Project helped shape the agenda for Arne Duncan. This is the same board on which Bill Ayers served.” Colmes ad libbed sarcastically, “Oh, my!”

Nelson was introduced as a Politico.com contributor, though I did not find her listed as either a reporter or a columnist. In fact, when I searched the site, I could only find two pieces by her: one in early July and the other from last March. Let me say that I've always liked Nelson. I suspect that her "job title" was really an effort by FOX to paint her as a neutral writer instead of as a partisan Republican which she is. That way, she fit into a panel with Republican John Kasich and Democrat Steve McMahon without obviously tipping off the audience of the "We report. You decide" network that the Democratic guest was outnumbered two to one. Another example of FNC's fairness and balance.

“I'm amazed that Obama didn't appoint Ayers as Secretary of Education,” Colmes deadpanned to Nelson. “Listening to conservatives, I was sure... Rev. Wright would be the faith-based guy... What happened?”

Nelson answered by immediately suggesting, without offering any grounds for doing so, that somehow Duncan is tainted by Blagojevich because he comes from Chicago. “I think the problem with this pick is, is that it's another insider – Chicago insider. And while I don't have a problem with people bringing folks from where they come from – Bush brought people from Texas – I do think with all that's going on right now, it probably doesn't serve Obama well to be picking folks in that insider circle.”

Nelson acknowledged that Duncan had received professional acclaim. Then she added, “But that's not the point. The point is, it's another insider and it's not a change pick. And I've been looking for change and I haven't seen the change yet.”

So that's grounds for implying that Duncan is embroiled in a corruption scandal? Shame on you, Nelson. I thought you were better than that.

Kasich attacked Duncan for not supporting school vouchers and started yelling, “This is what's gonna undo our financial system! This guy's not for the vouchers!”

Sean Hannity started in with his bullyboy sing-song. “I just want to know something,” he began disingenuously. B roll footage of Ayers conveniently appeared on the screen. “We now know that, we know that Obama helped run Blagojevich's gubernatorial race. He hangs out with Wright and Ayers and...”

Thank goodness McMahon stopped Hannity there, telling him that his words were “lunacy.” The truth is that Obama never “helped run” Blagojevich's campaign. Obama “helped advise” Blagojevich's campaign after he won the primary where Obama supported another candidate. Obama and Blagojevich have never been close.

But Hannity refused to allow his smearfest to be interrupted. Jabbing his bullyboy finger in the air and his voice rising, he Hanctimoniously demanded, “Why does Barack Obama end up hanging out with the most radical, corrupt people for decades and time and time again?” Hannity later further exaggereated Obama's role in the Blagojevich campaign by calling him one of Blagojevich's “chief advisors.”

Which proves that Neo-Nazi chum Hannity is not merely an unrepentant bigot but once, twice, three times a liar, to borrow a phrase that he once used to wrongly malign another black man.

If you'd like to email Hannity, you can reach him at hannity@foxnews.com. You can contact FOX News at yourcomments@foxnews.com.