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Hannity Guests Don’t Jump To Defense Of ACORN Scamster O’Keefe

Reported by Ellen - January 30, 2010 -

Not surprisingly, Sean Hannity bent over backward to give ACORN scamster James O’Keefe, just arrested by the FBI for “plotting to tamper with the telephone system” at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office, a benefit of the doubt not given to ACORN. But his panel, which included a convicted felon who happens to be considering challenging Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy, did not go along with the rehab quite the way Hannity obviously hoped. With video.

Hannity said at the outset of the discussion about O'Keefe, “It didn’t smell right from the beginning the way liberals were going after him. There seems to be another side of the story.” And you can be sure that Hannity will play up that “other side” to the hilt when, as Hannity announced, O’Keefe appears on the show on Monday.

Hannity read O’Keefe’s recently released statement about his arrest in which he claimed that he was merely trying to investigate why constituents had been unable to get through to Landrieu’s office. According to TPMMuckraker, a newspaper article quoted Landrieu as saying, "Our lines have been jammed for weeks, and I apologize." Hannity quoted O’Keefe as saying, “In investigating the matter, we decided to visit Senator Landrieu’s district office, the people’s office, to ask the staff if their phones were working. On reflection, I could have used a different approach to the investigation.” If the FBI report is to be believed, O’Keefe did not just “ask” the staff if their phones were working. He and three conservative activist colleagues arrived at Landrieu's office, dressed as telephone employees, and attempted to “repair” the telephones.

Guest Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, is the former Mayor of Providence, RI. Hannity did not tell the “we report, you decide” network’s viewers that Cianci, an independent, also happens to be considering a challenge to Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy. Also not revealed was the fact that Cianci is a convicted felon who used an ashtray, a fireplace log and a lighted cigarette to assault a man Cianci suspected of having an affair with his estranged wife. That was before Cianci spent 4 ½ years in federal prison for running a criminal enterprise out of City Hall during his tenure as mayor.

The other two guests were conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt and Fox Business host Rebecca Diamond.

I believe it was Cianci laughing as Hannity read O’Keefe’s statement. “There’s a fine line between journalism and criminality.” Cianci said. “Confronting or invading an ACORN storefront is a little different from going into a building… that’s a federal building.” The furthest Cianci would go on O’Keefe’s behalf was to say, “I don’t think anyone has the facts.”

“That’s the key,” Hannity said. “Everyone’s jumped to conclusions here, I think unfairly… If they’re claiming that the phones aren’t working, does he have a right to go ask?” Surely Hannity knows that the evidence so far indicates that O’Keefe did not merely “go ask” if Landrieu’s phones were working.

Hewitt did not leap to O’Keefe’s defense, either. “I’m gonna wait and see what turns out here. O’Keefe may yet have everything dismissed… I do believe, however, that the left is going to use it to go after our friend, Andrew Breitbart, because (his sites) are very, very dangerous to the left because he deals in facts (well, except when Breitbart doesn’t).

Hannity asked if “maybe the mistake that they made” was representing themselves as repairmen. Yeah, and trying to mess with the Senator’s phones!

Fox Business’ Rebecca Diamond smacked everyone down. She started by disputing Cianci’s claim that there’s “a fine line” between journalism and criminality. She said, “No, there’s a huge line and a huge difference.” Noting that she had praised O’Keefe for his work on ACORN, she added, “However, I also took him to task for calling himself a journalist because… it’s unethical as a journalist to lie to you… Even the best investigative reporters should not lie (about) who they are or impersonate somebody… What I’m saying, I don’t agree with his tactics.”

Hannity, of course, immediately objected.

But none of the guests went so far as to defend O’Keefe.