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Hannity Smears Breast Cancer Victim In Order To Attack Obama

Reported by Ellen - February 13, 2010 -

Even if Sean Hannity’s accusations were true, that President Barack Obama misrepresented the facts when he eulogized supporter Melanie Shouse and said that she did not have health insurance and could not afford it, that would not make it any more excusable for Hannity to use Shouse to attack Obama and smear her at the same time. What skin off Hannity’s back or off his anti-Obama crusade would it have cost to just let something like that go? None. Instead, Hannity made his own ugly behavior even more hideous as he twisted the facts of Shouse’s sad story to make her look bad in an effort to make Obama look worse. With video.

On Thursday (2/11/10), Hannity played a clip of Obama saying, “I got a note today from one of my staff… from a woman in St. Louis who had been part of our campaign… who had passed away from breast cancer. She didn’t have insurance. She couldn’t afford it and she insisted she’s going to be buried in an Obama tee shirt.” A banner on the screen read, “Obama misrepresents situation of woman he cited in speech” as Obama spoke.

“Well, not exactly,” Hannity sneered. He proceeded to paint Shouse as some kind of irresponsible welfare queen undeserving of the sympathy or attention Obama gave her. “As it turns out (Shouse) DID have insurance. Now, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch describes how Shouse went into debt in order to put $30,000 into her business. Now she also skimped on health care. She opted out of routine exams and chose a catastrophic policy with a $5,000 deductible.” Then, as if that weren’t enough smearing, he played a clip of Shouse (whom he now called “Shrouse”) saying, “I put off and put off and put off getting preventive services and medical screenings and treatments and eventually I was forced to go in after several years of realizing that there was something wrong and I had delayed treatment for several years and eventually, in October of 2005… I was diagnosed with breast cancer that had already advanced to Stage 4. I am fortunate that I have the great public health programs, Medicare and Medicaid which are paying for a portion of that chemotherapy because otherwise, I don’t know exactly what I would do.”

What Hannity didn’t bother to tell the “we report, you decide” network’s audience – and the information was right there in the same news outlet Hannity had just quoted – was that Shouse put the $30,000 into her business before she got sick. After putting the money into her business, she said she could not afford an expensive health insurance policy and had a catastrophic insurance policy, only. Shouse also said that the reason she had put off going to the doctor was because she could not afford it. Furthermore, Shouse’s insurance company had refused to pay for an expensive treatment she thought helped her. In other words, the insurance Shouse had did not cover the medical care she needed. According to U.S. News & World Report Shouse was one of more than 25 million underinsured Americans.

While Hannity has declared his love for our for-profit system of health care, and he puts on a show of supporting small business owners, he did not have the guts (and, as far as I know, never has) to explore the experiences of regular people like Shouse who don’t have his millions or his (undoubtedly) Cadillac plan and who have to make hard choices with limited financial resources. Instead, Hannity took the disgusting (not to mention elitist) tack of demonizing a dead woman for the sake of his own self-serving purposes.

Then, to add insult to injury, Hannity closed the segment – and attempted to camouflage his monstrous brand of partisanship – by feigning sympathy. “Now Shouse’s situation is quite unfortunate as is her death at 41. That’s a tragedy.”

Then it was time to use that tragedy to attack Obama again. “But the fact that the president presented about her case, in this situation, that is simply wrong.”

I believe that Hannity owes the family and friends of Melanie Shouse an apology If you agree with me, please email the show at Hannity@foxnews.com.