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Hannity And Bachmann Use Cantor’s Inflammatory Attacks Against Democrats To Attack Democrats For Being Inflammatory

Reported by Ellen - March 26, 2010 -

Sean Hannity continued last night (3/25/10), what Megyn Kelly began with Bret Baier and Karl Rove earlier in the day, namely falling into lockstep with Republican Eric Cantor who used a bullet that made its way through his campaign office window as a pretext for attacking Democrats. Cantor used extremely inflammatory language that, for all intents and purposes, blamed Democrats for the event because of THEIR inflammatory language. By the time Hannity made it on the air, the partisanship had spun so that the threat against Cantor was being played down and now Democrats were being accused of using inflammatory language to reap partisan benefits from the attacks on themselves. Warning: You are about to enter the kind of spin zone that could send you reeling. With video.

As I posted yesterday, a bullet that was supposedly shot into Eric Cantor’s campaign office was covered with far greater interest and enthusiasm than the “fair and balanced” network showed in any of the attacks on Democrats. For example, while I saw numerous discussions about Cantor, I did not see a single one about the suspicious white powder sent to Rep. Anthony Weiner with a letter referring to the health care bill. Nor did I see any discussion about the numerous other acts of vandalism against Democrats around the country. I also never saw anyone address the fact that the bullet supposedly shot through Cantor’s campaign office window was determined by the police to have been shot in the air and then hit the window.

Personally, I don’t think it matters whether the shooter shot in the air near Cantor’s office or whether he or she intended a direct hit. It’s awful and frightening, even to someone who dislikes Cantor, as I do. But, just as America Live did – or more precisely did not do – Hannity and Fox used the incident not to quell tempers and calm the waters but to roil them and inflame their viewers further. And that just so happens to have been exactly what Cantor did.

As I previously posted, instead of calling for calm, sanity, etc., Cantor took to the airwaves and did his best to ratchet up antagonism. Hannity played a clip of Cantor attacking Democrats by saying, “It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain. To use such threats as political weapons is reprehensible. Enough is enough. It has to stop.”

To “balance” out Cantor, the “fair and balanced” network hosted two Republicans the network surely knew would turn up the flames, not tamp them down: Michele Bachmann and Tom Price. These two were recently reported to have wrongly concluded that the person who yelled out “Babykiller!” at Rep. Bart Stupak was not a Republican lawmaker. Price had refused to say whether or not it was inappropriate.

Sure enough, Bachmann and Price had the same views as Cantor and Hannity. Bachmann began by suggesting that Democrats were liars because she had not seen any threats coming from the tea party protest over the weekend. She had not seen Neugebauer call out “babykiller,” either but that doesn’t mean the words were not said by a Republican colleague. Bachmann added that she agreed “completely” with Eric Cantor “and it is reprehensible to create this dustup for political gain.”

Hannity made a pretense of condemning threats. But he also shrugged them off as no big deal two sentences later. “Any threat against any elected official is a threat against we, the people. It’s something that we all know in our heart. But the issue is, anybody that’s been in the public eye, including myself and I’m sure both of you, in the course of your careers, have received some kind of threat.” (Don’t forget, Hannity shrugged off waterboarding, too - he dismissed it as "dunking" - but he has yet to follow through on his promise to undergo it for charity.)

Price went through similar motions. But he followed his condemnations by attacking Democrats more explicitly. “Violence in the public place has no place whatsoever. But the leadership in the public party violated all the rules about how you handle those threats. And that is that you don’t blow them up. You don’t magnify them. You don’t politicize them. And that’s exactly what they’ve done… I agree with Rep. Cantor. It’s reckless and it’s irresponsible.”

Meanwhile, Fox News producers did their part by posting a banner on the screen that read, “DEMS & LEFT WING MEDIA BLAME GOP FOR THEATS OF VIOLENCE.”

Hannity moved in for a bigger strike. “I think this is an attempt… to smear an entire movement, the tea party movement.”

“Of course that’s what it is,” Bachmann said. She said that she has received threats but that she had decided not to disclose them. “We just don’t publicize that.” Well, except for the one her party’s Whip had just publicized. Oddly, it was a point nobody on the panel seemed to think of.

More importantly, there’s a difference between some nutcase threatening her and the kind of mob antagonism that occurred on Sunday, a mob that just happened to be aligned with the GOP.

Lastly, there’s something really, really disturbing about a Congresswoman attacking her own colleagues who are being threatened, no matter what she thinks of them or how they may have handled it.

Price continued the inflammatory rhetoric. “This is the nail in the coffin for health care in the United States,” he said, in reference to the final passage of the bill. He reiterated the old “government takeover” talking points that anyone watching Fox has heard ad nauseum for a year or more.

Hannity went on to distort, in order to inflame, the findings of Fox News’ own recent poll by saying, “79% of Americans believe our economy is on the brink of collapse.” Uh, not quite. What the poll actually found is that 79% of Americans think it’s possible our economy could collapse. The actual poll question (click on the pdf link to find it) read, “Do you think it’s possible the nation’s economy could collapse or is the nation’s economy so big and strong that it could never collapse?”

Then, Hannity went on to add his own little inflammatory flourish: “Fidel Castro supports the bill so I’m sure that’s a ringing endorsement for Barack Obama.”

And David Duke’s against it, so maybe that’s a ringing endorsement for Hannity.

You can contact the show at hannity@foxnews.com.