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Was Sean Hannity Too Lazy, Too Arrogant Or Too Chicken To Get His Facts Straight About Obama’s Ohio Speech?

Reported by Ellen - September 9, 2010 -

Instead of attacking President Obama’s speech about the economy in Parma, Ohio with any substance and actual, you know, facts, Sean Hannity cherry-picked two pieces of information (or had an assistant cherry-pick them for him) about the speech and then repeatedly distorted them in order to smear Obama. To make sure no potential smear went unsaid, Hannity’s sole guest for the discussion was Karl Rove. And as if all that were not unfair and imbalanced enough, Fox News producers thoughtfully provided a moving banner over Rove’s head saying, “The Obama Recession.”

Early in the segment last night (9/8/10), Hannity announced, “Not many people turned up to hear Obama. Now, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that event organizers were scrambling to fill seats just an hour before the speech and they asked students at the community college where the event took place to fill the empty seats at the last minute.”

In reality, the speech was an invitation-only event from the get-go. The paper reported that about 75 seats out of about 1,300 were left unfilled. In other words, about 5% of the invitees were no shows and about 95% of the seats were taken. That’s hardly “not many people” turning up. The paper did report that many students declined the last-minute invitations. But the fact that a bunch of students didn't drop whatever else they were doing to accept a sudden invitation to a speech that had nothing to do with their schoolwork is not an absolute indicator of Obama's popularity. More importantly, Hannity made it sound as though the general public had shunned Obama.

Then Hannity moved on to offer an even bigger distortion, this time of Obama’s words. Hannity said, “Now the president did have a rare moment of honesty during his speech and I hope voters around the country are watching this.” He played a clip of Obama saying, “Taxes are scheduled to go up substantially next year. For everybody.”

Hannity sneered, “I know the anointed one will make sure that that happens.”

But what Hannity didn’t tell his viewers is that Obama was talking about how Republicans scheduled that tax increase and how he wants to avoid it for the middle class. What Obama said was:

I’ll give you one final example of the differences between us and the Republicans, and that’s on the issue of tax cuts. Under the tax plan passed by the last administration, taxes are scheduled to go up substantially next year -- for everybody. By the way, this was by design. When they passed these tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, they didn’t want everybody to know what it would do to our deficit, so they pretended like they were going to end, even though now they say they don't.

Now, I believe we ought to make the tax cuts for the middle class permanent. (Applause.) For the middle class, permanent. These families are the ones who saw their wages and incomes flat-line over the last decade -– you deserve a break.

Did Hannity bother to read or view the speech or was he just too afraid to discuss what Obama had actually said? Obama took some good swipes at GOP Minority Leader John Boehner. Or was Hannity just too lazy and arrogant and relied on an incompetent assistant to give him a CliffsNotes version?

If Rove knew more than Hannity about the speech, he kept it to himself. Rove said he thought a lot of Democrats were gnashing their teeth and “crying themselves to sleep” as a result of the speech. He called Obama’s words about the tax increase “a refreshing bit of candor but if I were a Democrat, I would not be happy with my president.”

I hate to rain on Hannity and Rove’s Obama-bashing parade but I read about a zillion emails, blog posts, tweets, comments, etc. in the liberal blogosphere, many of which are not shy about criticizing Obama, and I have yet to read one complaint about that line in his speech. Maybe that’s because liberals actually read or saw more than that one sentence.

Perhaps out of ideas on how to attack Obama, Hannity repeated the two distortions. “A long way we’ve come in 20 short months where they have to now recruit a crowd ‘cause they can’t fill the room an hour before the speech.” And then, “(Obama) did say one thing… a rare moment of honesty, he said, ‘Everybody’s taxes are gonna go up.’ And I thought that was refreshing – obviously interspersed with all the class warfare.”

Hannity ought to have a moment of honesty himself and debate what Obama really said and discuss what actually happened.

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