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Hannity Gushes Over Paladino’s “Confrontational Style” and “Refreshing Honesty”

Reported by Ellen - October 3, 2010 -

Is there any behavior from a Republican candidate Fox News pundits would find too extreme? I have to wonder after watching Mike Huckabee Thursday night and now Sean Hannity enthuse over New York’s GOP gubernatorial candidate, Carl Paladino, in the wake of his threatening to “take out” a reporter – a News Corp. colleague, Fred Dicker of the New York Post, no less. It was bad enough that neither Huckabee nor Hannity seemed interested, much less concerned, by any of Paladino’s racist emails or fringe positions, but both Fox News pundits specifically cited Paladino’s threat to Dicker as at least part of the reason for their admiration.

During at least two different appearances on Fox News Friday (10/1/10), neither Hannity nor Megyn Kelly asked Paladino about either the racist or pornographic emails he has sent, nor about his radical positions on abortion nor setting up welfare prison dorms. Hannity also gave Paladino a pass on his bizarrely inconsistent statements about the supposed marital infidelity of his Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo.

During his earlier appearance on America Live, Kelly was at least obviously skeptical as a nearly incoherent Paladino walked back his walk back from accusations Cuomo cheated on his now ex-wife 10 years ago. You may recall that the viral video of Paladino’s confrontation with the Post’s Dicker was partly over Paladino’s unsubstantiated accusations of Cuomo's infidelity. But after saying he’d provide proof of Cuomo’s extramarital affairs and then saying that’s not what he meant, Paladino changed his tune again and told Kelly and the America Live audience he would provide proof “at the appropriate time, OK?... What I believe and what is factual out there, we will, at the appropriate time, put out.” But by 9 PM that night, Paladino had a new mindset again, telling Hannity, “I am absolutely moving beyond it.”

Such erratic thinking didn’t bother Hannity any more than Paladino’s racist emails, his threats to “take out” a New York Post reporter or any of his other highly questionable behavior.

Hannity began the interview by offering Paladino a talking point on Cuomo. As though unaware of Paladino’s most recent thoughts on Cuomo’s marital fidelity, Hannity suggested said, “You’re saying… that was actually a remark (about Cuomo) you made (in response to) people asking you questions about your personal life. Can you explain it?”

Paladino ducked the question. “Sean, I’m just your regular guy. I lived the American dream. I’m a father and when somebody comes and confronts me… and starts demanding answers… and when I noticed it was Fred Dicker, I said, ‘What is this about?’”

Yeah, Paladino is a regular guy, alright. A regular guy whose idea of a joke is to email a video of dancing African tribesmen and call it “Obama Inauguration Rehearsal.” A regular guy who also likes to email pornography and bestiality videos. And, of course, a regular guy who threatens to “take out” a reporter.

Not that any of that seemed to be an issue for Hannity – a man with his own very questionable record on race. Hannity said, “I agree with you… There were a number of incidents… at your home where your 10-year-old daughter, where photographers were camped outside your house and taking pictures of your 10-year-old daughter… I think that’s justifiable anger. I really do.”

I’d love to see how Hannity reacts if a Democratic guest threatens him in any way the next time he deliberately bullies and berates someone.

Paladino said, “I’m totally fed up with the gutter stuff that Andrew Cuomo has thrown at us,” and “We’ve been talking issues since Day One.” But the only issues Paladino seemed interested in were more attacks on Cuomo.

Still, Hannity was enthusiastic. “You’ve got some interesting ideas!”
.
Hannity closed by wrongly saying that Paladino was only six points behind Cuomo. According to Real Clear Politics, Paladino was 15 points behind Cuomo on Friday.

Later, during the “Great American Panel” segment of his show, Hannity said about Paladino, “I love his confrontational style! He’s refreshingly honest. He’s got a great plan, economically, for New York.”

David Limbaugh and another conservative panelist helped excuse Paladino’s behavior by saying it’s to be expected he’d not be “as smooth” as polished politicians, given “the rise” of a “citizen legislature.”

Democratic panelist Penny Lee found nothing disturbing about the scenario of mainstream conservatives endorsing a behavior pattern of threats, pornography and racism. Either that or she deliberately pulled her punches in the name of comity - or a return invitation.

Hannity returned the favor by accusing her of sounding “like Michael Dukakis.”





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