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Hannity Endorses Controversial Slavery Language As He Attacks Media For Criticizing Bachmann’s Marriage Pledge

Reported by Ellen - July 13, 2011 -

In the wake of a controversy over Michele Bachmann signing a pro-marriage pledge that also suggested African Americans had better family lives as slaves, Bachmann went to “the” place for GOP candidates in need of some Republican rehab and “the” place for conservatives in need of racial rehab: Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. Not only did Hannity and Fox News blame the “media assault” for the controversy that ensued after Bachmann signed the pledge but Hannity implicitly endorsed the sentiment in his introduction. He also accepted Bachmann’s false claim that the offensive language had been removed from the pledge by the time she signed it.

As a graphic reading “UNDER ATTACK” sat high on the screen near his head, Hannity announced that Whoopi Goldberg “slammed” Bachmann for “signing a statement acknowledging that African American children were more likely to grow up in a two-parent household before slavery was outlawed than they are in today’s America.”

Acknowledging? The statement is 100% false. As The Washington Post pointed out, U.S. slaves were forbidden from marrying and were often sold at auction and thus separated from their family members. It’s also extremely offensive, of course, and the group promoting the pledge has removed the language from the vow.

But Hannity tried to portray the criticism as “Bachmann bashing” as he lumped together various criticisms of her – including criticism from fellow GOP candidate Tim Pawlenty – in order to dismiss it as “go(ing) with the territory” of running for president.

Later, Hannity asked Bachmann “to respond and explain” (i.e. spin) signing the pledge. “That statement was not on the document that I signed,” Bachmann said. “Apparently, the group had a statement about that in another part that they've now since removed and gotten rid of and disavowed. I just want to make it absolutely clear: I abhor slavery. Slavery was a terrible part of our nation's history. It's good that we no longer have slavery, and under no circumstances would any child be better off growing up under slavery. But that isn't what I signed. That isn't what I believe. What I signed was a statement that affirms marriage as an important part of our nation and I agree with that.

There’s just one problem. According to Fox News’ own reporting, Bachmann signed the pledge before the language was removed.

A FoxNews.com article on Saturday, July 9 reported, “Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum signed the two-page document entitled ‘The Marriage Vow - A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage and Family,’ on Thursday…” That would be Thursday, July 7, two days before Fox reported, “Responding to a growing controversy, an Iowa-based conservative group has removed a passage in a marriage pact signed by two GOP presidential candidates that suggested black families were in better shape during slavery.” The Washington Post said, “Earlier Saturday (i.e. before the announcement the passage had been removed), Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart said that the Minnesota congresswoman had only endorsed the 14-point 'candidate vow,' which did not include the slavery passage. However, the entire document was only four pages, including two pages of footnotes, and the slavery section was the first bullet point within the preamble." Politico reported that Bachmann was the first person to sign the pledge – and noted that her aide said she had “no qualms” about it.

The Washington Post published the entire document – with the offending paragraph – on July 8.

Not surprisingly, Hannity did not challenge Bachmann’s phony “explanation.”



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