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"It Just Seems Fishy" Good Enough Reason For Hannity To Attack Obama Over Ford Bailout Ad

Reported by Ellen - September 29, 2011 -

As our Aunty Em and Media Matters have reported, Fox News has jumped at the opportunity to accuse the Obama administration of “bullying” Ford Motor Co. into removing a television ad boasting that it did not take bailout funds. Sean Hannity admitted there was no proof such a thing happened. His guest, one of the real-life Ford customers in the ad, knew no more. “It just seems fishy,” the guest said. That was reason enough for Hannity to mount a full-fledged attack – and even allow his guest to lecture the audience about the importance of Jesus when facing financial adversity. I kid you not. A further frenzy of fact-bare invective followed in the next segment from none other than Michelle Malkin.

The manufactured controversy seems to have started with a September 27 Fox Nation post taken from a Detroit News editorial in which writer Daniel Howes made the unsourced allegation, “Ford pulled the ad after individuals inside the White House questioned whether the copy was publicly denigrating the controversial bailout policy CEO Alan Mulally repeatedly supported in the dark days of late 2008, in early '09 and again when the ad flap arose.” In fact, Howes later wrote, “’This thing is highly charged,’ says an industry source familiar with the situation. Ford ‘never meant it to be an attack on the policy. There was not any pressure to take down the ad.’" But that was enough for Fox Nation to proclaim in its headline: "WH Pressures Ford to Pull Bailout Ad" and for Fox’s Charles Gasparino to liken the White House to Don Corleone on Fox & Friends. Neil Cavuto also ran with the allegation.

In his introduction to the first round of accusations segment, Hannity admitted there are “conflicting reports” as to why the ad was pulled and he acknowledged that both the White House and Ford have denied that pressure was applied or caused the ad to stop running.

“But not everyone is buying these explanations, including the customer who starred in that now out-of-commission ad,” Hannity continued, before introducing Ford customer and star of its erstwhile commercial, Chris McDaniel. Neither Hannity nor McDaniel claimed to have any evidence of pressure applied or acceded to. “Look, I guess it’s speculation, unless you have internal knowledge. Do you think this was pulled for the reasons that some have been writing about?” Hannity asked.

In reality, the only information McDaniel had indicated otherwise. He said he contacted Ford and asked them “fairly straightforward and bluntly” for the truth. McDaniel said Ford gave him the “reasonable explanation” that the ad had run its cycle. But without offering any further facts or information, McDaniel said, “It just seems fishy that these other stories are circling around at the same time. You know the old saying, ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.’”

In other words, just a suspicion is good enough for "fair and balanced" Fox News.

And then the interview got even more bizarre.

After a brief discussion about the sinister implications of Ford having removed the ad from its website, Hannity pressed McDaniel for his thoughts on how he was able to “dig down deep inside” and come back from his own financial adversity “rather than look to the government.”

At that point, McDaniel began his lecture about the need for Christ in this country. He began by telling us about the importance of “personal responsibility.” He held up a painting made by his cousin (complete with a plug for the gallery’s website) of a heart surrounded by crucifixes. “What we’re missing is our belief in Christ in that it’s a belief in ourselves," McDaniel began. "...My faith, Sean, saved me.” He went on to talk about how he had to pack his own lunch rather than eat out “and make it on my own without government interfering… All I ask is, isn’t it time that the government starts packing a lunch and taking a brown bag to work and stop spending so much money that we don’t have.”

“Incredibly inspiring story. You may want to think about running for president,” Hannity only half joked.

I don't mean to knock a man who seems to have suffered deep hardship and I'm glad for whatever strength and solace he found in his faith. But can you imagine how Hannity would have reacted if a Muslim made such thinly-based accusations against, say, the Bush administration and followed it up with a lecture about the Koran?

Video via Mediaite.




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