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Hannity Segment Smears Obama India Trip With False Costs, Suggesting He’s Too Muslim Friendly, Un-American And Other Falsehoods

Reported by Ellen - November 5, 2010 -

Sean Hannity was so full of distortions and misrepresentations about President Obama’s trip to India, it was hard to keep track of them all. But for you, dear readers, I will try. To make matters worse, supposedly liberal Juan Williams helped out.

In his introduction, Hannity said,

The president was dealt a serious blow on Tuesday (Election Day) and so, well, he decided to pay a visit to his original fan base, the international community.

Truth: This trip was planned months ago.

Details about the outrageous accommodations being made for the president are beginning to emerge, including this: All of the coconuts hanging from the palm trees around Gandhi’s memorial house were removed from the trees in advance of the president’s visit, presumably so they wouldn’t fall on his head.

This was a slick move on Hannity’s part. It reinforced the bogus right-wing meme that Obama was spending lavishly on his trip without specifically stating it. Hannity also managed to overlook that the rumors had been soundly debunked by the Secret Service, FactCheck.org and the White House, and more.

Now from India, the president heads to Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country and a hub of international terrorism. Now the president extended a hand of friendship to the Muslim world in his Cairo speech last year. But according to the AP, his charm has worn off… And now the president of Indonesia is calling into question the White House’s claim that while in Indonesia, the president would visit the southeast Asia’s largest mosque.

Another slick move by Hannity: reinforce the right wing “He’s a Muslim” meme by suggestion and also suggest that even they have rejected him.

Then it was time for the panel. It consisted of Kate Obenshain, former aide to George “Macaca” Allen and Juan “I get nervous when I see Muslims in Muslim garb on airplanes” Williams.

Williams wasted no time adding to the right wing “extravagance” meme. He immediately made a joke about the coconuts and said, “That’s pretty ridiculous right there.”

Hannity went on to add that India had reported the cost as “upwards of $200 million a day.” Hannity noted that the White House said the cost “has no basis in reality” but then immediately called that into question by “asking” why reporters couldn’t get “a straight answer” from the White House.

Presumably, Hannity was asking why the White House would not say how much the trip is costing. But if he really wanted to know about it, he could have easily found out that due to security concerns, the Secret Service does not comment on the costs, personnel, or equipment involved in presidential trips.

Had Williams bothered to do any research, he could have obtained the same information. Instead, he furthered the framing by saying, “I think they’re embarrassed about it… It’s especially embarrassing given the economic situation here in this country... The idea that it costs so much, that doesn’t run with their spin.”

Obenshain, of course jumped in and expanded the pile on. “This is a perfect illustration of what the voters expressed such disgust with on Tuesday, just this massive excess, something like 3,000 people.”

The 3,000 figure is dubious, too. But Williams didn’t dispute it.

Hannity went on to say, “We can’t get any confirmation, that’s the point.”

Williams finally seemed to muster up the liberal spirit to argue that Obenshain was just “piling on” to Obama because “every world leader has to travel. It’s important for America” and that “any president would have the same entourage.” But then Williams took a gratuitous swipe at Obama by saying “the more interesting thing” is that Obama is losing popularity in the Muslim world.

As the segment wound down, Obenshain began screeching about Obama’s insensitivity. She actually had the nerve to say, “I’m trying to help him out, Juan.”

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