It was disgusting enough that Sean Hannity could not forego hate mongering against President Obama even as a good chunk of the United States was being pounded by Hurricane Sandy. But it was beyond the pale that he did so by exploiting the family of a SEAL who died at Benghazi.
As a banner on the screen read, “BREAKING NEWS: GOV CUOMO’S OFFICE CONFIRMS THERE ARE AT LEAST 5 RELATED STORM DEATHS,” Hannity droned on about the latest “developments” in the GOP/Fox driven Benghazi witch hunt.
Then came Charles Woods, father of slain SEAL Tyrone Woods, and three of his other children. As much as I sympathize with the Woods family and their understandable antipathy toward how the Obama administration handled the Benghazi attacks, they’re hardly in a position to know much more than anyone else about what happened. Nevertheless, Fox has been trotting out this family on an almost daily basis – and using them to attack the Obama administration. That’s right. Using them. Whether or not the family minds being used this way is no excuse for an outfit that pretends to be a cable news network.
Hannity wasted little time during this segment getting down to bashing Obama.
As banners on the screen read, PORT AUTHORITY CLOSES NEWARK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT and LARGE PARTS OF MANHATTAN IN DARKNESS, WATERS RISING DOWNTOWN, Hannity showboated over Benghazi:
Why wouldn’t the family not tell you and your family here and the country the truth?
As if Hannity thought that any of his guests would have any real knowledge to impart on the subject.
Mr. Woods acknowledged he didn’t know but he took the hint and claimed that Hillary Clinton “had the nerve to lie to me.”
But Hillary Clinton wasn’t Hannity’s target. So he interrupted to say, “You blame the President. You blame the White House.”
Woods said he didn’t “want to point any fingers” but “obviously” someone or “many people in the White House watched the events unfolding and knew that if they gave the order to stand down, that my son would die. They watched my son die.” Woods, looking straight into the camera spoke as though he had been coached. Whoever it was who had watched his son die, he said, “You have the blood of my son, you have the blood of an American hero on your hands.”
His voice hushed with phony-baloney somberness, it’s a safe bet Hannity couldn’t have been more pleased. He took the hate mongering a step further. “Can you forgive – I don’t know if I would be able to… I would be so angry.” The thing is, the Woods family has said on Fox – in a widely-replayed clip – that they have forgiven. So Hannity surely knew the answer before he asked it. But he got extra vilify-Obama/exalt-the-accuser points by suggesting the family had forgiven the unforgiveable.
The teenaged daughters said they were acting the way Jesus would want them to and that Jesus was “pretty good with forgiving.” But rather than dwell on that inconvenient subject, Hannity interrupted to go back to Job One: vilifying the Obama administration. “But you also want answers. You want to know the truth… The main thing is, is (Tyrone) was told to stand down. Why would you say to stand down when he wanted to help? …(And) why were (others) denied help ‘cause your son died seven hours after he went in?”
Again, Hannity knew the father would not know the answer. But again, Woods had the “right” answer: “I can’t imagine anyone with any heart that would watch a battle rage for seven hours knowing that heroes were there that were going to be slaughtered if you didn’t have, didn’t have help sent in.” He went on to say that military help could have been sent. Coincidentally, this is the exact same meme that others on Fox have been pushing about Benghazi lately.
I think this criticism of the lack of response is second-guessing at its worst… We don’t know the facts but what we do know would suggest that the response was pretty good… I suggest we just put this to rest and stop all this speculation about what weapon we could have used, what group we could have used. We just don’t have the information to make that kind of judgment. We don’t even know what the leaders at the annex were saying to others above them in terms of what their needs are. We don’t even know if they were asking for something like (that).
Condoleezza Rice, another someone in a position to know, said the night before, also on Fox News:
When things are unfolding very, very quickly, it’s not always easy to know what is going on on the ground.
…There’s a big picture to be examined here but we don’t have all of the pieces and I think it’s easy to try and jump to conclusions about what might have happened here. It’s probably better to let the relevant bodies do their work.
But Hannity didn’t care about experts and he obviously doesn't care about waiting for any official investigation. Not with one week to go before his big opportunity to defeat President Obama at the polls! “I want the tapes released,” he now said. He was referring to surveillance videos that just a few nights ago he said he hoped to see before the election. But now, with a straight face, he told Woods, “I’m not trying to be political.”
And in case none of that was sickening enough, Woods stopped the interview from ending in order to tearfully call Hannity a hero for his Freedom Concert scholarships and paying (or trying to pay) for Tyrone Woods, Jr.’s college education. All out of the goodness of his heart, I’m sure.
I don't fault any of the Woods family for their opinions, beliefs or feelings. And if they want to go on Fox and accuse the White House of having blood on its hands, that's their prerogative, too. But any legitimate news organization would have put them in the broader context of known facts and expert opinion. But on a night when the Mayor of New York asked everyone to stay inside, Hannity and Fox thought that getting the Woods family on its airwaves to make unsubstantiated attacks on President Obama over an event that happened seven weeks ago matched the importance of the cataclysm going on right outside its studio.
Please consider tweeting Hannity at @SeanHannity and letting him know just what kind of hero (or not) he has demonstrated himself to be.