Hannity and Melanie Morgan cited "double standard" in media's attention on Foley while ignoring Cindy Sheehan's alleged participation in porn chat roomsOctober 18, 2006 12:31 PM EDT ››› ROB MORLINO
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On the October 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity joined Melanie Morgan and Catherine Moy, co-authors of the just-released American Mourning: The Intimate Story of Two Families Joined by War, Torn by Beliefs (WND Books, October 2006), in comparing anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan's purported interest in online pornography to sexually explicit instant messages former Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) allegedly sent to underage congressional pages, asserting that the far greater attention and criticism focused on Foley's alleged conduct represents a "double standard."
American Mourning is purportedly a biography of two families who lost soldiers in Iraq, including the family of Army Spc. Casey Sheehan. In the book, Morgan and Moy quote Cherie Quartarolo, the sister of Sheehan's former husband Pat, claiming that, following Casey's death in Iraq in April 2004, "Cindy had become addicted to online chat rooms of a pornographic nature. She had many men communicating with her. She eventually had physical rendezvous as well." The book offers no other information substantiating Quartarolo's claim but later refers to Sheehan's "pornography addictions and her dalliances" and asserts that Sheehan had exchanged "hundreds of explicit e-mails and instant messages" with Lew Rockwell (pp. 170-172).
On Hannity & Colmes, Morgan accused the media of being "a willing and complicit factor" in the story of Cindy Sheehan, who became an anti-war activist after her son was killed in Iraq. Co-host Alan Colmes then objected: "I find that going after Cindy Sheehan the way you are is despicable. This is a woman who lost her son. Everybody grieves differently. In your book, for example, you talk about Cindy Sheehan having an affair with Lew Rockwell. You say she's addicted to online porn, which has nothing to do with anything, as far as I'm concerned." In response, Moy asserted that "this just fills out a little bit of the story. It had to be in there. I mean, we talk about instant messages with other people now, don't we? And I know you talked about it, because I've heard you." Colmes later asked: "Is Cindy Sheehan a policymaker? Is she an elected representative?" Morgan replied, "She thinks she is."
Moy further argued that Sheehan's purported interest in online pornography is fair game because Sheehan "made herself ... a public person." Hannity, on the other hand, wondered whether the differing treatment of Sheehan and Foley represented a "double standard," asking: "Does it only matter if Republicans have Internet ... inappropriate messages? Is that the story?" Morgan replied: "There's a double standard and hypocrisy at work, and we are not going to let it stand."
From the October 16 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
MORGAN: The media was a willing and complicit factor in this whole story. Cindy Sheehan was not just an ordinary, suburban, Vacaville, California, mom who suddenly planted herself -- and woke up one morning, and said, "I've got to do something about the war in Iraq," and went to Crawford to ask the president: "What noble cause did my son die for?" What happened was, she was financially assisted -- hundreds and thousands of dollars were spent to help her to create a media message, which she, in fact, began unspooling every night on the 6 o'clock news, and --
COLMES: Let me just say something. I find that going after Cindy Sheehan the way you are is despicable. This is a woman who lost her son. Everybody grieves differently. In your book, for example, you talk about Cindy Sheehan having an affair with Lew Rockwell. You say she's addicted to online porn, which has nothing to do with anything, as far as I'm concerned. You tie her to David Duke and the KKK and [Venezuelan President] Hugo Chavez. And I really think it's disgusting.
MORGAN: Well -- well --
COLMES: I really think it's disgusting what you're doing, in terms of talking about her being online in chat rooms, doing porn stuff. What does it have to do with anything?
MORGAN: Let me answer that question for you. And I'm happy to answer it, Alan, because she introduced the subject of her personal life herself. She created a biography for herself that was largely untrue and uncorrected by the media. We were doing a biography on Casey Sheehan and Justin Johnson, the two boys who were best friends. The families were also part of the story. And we also dealt specifically with the Johnson family, who also had addiction that became part of their reaction, their extreme reaction to their grieving, and we were sorry to have to report this kind of --
COLMES: You didn't have to report anything.
MORGAN: Oh, of course we did --
COLMES: What does it have to do with anything?
MORGAN: Why would we be dishonest in doing a biography?
COLMES: First of all, I think it's a smear job to talk about her online, having affairs, doing online porn, as if that has anything to do with anything. This is a woman -- everybody goes through a grieving process differently.
COLMES: And the Johnson family clearly did it differently than the Sheehan family.
MOY: Alan, the truth is truth. It's not conservative; it's not liberal; it's the truth. Some people can't handle it. In this case, this just fills out a little bit of the story. It had to be in there. I mean, we talk about instant messages with other people now, don't we? And I know you talked about it, because I've heard you.
COLMES: Well, we've talked about it because it was a news story.
MOY: And she's a public person, too, and it is a news story.
COLMES: Is Cindy Sheehan a policymaker? Is she an elected representative?
MORGAN: She thinks she is.
MOY: She affects policy.
COLMES: Is Cindy Sheehan somebody that the American people have chosen to represent them in any legislature? She's an individual citizen who's chosen to speak out based on her grief.
MORGAN: We give her kudos for her brave voice. We do. And just like I have been very vocal on the other side of the issue, we don't have a problem with that. We have a problem when the story is not told accurately. There has been a travesty in the media.
HANNITY: We've got to run. Does it only matter if Republicans have Internet --
MOY: Messages that are --
HANNITY: -- inappropriate messages? Is that the story?
COLMES: Mark Foley was an elected representative protected by the leadership of the Congress.
HANNITY: Hang on a second -- is that it? Is that the story?
MOY: She's a public official, and she made herself be one. She's a public person now, not an official. You're right.
HANNITY: Double standard?
MORGAN: There's a double standard and hypocrisy at work, and we are not going to let it stand.
HANNITY: Good to see you both.
MOY: Right. Good to see you.
HANNITY: Thank you for being with us.
HANNITY: Appreciate your time.