FOX News Channel host Oliver North called Senator John Kerry "anti-American" and unabashedly admitted to questioning Kerry's patriotism. As a guest on ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, North asserted, "[W]e mistakenly refer to it [Kerry's position on the war in Iraq] in the media as anti-war. It's not anti-war; it's anti-American." When Hannity questioned whether North should be "questioning somebody's patriotism," North replied, "I will do that. I've done that."
From the September 16 edition of The Sean Hannity Show:
NORTH: Lookit, we mistakenly refer to it in the media as anti-war. It's not anti-war; it's anti-American. I mean, [Senator] John Kerry's whole history is one of anti-American positions, whether it's the Panama Canal or --
HANNITY: You really think he's anti-American though?
NORTH: Yes, it's anti-American. I -- I'm calling them like I see them.
HANNITY: Well, but I don't know if I'd use the word anti-American --
NORTH: Well, I would.
HANNITY: But just -- but, look, I think this is very dangerous and I rarely disagree with you. That if you start questioning somebody's patriotism or calling them un-American --
NORTH: I will do that. I've done that.
North's admission breaks with other conservatives in the media who have denied that Republicans have questioned Democrats' patriotism. Media Matters for America has documented this denial by The Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal.com editor James Taranto, radio host Rush Limbaugh, and CNN and PBS host Tucker Carlson.
But North is not the only conservative member of the media who has questioned Kerry's patriotism. MMFA has documented similar smears by Taranto, by right-wing pundit Ann Coulter, and by FrontPageMag.com editor-in-chief David Horowitz.
And while Hannity said he disagreed with North's characterization of Kerry as "un-American," Hannity has not always been so hesitant to impugn the patriotism of those whose political positions differ from his own. His most recent book, Deliver Us from Evil, is subtitled Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism. Hannity's tendency to question the patriotism of those with whom he disagrees has been noted by MMFA and extensively documented by the Center for American Progress:
Hannity to attorney Stanley Cohen: "Is it you hate this president or that you hate America?" [FOX News Channel, Hannity & Colmes, 4/30/03]
Hannity to Governor Bill Owens (R-CO): "Governor, why wouldn't anyone want to say the Pledge of Allegiance, unless they detested their own country or were ignorant of its greatness?" [FOX News Channel, Hannity & Colmes, 6/12/03]
Hannity to Bruce Shapiro, contributing editor at The Nation: "You could explain something about your magazine. [Journalist] Liza Featherstone writing about the 'Hate America' march, the [anti-war] march that took place over the weekend." [FOX News Channel, Hannity & Colmes, 1/22/03]
Hannity to criminal defense attorney Brian Neary: "'I hate America.' This is the extreme left. There is a portion of the left -- not everybody who's left -- that does hate this country and blame this country for the ills of the world." [FOX News Channel, Hannity & Colmes, 1/23/02]