Hume, Hayes claimed "a significant segment" of liberals opposed military action after 9-11; polls show otherwise


Fox News managing editor Brit Hume and Weekly Standard staff writer Stephen F. Hayes falsely defended White House senior adviser Karl Rove's recent statement that "liberals saw the savagery of the 9-11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." On the June 26 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co's Fox News Sunday, Hume claimed that Rove's comment was factually "well within bounds," and "certainly was representative of a significant segment of what liberals in America felt in the aftermath of 9-11." On the June 24 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Hayes said liberals "were generally reluctant to use the U.S. military." In fact, polling conducted immediately after the 9-11 attacks showed that the overwhelming majority of self-identified liberals supported military action.

Mark Blumenthal, pollster and editor of the Mystery Pollster weblog, noted in a June 24 post that 86 percent of Democrats favored a military response to 9-11, according to a CBS/New York Times poll conducted two days after the attacks. Seventy percent of Democrats believed the nation to be in a state of war, and 80 percent favored military action against Afghanistan even if it meant civilian casualties, according to a Los Angeles Times pollPDF file also conducted two days afterward. Blumenthal later updated the post with polling conducted less than two weeks after the attacks that asked for ideological affiliation and showed similar results. According to Blumenthal, a CBS/New York Times pollPDF file conducted September 20-23, 2001, showed that 84 percent of self-identified "liberals" thought "the U.S. should take military action against whoever is responsible for the attacks," and 75 percent favored going to war with a country harboring those responsible for the attacks.

Hume previously echoed the White House spin on Rove's comments, claiming that Rove referred to "liberals," not "Democrats," though Rove mentioned by name Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean and Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL).

From the June 26 broadcast of Fox Broadcasting Co's Fox News Sunday:

HUME: Rove was talking specifically about and a petition drive that it mounted for, among other things, that there be no military response to 9-11. That petition attracted 700,000 signatures. Now, is that representative of the Democratic Party on that issue? No. But it certainly was representative of a significant segment of what liberals in America felt in the aftermath of 9-11. And it was -- what Karl Rove said specifically, factually was challengeable only on one point, and that is I don't remember anybody suggesting therapy. But broadly speaking, it was well within bounds.

From the June 24 edition of MSNBC's Hardball With Chris Matthews:

HAYES: I think Karl Rove rightly pointed out that, after 9-11, many liberals decided that the best pursuit of the war on terror -- some of them questioned whether it was a war on terror -- was through, if we were going to fight a war at all, was through the courts, was through international institutions. And they were generally reluctant to use the U.S. military, to use the strength of the U.S. military. Katrina [vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation] says he slandered many loyal Americans. I don`t see how that`s the case.

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Government, National Security & Foreign Policy
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