Fox falsely labeled former Rep. Hayes as Democrat; ignored party reversal

››› ››› SAM GILL

On Hannity & Colmes, an onscreen caption falsely listed guest Jimmy Hayes -- a former U.S. representative from Louisiana -- as a Democrat. In fact, Hayes became a Republican in 1995 before leaving the House of Representatives. Co-host Sean Hannity brought on Hayes and former Rep. George Nethercutt, both Republicans, as the only two guests to discuss money Democrats have taken from clients or employers of disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, as well as to assess the "formula for success for the Democratic Party to win in 2006."

On the January 6 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, an onscreen caption falsely labeled guest Jimmy Hayes -- a former U.S. representative from Louisiana -- as a Democrat. In fact, Hayes became a Republican in 1995 before leaving the House of Representatives.

When co-host Sean Hannity introduced his two guests, Hayes and former Rep. George Nethercutt Jr. (R-WA), he failed to disclose the party affiliation of either, referring to them as "former Louisiana Congressman Jimmy Hayes" and "former Washington Congressman George Nethercutt," respectively. When Hayes began to comment, the onscreen caption falsely listed his party affiliation as "Jimmy Hayes (D)." There was no affiliation listed for Nethercutt.

Hayes served in the House of Representatives as a Democrat from January 1987 to January 1997. He changed his party affiliation to Republican on December 1, 1995, continuing to serve as a House Republican until he gave up his seat in 1996 to make an unsuccessful bid for the Senate as a Republican. He is now a Washington lobbyist. Nethercutt, also a Republican, served in the House of Representatives from January 1995 to January 2005 and, like Hayes, also works as a lobbyist.

Hannity was relying on these two guests, both Republicans, to assess the "formula for success for the Democratic Party to win in 2006." The show did not include any Democrats.

In addition, before asking his Republican guests whether the Democratic Party had the right "formula for success" in 2006, Hannity claimed that "a lot of Democrats took money either from him [former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff] directly or related to groups he was representing." Although some Democrats did receive contributions from Abramoff clients or employers, Media Matters for America has previously reported that only Republicans received money directly from him.

From the January 6 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: But who are the most likely candidates to find themselves on the business end of an indictment? Joining us now, former Louisiana Congressman Jimmy Hayes, and former Washington Congressman George Nethercutt is with us.

Thank you, guys, for being with us. You know, Jimmy, I look at the Democratic Party today. They got -- now this is all about Abramoff, even though a lot of Democrats took money either from him directly or related to the groups he was representing.

And I say, all right, they're going after the president on the NSA [warrantless surveillance] program, Abramoff, the [Hurricane] Katrina scandal. They try and attack [former House Majority Leader Tom] DeLay; and it's a very weak case. The Guantánamo scandal, the Abu Ghraib scandal, the Valerie Plame-Joe Wilson issue, and, of course, the president is a liar.

Is this the formula for success for the Democratic Party to win in 2006?

Posted In
Government, Ethics
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Progressives, Propaganda/Noise Machine, Abramoff Scandal
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