In an appearance on the "Free Speech" segment of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, Sean Hannity falsely suggested that Al Gore "reversed course" on Iraq -- in fact, Gore has consistently opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq -- and, despite Hannity's own history of politically divisive statements, attributed the country's "divided" state to Democrats.
On the October 23 broadcast of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, the "Free Speech" segment featured Fox News host Sean Hannity, who blamed Democrats who put "politics, and especially, the desire for power above all else" for the fact that, "just five short years after the worst attack on our homeland in American history," people are "very divided in this country." Hannity then falsely suggested that former Vice President Al Gore "reversed course" on Iraq to become one of "many leading Democrats ... now leading the anti-war effort."
In fact, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted , Gore has consistently opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Moreover, while Hannity attributed the country's "divided" state to "power-hungry politicians," Media Matters has documented numerous instances in the last three months in which Hannity has made politically divisive statements:
- On the October 18 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, Hannity implored Democratic voters to "stay home on Election Day," adding that, "your vote doesn't matter anyway." He also said that Democrats should not turn out to vote "for the sake of the nation" because their votes "won't change who occupies the White House" and Democratic "candidates have absolutely no idea how to win the war on terrorism."
- Just two days later, on the October 20 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Hannity asserted that "the media seems somewhat complicit" in creating "an institutionalized bias to sort of suppress voting and take away initiative from people" because of a purported lack of coverage of gaffes by Democrats.
- On the August 29 edition of his radio program, Hannity sought to encourage Republican voters and candidates to ensure a Republican victory in the November midterm elections by proclaiming that "there are things in life worth fighting and dying for, and one of 'em is making sure" that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) "doesn't become the speaker." Hannity then urged his listeners to "[i]gnore the polls, ignore the media, ignore the pundits. It's 70 days to go. The end is not here yet. We still can turn this thing around."
- On the August 22 edition of Hannity & Colmes, while previewing a discussion about Republican gains in a then-recent poll, Hannity asserted that "some people are saying" that a Democratic victory in the November elections would be a "victory for the terrorists."
- During the August 3 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity declared that while "Al Gore is unhinged" for warning of the threat posed by global warming, Pat Robertson, host of Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club and founder of the Christian Coalition of America, is "sane" despite having announced that the recent record-breaking heat "is making a convert out of me" on global warming.
From the October 23 broadcast of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric:
HANNITY: So here we are, just a few short weeks before an important midterm election, and as you can tell on the news, people are very divided in this country. Now, how can that be, just five short years after the worst attack on our homeland in American history? The answer, pure and simple: politics. And especially, the desire for power above all else. Look, here's a quick quiz to make my point: Who said the following just before the invasion of Iraq? Quote, "We need to disarm Saddam, a brutal, murderous dictator. His WMDs pose a real and grave threat to America. And we need to make certain we disarm him." You'd probably guess George W. Bush said that. In fact, that was Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. And today, leading Democrats, they've reversed course. They're now leading the anti-war effort. For example, former Vice President Al Gore once screamed at the top of his lungs, "George Bush betrayed his country." He proclaimed for the world to hear that our government is committing terrible abuses against the Arab people. Look, the security of our nation -- our citizens -- it is the defining issue of our time. It's not [former Rep.] Mark Foley [R-FL], it's not [former CIA operative] Valerie Plame, it's not the scandal of the day. We must win the battles in Iraq, Afghanistan, against terror. For once, it's time for these power-hungry politicians to stop the political dance for power and be your protector.