Hannity again mischaracterized Obama's "air-raiding villages" statement, praised Palin for bringing up comment

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity praised Gov. Sarah Palin for citing Sen. Barack Obama's remark that more coalition forces are needed in Afghanistan "so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there." Hannity did not note that Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently offered Afghans "sincere condolences and personal regrets for the recent loss of innocent life as a result of coalition airstrikes" and that news outlets have repeatedly reported that U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan have resulted in civilian casualties.

On the October 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity repeatedly praised Gov. Sarah Palin for citing during the vice-presidential debate Sen. Barack Obama's August 13, 2007, remark that "[w]e've got to get the job done there [in Afghanistan] and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there." However, Hannity -- who has repeatedly criticized Obama's remark, including during an October 1 interview with Palin -- did not note that Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently apologized for deaths resulting from coalition airstrikes, saying in a September 17 statement: "I offer all Afghans my sincere condolences and personal regrets for the recent loss of innocent life as a result of coalition airstrikes. While no military has ever done more to prevent civilian casualties, it is clear that we have to work even harder. I have asked for a detailed briefing this afternoon about our close air support as well as our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations." Gates' comments were noted in an Associated Press report published, among other places, on FoxNews.com.

Further, Hannity again did not note that U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan and accounts of resulting civilian casualties have been widely reported in the media and have reportedly provoked criticism from Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a British commander stationed there. Additionally, the Associated Press reported in a "Fact Check" the day after Obama's remark: "Western forces have been killing [Afghan] civilians at a faster rate than the insurgents."

Moreover, during the show, Hannity mischaracterized Obama's remark, falsely claiming that Obama "said he would air-raid villages and kill civilians." Hannity said to former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani: "I think there were devastating moments in this debate for Joe Biden. The white flag of surrender. 'You said, Senator, that Barack Obama voting against the troops would cost lives. You even wanted to run with him.' Barack Obama said he'd air-raid villages and kill civilians. She was on message every point." As Media Matters for America has documented, Hannity has previously falsely suggested that Obama "attack[ed] our troops as murderers," claimed that Obama's comments were "not true," and otherwise repeatedly attacked Obama's remark (here, here, here, and here) without noting the widely reported U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan.

During the October 2 debate, Palin said: "Now, Barack Obama had said that all we're doing in Afghanistan is air-raiding villages and killing civilians. And such a reckless, reckless comment and untrue comment, again, hurts our cause."

On the October 1 broadcast of his radio show, Hannity said to Palin:

HANNITY: Let me ask you this: And I, when we spoke in our interview on Fox News Channel, we were talking about your relationship, and your son, he was going to fight in Iraq. Everybody knows that Senator McCain knows the reality of war first hand, and his son also has fought in Iraq. One of the issues that has come up is now the issue of national security, and I am sure its going to be a big part of the debate tomorrow night. How do you respond to Senator Obama, who has said that he would "cut tens of billions of dollars in defense spending," that Iran is a tiny country and not a serious threat, and Senator Obama, who once accused our troops of air raiding villages and killing civilians?

Palin began her response to Hannity by saying: "Well, it's beyond naïve, it's downright dangerous to consider that those have been Obama's positions and that now that the defense of those positions of course he attempts to spin out of those statements that he's already made."

On the October 2 Hannity & Colmes, Hannity also said to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL): "Do you think that's fair to say that about our brave men and women while they're fighting a war, that they're air raiding villages and killing civilians?" In a later segment during the post-debate show, Hannity said to Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO): "I also thought, 'Finally someone brought up' -- I have been saying this for, finally she brought it up tonight, what he said about our troops, which is unforgivable, that they're air-raiding villages and killing civilians. I just got into this with the Congresswoman. That is unforgivable, Senator Obama. And he ought to apologize. And he ought to be called by the media to apologize for that."

From the October 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: I think there were devastating moments in this debate for Joe Biden. The white flag of surrender. "You said, Senator, that Barack Obama voting against the troops would cost lives. You even wanted to run with him." Barack Obama said he'd air-raid villages and kill civilians. She was on message every point. It was --

GIULIANI: One of the very best debate performances I've ever seen by anyone. And only the liberal media could deny her this victory.

[...]

HANNITY: But let me ask you this. Let me tell you -- the most effective moments were on foreign policy when Joe Biden himself had said that the Presidency doesn't lend itself to on the job training, Governor Palin brought that up. "You said that if you voted against funding the troops," Joe Biden said about Barack Obama, "it would cost lives." Barack Obama said about our troops in Afghanistan, "They're air raiding villages and killing civilians," and Governor Palin brought that up tonight. Do you think that's fair to say that about our brave men and women while they're fighting a war, that they're air-raiding villages and killing civilians?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We're talking about someone who has been to Canada and Mexico, and has never met a world leader before. But --

HANNITY: I'm going to ask you again, do you think that's right for your candidate to accuse the American troops of air-raiding villages and killing civilians.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I think what Joe Biden talked about tonight was the fact that we really need to be investing --

HANNITY: You can't answer a question; you're just like Joe Biden.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No. I will answer the questions that are relevant to this Presidential campaign.

HANNITY: He wants to be the commander-in-chief.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We need to make sure that we move our troops, not from Iraq, but that we move them into Afghanistan where the war on terror really exists.

HANNITY: You don't think it's relavant that you're commander-in-chief is accusing our troops of air-raiding villages and killing civilians.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I don't think that's --

HANNITY: You don't think that's relevant?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I don't think he's done that.

HANNITY: I'll give you ten thousand dollars if he didn't for your campaign.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: OK. I'll take your ten thousand dollars.

HANNITY: And you give me a thousand dollars if I don't.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And I'll make sure that we have Joe Biden and Barack Obama leading this country --

HANNITY: Barack Obama said our troops were air raiding villages and killing civilians.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: -- move the troops to Afghanistan where the war on terror exists today. That's what Joe Biden was making the case for.

[...]

HANNITY: Good to see you. The white flag of surrender, Obama air raiding villages and killing civilians, that in spite of what you said would turn unflinchingly and look right at him, and say, "In spite of your warning to him, he still voted to cut off funding for the troops." I thought it was a masterful performance.

LIEBERMAN: She was brilliant tonight -- all the more impressive because there were so many people, who either had doubts about her, or were trying to create doubts. I mean, she hit it out of the ballpark.

[...]

HANNITY: She even said at one time, talking about meeting with preconditions with rogue dictators, "It's beyond naïve. It's beyond judgment. It's outright dangerous." And when she brought up the line about air-raiding villages and killing civilians and using Senator Obama in his own words, and even saying, "Senator Biden, even you said this about Senator Obama." Did you think that was an effective technique?

WOLFSON: Well, Sean, my attitude is if I'm willing to come on this show and sit down with you without preconditions, the Government of the United States should be able to engage our adversaries diplomatically, as well.

[...]

HANNITY: I also thought, "Finally someone brought up" -- I have been saying this for, finally she brought it up tonight, what he said about our troops, which is unforgivable, that they're air-raiding villages and killing civilians. I just got into this with the Congresswoman. That is unforgivable, Senator Obama. And he ought to apologize. And he ought to be called by the media to apologize for that.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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