Fox News' Sean Hannity falsely claimed that President-elect Barack Obama's economic plan gives money to "people that don't pay any taxes," echoing the oft-repeated myth from the presidential campaign that Obama's proposed tax cuts would go to people who don't pay taxes. In fact, Obama has proposed giving the tax credit to "working families," which means they do pay Social Security and Medicare taxes.
In criticizing the appointment of Leon Panetta as CIA director, Sean Hannity asserted that Panetta "wrote a piece back in August for Washington Monthly, 'No Torture. No Exceptions,' said we cannot and must not use torture under any circumstances." Hannity falsely suggested that Panetta's article was a lone commentary when, in fact, it was part of a series of essays written by critics of the Bush administration's "enhanced interrogation techniques" from across the political spectrum, including prominent Republicans.
On Hannity & Colmes, referring to the Minnesota Senate election, Dick Morris baselessly claimed that Al Franken and the Democrats are "stealing it right in front of our eyes" and asserted that both disputed ballots and their duplicates were counted, resulting in votes being counted "twice." Morris and Sean Hannity echoed claims in a Wall Street Journal editorial that alleged double counting of duplicate ballots during the recount. But the Journal simply asserted that there was double counting, echoing an accusation by Norm Coleman's campaign.
On Hannity & Colmes, Newt Gingrich falsely asserted that following 9-11, Dennis Hastert "did not get a private plane," adding that "[t]here's no reason for anyone but the president and vice president of the United States to have that level of security." In fact, at the time, the House sergeant-at-arms, the Defense Department, and the White House agreed that military planes should be made available to the speaker of the House for national security reasons, and Hastert was the first speaker to use one.
Discussing 1980 photos of President-elect Barack Obama published in Time, Sean Hannity asked, "[W]hy didn't we see these pictures beforehand?" and "You think the media maybe thought, well, it might not hurt -- it might not help Barack Obama?" Similarly, Fox News hosts asked, "Was Time magazine sitting on these photos until after the election?" In fact, according to Time, the photographer, Lisa Jack, a fellow student of Obama's at the time and now a psychologist, "put the negatives in a safety-deposit box, so that they could not be used until after the election."
For the second day in a row, Sean Hannity stated on his radio show that he was presenting an award to Media Matters: "[A]s we announced yesterday on the program, our first annual Left Wing Obamamania Media Sleaze PC Police Award has gone to the group Media Matters." Hannity originally announced this award hours after Media Matters named him the Misinformer of the Year.
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On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity suggested that President-elect Barack Obama -- the first African-American elected president -- was named Time magazine's Person of the Year because Vice President-elect Joe Biden chose Time's Jay Carney as his communications director. Hannity stated: "Shocker: The president-elect is crowned Time magazine's Person of the Year; this after Time magazine's D.C. bureau chief accepts a job in the Obama White House. Ah, I'm sure it's a coincidence."
Hours after Media Matters named Sean Hannity its Misinformer of the Year, Hannity announced on his radio show that Media Matters was the "winner" of "our first-ever Left-Wing Obamamania Media Propaganda Sleaze Award." He added: "Now, this award goes to the group or the person that does more lying and smearing than your average left-wing Obamamania media supporter."
The Politico reported that President-elect Barack Obama "announced he would delay the release of an internal review about contacts between his aides and Blagojevich's office until next week," but did not report that Obama said that while the review was complete, "The U.S. attorney's office asked us to hold off releasing those [findings] for a week." Despite Obama's explanation, Sean Hannity asked: "Why can't we get it out this week?"
Fox News hosts and executives have, on several occasions, defended themselves against charges that Fox News leans conservative by pointing to the purported conservative/liberal balance that Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes represent. However, Fox News will reportedly debut a new show next year starring Hannity in the time slot in which the channel currently airs Hannity & Colmes. Fox News already provides Hannity with his own weekend show, on which he has offered up a slew of misinformation, smears, and a guest with a long history of anti-Semitic and racially charged comments.
In the absence of any allegations of wrongdoing by President-elect Barack Obama or his staff in connection with the scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich, media figures continue to warn that a "cloud" hangs over Obama or assert that the scandal threatens to cast a "cloud" over Obama's presidency.
On Hannity's America, Sean Hannity repeated the baseless claim that "the Obamas pa[id] $300,000 below market value" for their house. Additionally, after recounting that the Obamas purchased land from the adjacent lot owned by Antoin Rezko, Hannity asserted: "And then, as state senator, he helped funnel money to these housing projects that Tony Rezko and other friends were working on." In fact, Obama's letter in support of a Rezko housing project was written seven years before the Obamas purchased their home, and both parties have reportedly said that Rezko did not solicit the letter.
On Hannity's America, Sean Hannity asserted that "the word 'president-elect' was mentioned ... 44 times" in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, which, Hannity said, "is a pretty high, high number." Hannity had previously described the number of mentions of the word "president-elect" in the complaint as "pretty troubling." In fact, with one exception, none of the 44 instances in which "president-elect" was used in the complaint actually mentioned any alleged conduct or statement by President-elect Barack Obama, much less any conduct or statement amounting to wrongdoing. The one exception was an allegation that Blagojevich complained that Obama would not give him anything other than "appreciation."
On Hannity & Colmes, discussing reports that "Senate Candidate 5" in the criminal complaint against Gov. Rob Blagojevich is a reference to Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Sean Hannity asserted that Jackson "gave an emotional -- and he gave a very passionate defense of his conduct here" and that "he came off as very credible and believable to me." Hannity added, "[B]ut there's always a skeptical side of me. You know, in the back of my mind I hear that voice, 'I did not have sex.' You know, I hear Bill Clinton."
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