During the April 16 debate, George Stephanopoulos asked Sen. Barack Obama to explain his "relationship" with former Weather Underground Organization member William Ayers and to "explain to Democrats why it won't be a problem." The previous day, Stephanopoulos appeared on The Sean Hannity Show and New York radio station WOR's The Steve Malzberg Show, where both Hannity and Malzberg suggested to Stephanopoulos that he ask Obama about Ayers.
On Hannity & Colmes, Dick Morris asserted that Hillary Clinton had worked as a "law student defending the Black Panther Party, and then she worked in a communist law firm." Co-host Alan Colmes then asked Morris, "Well, does it make Hillary a communist?" After Morris again stated that Clinton "was a supporter of the Black Panthers," Colmes interjected, "Wait a second. Does that make her a communist?" Morris replied: "No, at that time, at that point in her life, she may well have been." But Morris previously wrote in his book Rewriting History that "Hillary was no Communist, nor should her work in the ... firm imply that she was."
Fox News' Sean Hannity previewed a segment about former President Jimmy Carter's planned meeting with a Hamas leader by asking, "Is this what the Obama foreign policy will look like?" In fact, Sen. Barack Obama has said his willingness to meet with international adversaries "does not include Hamas."
On Hannity & Colmes, Frank Luntz said of Sen. Barack Obama: "[W]hen he gave his [March 18] speech on race, it was the first time that he used American flags behind him." However, Media Matters has identified numerous prior instances in which Obama spoke in front of either multiple American flags or a prominent American flag.
Fox News' Sean Hannity falsely claimed that Sen. Barack Obama "made a statement over the weekend talking about the issue of abortion. If people make a mistake, quote, 'I don't want them punished with a baby,' unquote." In fact, according to CNN, Obama was responding to "a question about how his administration, if he's elected, would deal with the issue of HIV and AIDS and also sexually transmitted diseases with young girls," and replied by talking about the need for effective sex education.
Discussing the State Department's admission that Sen. Barack Obama's passport records had been repeatedly accessed without authorization by three contract workers, Sean Hannity said, "Seems to me Barack Obama is looking for anything to distract from the story of Jeremiah Wright."
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Fox News' Sean Hannity and Brit Hume falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama's church, in Hannity's words, "deleted the Black Value System from [its] website," a claim put forth by conservative media outlets on March 16. But as FoxNews.com noted, a link to the tenets of the Black Value System can be found on the front page, "where it says 'Click here to read about the Black Value System.' "
On Fox News, Sean Hannity said to Sen. John McCain, "You've said three times in the last week or week and a half that you promised no new taxes. You mean none." In response, McCain said, "None." However, in a Wall Street Journal interview, McCain did not rule out raising taxes. Later in the Fox News interview, Hannity suggested that Sen. Hillary Clinton's health care proposal would "nationalize health care," and McCain replied, "We tried this. We've seen this movie before back in 1993, OK? And it is a government takeover." In fact, Clinton's proposal would not "nationalize health care" or seek a "government takeover" of it.
On Hannity & Colmes, responding to criticism of remarks she made on Today, including, "[W]hen the wife does not focus in on the needs and the feelings, sexually, personally, to make him feel like a man ... he's very susceptible to the charm of some other woman making him feel what he needs. And these days, women don't spend a lot of time thinking about how they can give their men what they need," Laura Schlessinger reiterated that wives of "most men who cheat" "haven't been respecting" their husbands.
Republican strategist and Fox News contributor Karl Rove appeared on Fox News' America's Election HQ and Hannity & Colmes to discuss the presidential race, but none of the hosts -- Bill Hemmer, Sean Hannity, or Alan Colmes -- asked Rove whether he was "informally advising" Sen. John McCain's campaign, as a Politico article citing "[a] top McCain adviser" reported, and none noted that Rove has reportedly confirmed donating to McCain's campaign.
On Hannity's America, Sean Hannity falsely asserted that the minister of Sen. Barack Obama's church "honored [Louis] Farrakhan for lifetime achievement, saying, quote, 'He truly epitomized greatness.' " In fact, the managing editor of a magazine founded by the church wrote those words, not the minister. Hannity also stated that Michelle Obama "wrote in her [undergraduate] thesis that we see at Princeton, you know, the belief -- 'because of the belief that blacks must join in solidarity to combat a white oppressor.' " However, as the full context of the passage makes clear, she was discussing views that black students who attended Princeton in the 1970s may have held, not asserting her own views.
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity declared that Louis Farrakhan "had nice things to say" about Sen. Barack Obama, but did not mention that Obama responded to Farrakhan's remarks with a statement noting that "I have been ... a consistent denunciator of Louis Farrakhan."
Discussing the state of the Democratic primary race and whether "somebody's going to have to go to Hillary Clinton and say, 'Get out of this thing,' " Republican strategist Pete Snyder said on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, "[S]omeone is going to have to go out there and take her behind the barn."
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Sean Hannity exaggerated the number of jobs created under Ronald Reagan, asserting that "21 million new jobs" were created, and falsely claimed that Reagan "doubl[ed] the income for the federal government" and oversaw the "longest peacetime -- period of peacetime economic growth in history." In fact, the number of jobs increased by 16 million; federal revenue increased 15 percent; and the longest period of peacetime economic growth occurred between March 1991 and March 2001.
On Hannity & Colmes, Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson said of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago: "If a white preacher, including the KKK, espouses so-called white values -- remember, at one time, the KKK was doing that." During the show, neither Peterson nor Sean Hannity explained how Trinity United Church of Christ in any way reflects the ideology, mission, or history of the KKK.