Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hannity: Misinformer Of The Year

Media Matters for America, a liberal media watchdog site, has officially named Sean Hannity it's Misinformer of the Year:

As Media Matters for America has demonstrated time and again, Fox News' Sean Hannity has been a prolific and influential purveyor of conservative misinformation. But never has he so enthusiastically applied his talents for spreading misinformation as he did to the 2008 presidential race, focusing his energies primarily on President-elect Barack Obama. Day after day, Hannity devoted his two Fox News shows and his three-hour ABC Radio Networks program to "demonizing" the Democratic presidential candidates, starkly explaining in August: "That's my job. ... I led the 'Stop Hillary Express.' By the way, now it's the 'Stop Obama Express.' " Hannity's "Stop Obama Express" promoted and embellished a vast array of misleading attacks and false claims about Obama. Along the way, he uncritically adopted and promoted countless Republican talking points and played host to numerous credibility-challenged smear artists who painted Obama as a dangerous radical. When he was not going after Obama, Hannity attacked members of Obama's family, as well as Sen. Hillary Clinton and other progressives, and denied all the while that he had unfairly attacked anyone.

Hannity's attacks may have also influenced mainstream media coverage. ABC News' George Stephanopoulos appeared on Hannity's radio program on April 15, during which Hannity suggested to Stephanopoulos that he ask Obama at the Democratic presidential debate the following evening about his "association with Bill Ayers, the unrepentant terrorist from the Weather Underground." Stephanopoulos assured Hannity that he was "taking notes right now." Stephanopoulos then did ask Obama at the debate to "explain that relationship for the voters, and explain to Democrats why it won't be a problem," though he later denied that Hannity had exerted any influence on his questioning.

Because of the unending stream of falsehoods and character attacks that fueled the "Stop Obama Express," and the countless other distortions he promoted throughout 2008, Sean Hannity is Media Matters for America's Misinformer of the Year.

While I sometimes listen to his radio show when I'm driving in the middle of the day (he's hilarious, plus I want to know what the right in this country is listening to), I find Hannity and Colmes to be fairly unwatchable, principally because Alan Colmes is a spineless milquetoast (although this is hardly his fault; the format of the show is set up to favor Hannity and they are not really allowed to spar amongst themselves).

If you have any conservative friends who regularly throw out Hannity's name when debating politics with you, I highly encourage you to check out Media Matters' list of his distortions from the last year; they'll be indispensable during further debates with your aforementioned friends.

On a related note, Alan Colmes has announced that he will be leaving the show at the end of the year. Will FOX News still maintain it's promise of being "fair and balanced" by employing one full time liberal (yes, I know how stupid that question sounds when you really think about it but hey, it's FOX News, right)? Well, wonder no longer:

Fox News host Sean Hannity, who is losing his liberal counterpart Alan Colmes at the end of the year, will not be getting a new on-air partner. Instead, the conservative commentator will headline his own show, called simply "Hannity," beginning Jan. 12, the network announced today.

The program -- running in the same 6 p.m. Pacific time slot -- will include several segments in which three guests from across the political spectrum, dubbed the "Great American Panel," will weigh in on the topics of the day. The show will also include regular commentary and interviews by Hannity, as well as a feature called "Hate Hannity Hotline" that will highlight the critical comments he receives from listeners of his syndicated radio show.

If Hannity follows the same formula for being "fair and balanced" that other FOX News shows have, the "Great American Panel" should include the following: two ultra-conservative panel members and one moderate, liberal panel member, to compliment the ultra-conservative host/moderator. Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that a Pew poll from a few years back found that viewers of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report (comedy shows, mind you) were better informed about politics and current events than FOX News viewers. And I have no doubt that Sean Hannity's radio and television campaign of misinformation and distortions had at least something to do with those numbers; bray on, asshole.


Anonymous said...

Can't we just call him bald-faced, lying, right-wing, propagandist of the year? Misinformer sounds too PC.

Hopefully, his solo show will do every bit as well as Limbaugh's did.

Anonymous said...

Can't we just call him a (rich) stupid fucking prick and be done with it?