2012 Propaganda

This page challenges facts, sourcing or points out distortion and hypocrisy over public airwaves, in violation of FCC licensee's duty to serve the public interest during political broadcasts.

Dec 4, 2012

Hannity Complains About Surveillance State He Helped Create

Years behind the left and groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Hannity is beginning to complain about the the government being too intrusive. Hannity doesn't even seem to know the government is already collecting our calls and emails, but he was in a snit to hear that Democrats have proposed new telecommunications rules that would require providers like ATT, Verizon, Sprint and others to retain text messages for two years in case they are needed by law enforcement.

Hannity erroneously suggested this could violate our First Amendment rights (he surely meant the Fourth Amendment) but the idea he would suddenly be alarmed at the invasion of privacy rights is baldly hypocritical because Hannity helped usher in these changes throughout the War on Terror. From the Patriot Act to the AUMF and invocation of War Powers, our rights have been steadily eroded since the Bush Administration made bold moves to prevent a second terrorist attack on his watch. Hannity cheered these mistakes along like a weasel in pom poms. Hannity said nothing in December 2005 when we found the Bush Administration was conducting a massive warrantless surveillance operation through the NSA in direct violation of the FISA law meant to prevent abusive Nixon-style eavesdropping.

As reported by Bush's former press secretary, Hannity was a principal contact as Karl Rove and the Office of Strategic Initiatives sought to dupe the public with color coded terror alerts, false threats of imminent attacks and daily fear mongering for over a decade. Part of the ham-handed response to 9-11 was trading in civil liberties for greater security, as reports flooded in of government infiltration of everything from eco-activism groups to senior sewing circles. Hannity was the PR arm of the Bush administration, "selling" war, terror and fear to the public every single day with provably wrong claims and according to Scott McClellan, undisclosed White House-provided propaganda.

Suddenly, following the 2012 election and Hannity's arguments against President Obama falling flat, he seems to be taking up the cause of our privacy rights? As Hannity has tried to push the economic collapse of the economy that happened under Bush off onto Obama, we now see Hannity trying to pin the current Big Brother proposal onto the current administration. Particularly following the abrupt ruin of the storied career of CIA Director David Petraeus for discovery of embarrassing email correspondence, Hannity seems to just recently have found religion.

Though it's never too late to join the bandwagon of citizens who actually understand the US Constitution, it's lame for Hannity to whimper about this now, now after saying nothing about tens of thousands of improperly issued National Security Letters, illegal surveillance of innocent Muslims in NJ or the Department of Defense illegally spying on Planned Parenthood and peace groups.

Oct 12, 2012

Hannity Threatens Billionaires Will Take Their Ball and Go Home If Obama Wins

Sean Hannity yesterday interviewed casino billionaire Steve Wynn, who claimed he has created 250,000 jobs but doesn't like Obama's policies. Earlier in the week, Wynn made a rant complaining about class warfare, claiming Obama "doesn't know how the economy works" and that billionaires like him "have a target on his back".

But today, during an interview with the director of Atlas Shrugged, Hannity said Wynn and fellow casino mogul Sheldon Adelson would "start doing things differently" if Obama wins. WHAT? Is Hannity now saying that the 1% is now threatening to hold jobs hostage if they don't get the candidate they want? They will close businesses? Move overseas?

Adelson is already spending millions in the election in support of Romney, but now the public is seeing a bit of what happens behind the scenes when materialistic magnates use the fact that they employ people as "leverage" to get political favor. In a deep, sustained recession like this, elected officials are desperate to retain jobs in their districts, so it's no surprise they kowtow to the super rich, but what if they are pressured - or blackmailed - behind the scenes, demanding concessions by holding workers' livelihoods hostage?

This is exactly why the concentration of wealth is so bad - it gives advantages to the biggest and loudest. Hannity and his guest wondered aloud today what would happen if "job creators" like Wynn and Adelson packed it in? He actually said that without these billionaires, there would be no jobs, no prosperity. In fact, it would be better for the economy if they closed their casinos and all that demand for gaming and entertainment was met by a greater number of smaller operations, ma and pa owners and increased competition.

July 14, 2012

Hannity Claims Ann Romney "Off Limits" After Attacking Michelle Obama For Years as "Fair Game"
Hoping his listeners all suffer from amnesia, Sean Hannity describes media hosts as "pathetic" for criticizing Ann Romney, yet has himself criticized Michelle Obama for years on TV and radio, at times devoting entire segments to smears-by-association of the First Lady without proper journalistic sourcing.

Hannity says almost every time he mentions Michelle Obama her "bitter" Americans comments, and "finally proud" of my country comments - over and over for years. It's boundless hypocrisy to suggest Ann Romney is not to be discussed by media or voters.

May 30, 2012

Hannity Cuts Off & Hangs Up On Caller With Valid Point about Inequality for Women

Talking to a Muslim caller, Sean Hannity here can be heard denouncing Sharia law because it discriminates against women, prohibiting equality with men by religious statute. Like Saudi Arabia, Hannity claims there are many countries in the Mideast that oppress women, imposing dress or headwear rules, refusing justice for rape, and more.

Then, when the caller then begins to ask Hannity to advocate for Jewish women as well, Hannity can be heard shuffling the caller off the air in a panic. In orthodox Jewish custom, married women must shave their heads and women cannot get divorced unless their husbands and Rabbis permit it. Women also cannot be rabbis.

Sensing he was about to get caught up in a big hypocrisy, Hannity dumped the caller, censoring his views and prohibited his point from being considered. Hannity chickens out of the debate he initiated, claiming the caller went off topic when he was addressing precisely Hannity's point. Listen to audio:

Hannity Cowers From Debate on Basic Idea of Stimulus as Remedy for Economic Crisis

Earlier in the same show, Hannity repeatedly cut off caller "Eric" from NYC who learned from basic economic research that stimulus spending is precisely the remedy for ongoing economic crises, spending to create jobs and investing long term in modernizing infrastructure. Hannity refused to answer Eric's question about Keynesian theory, turning down his volume as he played a clip of Obama criticizing Bush for deficit borrowing.

Hannity had slipped up, confusing recovery spending with Bush's spending for wars, corporate welfare and "trickle-down" tax breaks. After playing the clip, Eric asked if Hannity cut him off and changed the subject because he was right. The clip below shows Hannity getting unnerved, testy that he had no comeback and rudely asserting "Yeah, I cut you off because you were right" as he hung up and moved quickly on to a conservative caller waiting in the wings. Listen to Hannity's inability to have an economic debate of substance:

May 22, 2012

Sean Hannity Pwned By Colin Powell

Colin Powell challenges Hannity's claim that Obama is a divisive figure in politics, reminding Hannity that Republicans in Congress and pundits like Rush Limbaugh vowed as their highest priority to destroy Obama from his earliest days in office. Powell also reminds Hannity that the attempts to smear Obama by his associations with Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright have already failed once and that reviving the idea again is ill-advised.

Here Hannity is rebuked on his own show as he accuses Obama of not deserving to get into Harvard because he tried drugs in highschool.

Fri April 20. 2012

Hannity Declares "No More Blaming Bush" While Advocating For Bush's Catastrophic Economic Policies

Ever since Obama came into office, Sean Hannity has been trying to ply his loyal listeners with the notion that our economic pain is due to Obama. Within weeks of the inauguration, Hannity started calling it "The Obama Recession" on the air. Fact-checkers know the crisis was affecting everyone by October 2008, before a single vote was even cast. Hannity, like his mentor Rush Limbaugh and anyone earning over $10 million per year personally benefits with hundreds of thousands extra in their pockets each year the Bush policies are extended. This is Hannity's real agenda, to keep tax policies that benefit him.

Hannity's mantra for the last three years has been that Obama is a radical socialist, that his liberal policies have made the economy worse, that Obama owns the problem and that anyone looking back to 2001-2008 is "deranged" with George Bush.

On Friday, Hannity pointed up Mike Lupica's "Obama Can't Keep Blaming Bush" in the NY Daily News, but if you actually read the article it's not an apology for Bush, it's advice for the upcoming election directed at both Obama and Mitt Romney, asking "what positive things are you proposing" going forward?

So Hannity mocks anyone who blames Bush, while telling us we need to go back to Bush's policies. Despite crushing deficits, Hannity thinks education should be completely privatized, giving every family vouchers. He wants to scuttle Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and turn regulation over to the industries themselves. Just today he said we should make the former head of Shell Oil the next Secretary of Energy.

Did Tax Cuts for The Rich Create Jobs or Not?

The Bush tax cuts for the rich promised job creation, but failed miserably. They were also supposed to spur economic growth but resulted in economic crisis. All they did was line the pockets of guys like Hannity, whose syndicated radio programming destroyed jobs in local radio as Clear Channel, Cumulus and Premiere Networks replaced DJs from coast to coast by piping in Hannity, Limbaugh and others.

Hannity has met the challenge of convincing the middle class to vote against their own interests. Because his listeners still believe the Bush policies create jobs, they seem willing to return to the same policies. This is a testament to Hannity's propaganda, despite the facts screaming that the Bush cuts have not produced jobs.

The current iteration of the Bush policies are reflected in the Ryan plan which deeply chops taxes for millionaires:

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Clearly, this policy assumes that millionaires would create jobs out of patriotism and the kindness of their hearts. But they don't - they haven't. What has spurred job creation by the rich is the exact opposite - high tax rates that encourage business owners to leave money in their business, reinvest, expand or take risks. This was a solid, successful Conservative idea until neo-conservatives led by Reagan, Paul Weyrich and a bunch of secretive billonaires pushed it off the cliff.

Hannity Lying About Obama's "Socialism" and "Radical Liberalism"

Hannity's claims that Obama is a radical socialist are very easily disproven, especially by actual socialists. Obama is a bank-friendly corporatist, proven by his record donations from Wall Street. Obama's cabinet is lined with folks from Goldman Sachs and law firms who serve the industry in a classic revolving door. Just to rattle off a few, this includes Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, Rahm Emanuel, Eric Holder, Lanny Breuer, Robert Khuzami who represent foxes being put in charge of the henhouse.

Obama simply continued the Bush policy of big bailouts and stimulus plans (remember, Bush sent out two different checks to taxpayers, all paid for by debt). Obama kept on Bush's Fed head Ben Bernanke and continued Bush's secret $7.7 trillion policy of free loan guarantees to any random shmo who showed up asking - including wives of bankers and foreigners, allowing them to pocket billions in profits off the interest. Obama is no socialist.

Obama and the Pro-War Democrats

Obama's commitment to wars of choice continued along the debt spiral Bush and the neocons began, keeping in place most of Bush's generals and military commanders. This prompted protests by real liberal groups immediately, for example amassing outside West Point as Obama announced his first troop surge in Afghanistan. Obama basically kept to Bush's timetable for the Iraq withdrawal and has bombed Libya. He has continued and expanded the Bush policy of extra-constitutional executive assassinations and rendition, and expanded alleged illegal surveillance while protecting Bush era officials from prosecutions.

If Obama is a radical, he is a right-wing radical, with liberals like Cenk Uygur now saying Obama is even worse than Bush on eroding our civil liberties. Hannity sounds like a fool, however, squawking about the $5 trillion in "new" Obama debt, without apportioning how much of that debt comes from defense spending that Hannity wholeheartedly approves. Worse yet, much of the defense spending done under Bush was not counted until Obama's term.

But this blame-game is ridiculous political posturing - in fact, both parties have approved the catastrophic military debt spending since 9/11, with almost unanimous support by Republicans and the defense industry handily ever-able to buy off as many Democrats as they need in both houses to keep the war machine feelin' fine. This comes in the form of direct campaign contributions, or the less onerous placement of defense related jobs into strategic Congressional districts.

Hannity Prospered When There Was Less Inequity

This brings up a point Hannity feels his listeners are too stupid to discern. With Hannity's contract renewal reportedly putting him at over $10 million per year till 2016 (just for his TV gig alone), it's clear why he cries "class war" every time the inequity in the current tax code is pointed out. Despite this, Hannity always brings up how hard he worked and scratched and struggled when he was younger, rising to success in an age where higher taxes on the rich made it possible.

For most of Reagan's presidency, the highest marginal rate was 50% and the rate under Clinton was also higher than today - until the Bush tax cuts of 2001-2003 made it easier for those on top to stay on top and keep everyone else down. Before Reagan, tax rates for the wealthiest were in the range of 70-90%, with the US economy soaring in jobs with benefits and security. This was under Conservative Republicans presidents. Then, the ultra-greedy set to work buying politicians to grease the wheels on the gravy train, thumbing their noses at the "general welfare" language in our Constitution.

While telling us we have no business looking to Obama's predecessor, Hannity has no problems looking back as far as Carter to make the case liberalism has failed. In every measure however, of Mr. Hannity expressing his opinion, the facts say otherwise. Deficits exploded under Reaganomics, and job creation was worst-ever under the Bushes. The high marginal rates under Eisenhower caused the rich to reinvest in their businesses.

Profiting Off Americans Need For Healthcare
The argument that Obamacare represents socialist re-engineering of our healthcare system is also easily disproven. Actual socialists support either a single-payer solution, or a public option. Obama refused to support Democratic leaders who were urged by voters to filibuster for a public option in the US Senate. Instead, we found out Rahm Emanuel negotiated the final Obamacare deal in the back room with the insurance industry, represented by Billy Tauzin.

The plan achieves near universal coverage by mandating everyone not covered who can afford to must buy policies from the industry. This was exactly what Obama opposed when he beat Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary, saying we should not have any such mandate. So the idea he is a socialist in healthcare is disproven, but the idea he is a radical socialist is absurd.

These concepts work for Hannity though, who frames them through distortions. To Hannity, socialism is anything that takes his income to pay for the needs of the middle class, but looking at recent history, it's the Bush Cuts that have actually taken money out of the middle class to further enrich the already wealthy. We can believe Hannity when he says ending the Bush cuts would be "punishing success".

It's a clever framing to say it's "taking away" the money that the rich earned and deserve. But we can just as easily look at the data which shows the rich have gotten richer while the middle class has gotten poorer - all throughout the Obama and Bush years, bleeding jobs, boosting corporate profits, lowering taxes for corporations and the wealthy to all time lows.

So we could say instead the rich have robbed the middle class by busting unions, suppressing wages, forging horrible trade deals, deregulating industry. And to be fair to George W. Bush who was the most hapless puppet president of the modern age, let's not blame him. Let's instead blame Reagan who ushered in the idea of defense spending with money we don't have, cutting taxes without paying for it, demonizing labor and the American worker and beginning an era of astroturfed propaganda which has for decades shown that voters can be convinced anything if it's sold right.

To be fair to Reagan, let's not forget the Democrats who also engage in pay-for-play, who sign off on debt-spending, pork, unsustainable corporate welfare, faked wars and who also ravage our civil liberties and Constitutional rights. Let's agree to look past party altogether to look at the corruption of the system - campaign cash as a vehicle to control the government.

Hannity doesn't talk about this because he is the poster boy for business-as-usual corruption. His bosses at News Corp donated millions directly to campaigns in 2010 and the Republicans have a whole slate of billionaires buying 'messaging' every day be it the Kochs who set up front groups and "legislative exchanges", 'Swift Boat' Bob Perry who funds Romney, Murdoch who owns a propaganda empire, Sheldon Adelson who funds Newt Gingrich, Foster Friesse who funded Rick Santorum and many more shielded by anonymity but who funnel money to Karl Rove's CrossroadsGPS, to the US CHamber of Commerce, the American Petroleum Institute and others.

In 2008, Obama won because people rejected McCain and Clinton, putting hope into a relative newcomer, someone less entrenched, less corrupt and more forward-looking. But the last three years prove it doesn't matter who sits in the Oval Office - the president is molded by the system, not the other way around. Obama has become a composite of Bush and Clinton. Many of Bush's policies have stayed in place, while many Clintonistas found their way back into power, along with a flood of industry flacks from Wall Street to Monsanto to the defense contractors.

Instead of fixing the system, and the #1 problem therein - money in politics - the American voter just bounces back and forth between the two parties like a ping pong ball. Hannity's job is to sell the debate to us as an us versus them narrative, but the inside club of billionaires and leaders of powerful industrial megaconglomerates and influence peddlers do not leave anything to chance. They already have Obama neutralized, so could live with his reelection, but would like Romney even better to begin a new war and to eliminate permanently America's social safety net so they can make food, water, air and basic healthcare into for-profit commodities they can ration at will.

Weds March 14, 2012

Hannity Charmed by Caller Alleging Obama-FALN Links

A caller named Joe from NYC called in today to claim that Obama palled around with terrorists from the FALN. This piqued Hannity's interest so much, he told him he would take his contact number. This audio clip, edited down and shortened from a call that ran over ten minutes long, shows how eager Hannity is to jump on even the most outlandish, unsupported claims against Obama while denying and refusing airtime to anyone questioning his many unsupported claims.

The caller's father was killed in an FALN bombing and so he was in attendance at a parole hearing for one of the convicts connected to the crime. The caller claimed there were FBI present as well. The convict tried to convince the parole board that he should be let go by saying he was a community organizer from Chicago, as was his brother. The caller claims the FBI confirmed that the convict's brother would be on a first name basis with Barack Obama.

Hannity was impressed with the Joe's knowledge and told the caller twice that he would want to speak to him off the air. Nothing has been heard about these allegations since, either to confirm the allegations or to correct the record, but Hannity's listeners know he never corrects the record when information is published debunking claims heard on his show.

Mon Mar 5, 2012

Hannity claims Obama Ignoring Imminent "Second Holocaust"

On the occasion of Obama delivering and then refining his positions on the bond between Israel and the US, Hannity painted the current President's stance as weak and reckless, hoping instead for a Commander in Chief who will pre-emptively bomb Iran's nuclear weapon making sites, even though their locations may not be known - or they might not exist.

In crafting the argument, Hannity would have us believe that Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinijhad is a "dictator" even though he answers to the Mullah elders who make the final decisions in Iran. Ahmadinijhad was also famously protested all over the country in 2011 following election fraud allegations and heavy handed attempts to suppress free speech.

For those of us who lost family members in the genocide perpetrated by the Third Reich during World War II, the invocation of the term "holocaust" to describe Iran's current threat against the United States is an insult. The Iranian people have no plan to march into neighboring lands, herd millions into camps for execution or attack any nuclear powers because it would assure their own destruction. If Iran's leaders actually did have such a death wish, the US, NATO or world community could step in at any time, as was seen in Libya.

Thurs Mar 1, 2012

Hannity Falsely Claims Obama is "Beholden to Radical Environmentalists"

In a provable distortion, Sean Hannity today claimed the President was serving the needs of "radical environmentalists", despite 12,000 treehuggers chaining themselves around the White House, those Hannity speaks of gave Obama terrible marks on his environmental report card.

Hannity also did not disclose that the exact same meme was advanced verbatim by the Santorum campaign last month.

Obama took heat for appointing Monsanto flacks to critical posts in the USDA and FDA. One key Overseas Trade Rep was Michael Siddique, a pesticide industry hire of Monsanto-Dow-Dupont and Clinton holdover who once threatened EU states with withholding of WTO funds to get GMO crops adopted.

Obama's EPA Flip-Flops in Cave to Big Oil

It's become evident to even the non-"radical" of environmentalists that Obama's EPA has backed off it's previous commitments to issue emissions guidelines for oil refineries. The 2007 Supreme Court decision EPA v. Massachussetts affirmed the right of the EPA to regulate carbon pollution such as heat-trapping gases. This led to a 2009 settlement after the EPA was sued by enviros for non-enforcement. The EPA promised draft regulations for refineries but missed the deadline, ensuring final regulations will also miss the November 2012 deadline. The EPA's excuse is that they are prioritizing the much larger utility sector whose pollution is ten times worse. Ultimately though, the Obama administration has stopped enforcing The Clean Air Act.

A 25 year auto industry analyst who had first hand meets with Obama EPA officials surmised they were Bush holdovers who weren't supposed to be "political" appointees but sadly have been. In 2011 Obama overruled the EPA to delay smog reduction rules until 2013, "bending instead to pressure from Republican lawmakers and business interests".

Obama's State of The Union speech left environmentalists in the cold when he announced support for natural gas expansion - the hydrofracking debate raging in NY state has mobilized tens of thousands in multiple petition drives and protests as 17 states still hold on to bans of the practice. After over two decades since building new nuclear power plants, Obama has called for more. Even after the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, a record number of permits have been approved for offshore drilling under Obama, with every deep water rig reportedly using the same flawed blowout preventer design.

Greenpeace in 2011: "mediocre at best"
Sierra Club: "mixed"
League of Conservation Voters: "caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe".
The American Lung Association: 'we will sue'
Organic Consumers Association: petition against appointment
National Family Farm Coalition: petition against appointment
Mountaintop Removal Mining Continues Despite Obama's Pledge
Obama: How Could You Approve Drilling in Arctic Ocean?
Obama Decision To Open Gulf To More Drilling Poses Risks
Natural Resources Defense Council: Obama "Sides with polluters"
Environmental Working Group:
"109 Organizations Take Issue with Obama's Support of Fracking"
"Administration Stacks Panel With Big Oil and Gas"
"Obama Gets it Wrong on Ethanol"
Obama Renews Wasteful Farm Subsidies
National Wildlife Federation: Obama policies "puts our nation unacceptably at risk from the ravages of air pollution and climate change".
MoveOn: 'would have expected this from Bush'

as Obama has at best, shaky relations with the nation's top environmental groups. When it comes to "radical environmental" groups, it's fair to say Hannity's use of the words constitutes an important lie, trying to deceive the public, not serving the public interest on an easily disprovable claim.

One caller trying to point this out could not get past Hannity's phone screeners to dispel this claim. The caller was instead asked for their phone number so they could be called the next day, leaving the misinformation uncorrected.

Hannity: ANWR a "wasteland"

In the same segment, Hannity termed the country's largest protected wildlife preserve, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a "wasteland". We know Hannity's pals in the oil industry have wanted to explore and drill the refuge since 1977, but the debate over whether we should disrupt the ecology there cannot include such gross distortion. The area is a pristine wilderness intentionally set aside to sustain the largest diversity of living species in the Arctic Circle, where a 'wasteland' connotes something useless, barren, spoiled or destroyed.