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Thursday, November 01, 2012

For Hannity, Benghazi Seven Weeks Later Is A Bigger News Story Than Sandy's Epic Devastation

 ERIC BOEHLERT/Media Matters for America

Broadcasting from Fox News' studio in New York City last night, which is just beginning to recover from perhaps its worst natural disaster in the city's history, and certainly the worst physical pounding the metropolitan area has taken in the modern era ("unthinkable"), Sean Hannity devoted much of his show to rehashing phony allegations about the government's response to a terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya seven weeks ago.
The program's bizarre focus on an already denied, anti-Obama conspiracy theory, and how that misinformation trumped the stunning and historic damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, only highlighted the lengths to which Fox News will go to bash Obama during the election's final week
It was especially callous for Hannity to broadcast yet another endless Benghazi fantasy program from Fox's headquarters in Manhattan, given that parts of the island were still underwater at the time of his show, its infrastructure suffered egregious damage (not to mention the loss of human life), and nearly one million people were still without power.
It was against that backdrop of epic human suffering and property destruction that Hannity last night turned his attention to a seven-week-old story out of Libya. His performance represented pure Obama Derangement Syndrome.
After Fox reporter Jamie Colby did a straight report detailing the Sandy destruction, Hannity immediately began politicizing the topic by attacking Al Gore for his comments about climate change, and bemoaning "an Obama email" sent out "during the hurricane." Hannity also belittled liberals who (supposedly) want the government to "babysit" people during a storm.
Then Hannity and guest Dana Perino complained that a government press release in advance of the storm included the phrase "lean forward," which they claimed was meant to echo Obama's own campaign rhetoric. But remember, Hannity last night insisted he didn't want to "politicize" the story.
In truth, Hannity couldn't move fast enough to dismiss the topic of Sandy in order to start peddling his latest conspiracy theories about Benghazi, where four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, were killed:

HANNITYI think the biggest story that we need to get to the bottom of -- I mean, I want to take care of all the storm victims. They deserve our help and support. And they're in our prayers. I mean, a lot of people lost their homes, people lost their lives. I don't want to politicize that in any way. But I do want to get answers to this. Obama -- he's bragging, spiking the football, he got bin Laden, even though he didn't support the intelligence policies that gave us the opportunity to get him. But that's a side note.
JUAN WILLIAMS: He didn't support torture.
HANNITY: Wait a minute! The -- Obama called the Navy SEALs. They got bin Laden. The Navy SEALs, we now discovered, during this Benghazi attack -- the ambassador asked for help beforehand. They asked for help while they were being under attack. We know that -- we had Ty Wood's father on this program last night. He literally defied orders to go save 30 American lives and gave his life for his country and was told to stand down! Where was Obama when the SEALs called him requesting help? I want an answer before the election! I want to hear those tapes. I want America to see those tapes before Election Day!
And with that, approximately ten minutes into his show, the once-in-a-century hurricane that had flattened portions of the largest metropolitan area in America was off the table. Hannity did not return to it, in any meaningful way, for the rest of his program.
Instead, Hannity pushed fantastic right-wing claims about how the Benghazi 'cover-up' was worse than Watergate, how Obama's top officials watched "in real time" as Americans at the Libyan consulate begged for help, only to have their desperate pleas turned down by the White House, and how Obama "two weeks later" was denying it was a terrorist attack.
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