Schiavo Shocker — No Evidence of Criminal Activity

Wow, this was a big shock — an investigation by Florida’s state attorney finds absolutely no evidence that Terri Schiavo’s collapse 15 years ago was the result of criminal activity.

But wait a gosh darn minute here. Sean Hannity insisted that it was, and who are we going to believe, some state’s attorney and a bunch of doctors or the esteemed Mr. Hannity?

Presumably, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and State Attorney Bernie McCabe are now part of the cover-up of what really happened to Terri Schiavo.

Typical Sean Hannity Behavior — Coaches Guests During Commercial Breaks

According to The New York Daily News, comedian Harry Shearer played an audiotape on his Le Show (which is available via podcast format) of Sean Hannity up to his usual tricks on Hannity & Colmes.

On March 31, Hannity & Colmes featured two women who had formerly worked as nurses taking care of Terri Schiavo. Both of the women claimed that Schiavo was not in a persistent vegetative state and made the absurd claim that Schiavo said things like, “Help me, mother.” When Hannity pointed out that the judge said they weren’t credible, the nurses launched into the patented right-wing attack on Judge Greer.

Anyway, Shearer played a tape of Hannity talking to the two women during commercial breaks. According to the Daily News (emphasis added),

Between commercials, according to an off-air audiotape obtained by investigative comedian Harry Shearer for last Sunday’s episode of his weekly radio program, “Le Show,” Hannity coached the women on exactly how to respond when liberal co-host Alan Colmes cross-examined them.

“Just say, ‘I’m here to tell what I saw,'” Hannity can be heard instructing his guests. “No matter what the question, ‘I’m here to tell you what I saw. I’m here to tell you what I saw.'”

Hannity adds helpfully: “Say, ‘I’m not going to be distracted by silliness.’ How’s that? Does that help you? Look into that camera. Look at me when I’m talking.”

On the air, Iyer performs beautifully. “I don’t have any opinions or judgments. I was there,” she declares

After the segment ends, Hannity gushes off the air to the nurses: “We got the points out. It’s hard, this isn’t easy. But you did great, both of you. Thank you, guys. Those nurses are powerful, aren’t they?”

On his radio show, Shearer injected: “Yeah, especially when they do what you tell ’em to do. Very powerful when they follow instructions from the host!”

Gee, why didn’t Hannity just hand Iyer a script beforehand?


Fox News host: Repeat after me. The New York Daily News, April 15, 2005.

David Silverman Is No Michael Newdow — Atheist Smacks Down Sean Hannity

For the most part, I’ve never been impressed by the American Atheists (and I am an atheist), but AA’s David Silverman really made Sean Hannity look like the idiot he is on Hannity & Colmes. The topic was the Easter Bunny — apparently some shopping malls in Florida are doing away with the “Easter” part of the Easter Bunny, and going to either Peter Rabbit or “Garden Bunny” (which makes no sense). Hannity, of course, sees this is as yet another attack from those evil leftists.

Before going to the transcript, if Hannity would use his brain for a second he might stop to wonder why a rabbit is symbolized with Easter. What the hell does a rabbit have to do with the resurrection of Jesus? Nothing, of course — its a pagan fertility symbol people. If anything, Hannity should be glad that people are starting to dissociate this pagan fertility symbol from Easter.

Anyway, Silverman is brilliant, noting that what is driving the bunny changes is pure capitalism which, the last time I checked, Hannity supported,

DAVID SILVERMAN, AMERICAN ATHEISTS: Hey, thanks for having me back on the show.

You know, first of all, I want to say that this is about private property and this is about private enterprise. And they can name their bunnies anything they want. They can name them Peter Rabbit or they can name them the Jesus Bunny for all we care. They are private enterprises, and they can do what we wish — or what they wish, I should say.

BOB BECKEL, GUEST HOST: But why do they wish to do that?

SILVERMAN: Because it’s capitalism. They’re living in a place that is growing more and more diverse. And they’re recognizing the fact that Easter is only Christian. And even though it doesn’t have Christian roots, they’re recognizing that is more than Christian, and they want to play on the safe side. They want to sell more stuff. When it comes right down to it, these malls want to sell more stuff. They don’t want to…

Hannity simply ignores this, claiming its leftist intolerance,

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: You know something, David? Look, where is the tolerance on the left anymore? I mean, this is the Easter Bunny. This is about Bob’s kids and my kids going to the mall. Are you really going to be hurt, are you really going to be offended by a mall identifying a bunny as the Easter Bunny? Is your faith shaken that deeply?

But as Silverman notes — and Hannity continues to ignore — atheists aren’t agitating for this change; its something the malls did on their own.

Silverman apparently flustered Hannity by not coming out and being a typical atheist freak (Hannity probably wishes he’d booked Michael Newdow), leading Hannity to this bizarre exchange,

HANNITY: Because of guys like you, because you’re demanding it, because of the frivolous lawsuits…

SILVERMAN: How can you blame me when we’re not doing anything? This is something — no, no, no, Sean. We’re not doing anything. You’re going a little too far here because…

HANNITY: No, I’m not. Why is it happening then?

SILVERMAN: Because of capitalism. They’re going to sell more stuff.

HANNITY: All right. It’s all happening because of capitalism.


SILVERMAN: They’re not doing it because of the atheists. We don’t have anything to do with it.

HANNITY: Why are the Boy Scouts under attack by atheist groups, by girls that want to be in the Boy Scouts, by gay and lesbian groups that don’t like their values?

SILVERMAN: You want to talk about the Boy Scouts?

HANNITY: No, what it is an assault on the very people in the society that lecture us about tolerance. You guys on the left, you are the most intolerant people on the face of the Earth to the point now that the Easter Bunny cannot be named the Easter Bunny without offending somebody in your side.

Hannity’s just an embarassment with his one-size-fits-all ranting — confronted by Silverman’s reasonable position, Hannity blathers on about Boy Scouts and lesbians and then says he doesn’t actually want to talk about the Boy Scouts after all.

Fox would do well to ditch both Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. Unfortunately since so many people inexpliably watch these goofballs, that isn’t likely to happen.


Transcript: The Easter Bunny Under Attack. Hannity & Colmes, March 16, 2005.

Did Fox Run the Faked Kerry/Fonda Photo As Real?

The New Republic has an article about the Dan Rather dustup in which Telis Demos claims the following,

If this last offense sounds familiar, it’s because the right-wing media does it all the time. In February 2004, for instance, Fox News broadcasters Brit Hume, Sean Hannity, and John Gibson all showed a photo of John Kerry standing next to Jane Fonda on a podium at an anti-Vietnam War rally in the 1970s. It turns out the photo was fake. Did hordes of media critics demand retractions from Hume, Hannity, and Gibson? Of course not. As a result, it seems likely that plenty of voters continue to believe the picture was real.

Did this really happen, though? I searched through all of the transcripts of Fox News programs on Lexis and I couldn’t find any time when this faked picture was shown as if it were real. The photo was definitely shown on Fox News by Brit Hume, but not in the context that Demos claims. On February 15, 2004, Chris Wallace discussed the photo on Fox News Sunday,

WALLACE: Juan mentions that there was dirt being loaded on John Kerry. It was also being loaded on him about his opposition to the war in Vietnam after he came back as a war hero.

And I want to show you some fascinating pictures. Let’s put up the first one, if we can. There is a picture of Jane Fonda, a famous anti-war activist, in the foreground. And way back in the back, fuzzy, no sign that they were anywhere close together — and I must say, two years before Jane Fonda actually went to Hanoi and became Hanoi Jane — at a rally.

WALLACE: And this was put out as some indication that they were in lock step.

And then, when that sort of fell flat, another picture was seen on the Internet showing, well, they’re not now far apart, they’re actually right together on the podium, John Kerry and Jane Fonda. There is only one problem with that picture, it was a fake. Jane Fonda was digitally added. The photo agency that owns the picture says this is the original, John Kerry by himself.

Ceci, I guess the question is, with the length of this campaign — it looks now we could be talking about eight months between Kerry and George W. Bush — and all the things, either rumors or bogus pictures that could be circulated on the Internet, are we headed for something we’ve never seen before?

I found one example where Hannity mentioned a photo on his show (not with Brit Hume, though) where it was unclear which photo Hannity was referring too, though I suspect it was the photo of Kerry sitting several rows back at an event where Fonda spoke. But the only time the fake photo is mentioned on Brit Hume’s show that I could find is to dismiss it as a fake.

Demos isn’t very helpful since he just says “February 2004.” Does anyone else know if Fox ran the photo as real (if they did, it would be interesting to track how long it took them to acknowledge the fact that it was fake).


Forge Ahead. Telis Demos, New Republic, September 15, 2004.

Burn Bush in Effigy — That’s Foot Stompin’ Funny

Leave it to Dave Winer to make an bizarre post finding humor in burning George W. Bush in effigy,

This evening after Rebecca’s talk, a bunch of us got together to laugh about burning George Bush in effigy. Actually I did most of the laughing. We thought that might play well on Al Jazeera. See, not everyone in America is crazy. Some people are rational. I know that Hannity will be there along with Rush Limbaugh calling us liberals. I anticipated that. I’m going to get a hard hat and a baseball bat and kick some reactionary butt. We’re going to chase them down the street until they admit that we’re bigger and stronger than they are. No more Mr Nice Liberal Guy.

Oh yeah, Winer’s quite the example in rationality there.