Dec 30, 2008
False smears earn hatemonger Hannity the 2008 Misinformer of the Year dishonor
With all the smears and misinformation put out by the conservative media against President Barack Obama and the Democrats in 2008, it would seem to be hard to choose just one person who has conveyed the most misinformation and smears. Not so says media watchdog Media Matters, and it chose Faux News talking head Sean Hannity as the 2008 Misinformer of the Year.
Hannity won the award hands down, despite many people to choose from; including numerous right-wing radio hosts, cable news pundits, major daily newspapers and online publications. Month after month, Media Matters shone the light of accountability on the media, which all too often pass along conservative spin, smears and distortions as fact. They did so by posting the actual video of misinformation and a transcript, defeating the claim that it took things out of contest.
It also documented the many lied and smears of fellow Faux talking head Bill O'Reilly's misinformation by actually posting the video, and it earned them his ire, calling them "the most dishonest website in the country." And how do they do that? By actually posting the audio and video of O'Reilly's misinformation.
Media Matters dug deep through the more than 3,500 detailed research items they released this year to select the annual "Misinformer of the Year." But Hannity's tactics left little doubt that the blow dried talking head deserved the dishonor. He left no smear of a progressive leader or issue unspoken, turning both of his cable television programs and his nationally syndicated radio show into cesspools of conservative misinformation.
His nightly show on Faux News was filled with examples of taking what Obama said and distorting it. His constant refrain was Obama'a alleged "radical associations," and that means if Obama and the alleged radical were in the same place at the same time once. Almost every long, convoluted question that was really a statement put out by Hannity always included the words, "Bill Ayers, Rev. Wright, Louis Farrakhan and Rezko." Even Obama's family have not been off-limits.
In addition to simply mouthing Republican talking points, Hannity has continued to use debunked smears against Obama and Democrats in general, give a platform to the most despicable smear merchants, defending Republicans and even raising money for them and failing to disclose that little fact.
Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.