Hannity claimed "absence of evidence" that Kerry "was in combat in Vietnam"

››› ››› SIMON MALOY & ADAM HUNDT

FOX News and radio host Sean Hannity made the obviously false claim on his February 11 radio program that "there is an absence of evidence" that Senator John Kerry "was in combat in Vietnam." Echoing a syndicated column by right-wing pundit Ann Coulter, Hannity compared Kerry's record in Vietnam to that of Ward Churchill, the University of Colorado professor who compared some victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks to Nazis: "[T]here is an absence of evidence, just like John Kerry, that he [Churchill] ever was in combat in Vietnam."

In fact, as Media Matters for America has documented, Kerry's Silver Star citation noted that he was awarded the medal for "extraordinary daring and personal courage ... in attacking a numerically superior force in the face of intense fire." And according to Kerry's Bronze Star citation: "Kerry's calmness, professionalism and great personal courage under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

Not even the discredited Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (now Swift Vets and POWs for Truth), which made numerous baseless allegations in an effort to discredit Kerry's military record, went so far as to question whether Kerry "ever was in combat in Vietnam." Despite right-wing efforts -- promoted in part by Hannity -- to smear Kerry's record of service, the Navy investigator general confirmed that all of "Senator Kerry's awards were properly approved."

On the February 11 edition of ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity referenced Coulter's February 11 syndicated column, in which she claimed: "Churchill already has a phony lineage and phony war record -- just like John Kerry! ... In addition to an absence of evidence about [Churchill's] Indian heritage, there is an absence of evidence that he was in combat in Vietnam." From Hannity's radio show:

HANNITY: Well, our good friend Ann Coulter actually did a little bit of investigative reporting and background. [Applause]. Apparently, this guy -- how many of you know that Churchill meet with Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi? Did y'all know that? I got some new -- she writes in her column today. And then announced to his group, the American Indian movement, he had not requested arms from the Libyan government. I guess we ought to be happy about that. Um, he has been out there talking to people and telling people that he is an American Indian. Apparently that is not true by all accounts. He has referred to himself as a chief in a combat unit in Vietnam. Well, in addition to the absence of evidence about his Indian heritage, there is an absence of evidence, just like John Kerry, that he ever was in combat in Vietnam.

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