On May 5, Fox News' Sean Hannity declared that Rep. Patrick Kennedy's (D-RI) announcement that he will enter a treatment program for a prescription drug addiction was the "big news of the day," while completely ignoring the resignation of CIA director Porter Goss. The Kennedy story spanned four entire segments and received more than 20 minutes of airtime on the May 5 edition of Hannity & Colmes, while news of Goss's resignation appeared in only two short "newsbreaks" that were separate from the show itself.
On the May 5 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity declared that Rep. Patrick Kennedy's (D-RI) announcement that he will enter a treatment program for a prescription drug addiction served as the "big news of the day," while completely ignoring the resignation of CIA director Porter Goss who, according to The New York Times, stepped down "under pressure." The Kennedy story spanned four entire segments and received more than 20 minutes of airtime on the May 5 edition of Hannity & Colmes, while news of Goss's resignation as CIA director appeared only in two short "newsbreaks" that were separate from the show itself.
Throughout the four segments, Hannity attacked Kennedy for purportedly refusing to take full responsibility for a May 4 incident, in which Kennedy says he was under the influence of prescription drugs when he crashed his car into a security barrier on Capitol Hill. Hannity declared that Kennedy is "living a lie here" because he did not receive a sobriety test and wondered: "[A]re the Kennedys getting a break because of their name?"
But even though Hannity condemned Kennedy for a traffic accident in which nobody was harmed, he did not offer similar criticism of former Republican Rep. Bill Janklow (SD) in January 2004, when Janklow was convicted on charges of second-degree manslaughter, speeding, running a stop sign, and reckless driving. Hannity mentioned Janklow's accident and conviction only once, on the December 8, 2003, edition of Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: I'm Sean Hannity, reporting from San Francisco tonight. We are getting word that South Dakota Congressman Bill Janklow will resign his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives effective January 20. That is the same day that the congressman is scheduled to be sentenced, following his conviction earlier this afternoon on a charge of second- degree manslaughter, following an August 16 traffic accident that resulted in the death of a Minnesota motorcyclist. Stay tuned to the Fox News Channel for more details, but now we're going to get right to our top story.
While Janklow faced a maximum of 10 years in prison for the incident, he received only 100 days in jail and two years of probation after "a parade of defense witnesses testif[ied] about Janklow's character and contributions to the community," according to a January 22, 2004, report on CNN.com.
From the May 5 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: There you have it, the big news of the day. Congressman Patrick Kennedy announced this afternoon that he will enter a Mayo Clinic rehab program for an addiction for prescription painkillers. Now, Kennedy blames a combination of drugs for his car crash near the Capitol early Thursday morning and now says that he has no memory at all of what happened. But there are still many questions tonight. According to the official Capitol Police report, when Kennedy got out of the car, he had red, watery eyes, slurred speech, and unsteady balance. A woman who works at a Washington, D.C., bar told the Boston Herald that Congressman Kennedy was there earlier in the evening and he had, in fact, been drinking.
Now, there are also the questions about how the police handled this incident. Kennedy was not given a sobriety test, and he was taken home over the apparent objections of some of the officers. Joining us now with reaction, Republican strategist Karen Hanretty is with us; Democratic strategist Rich Masters; and the author of How to Talk to a Liberal (But Only If You Must) [sic] , and a new book coming out on 6-6-06, Ann Coulter, is with us; and also Newsday columnist, Fox News contributor Ellis Henican. Ann, let me start with you. "I simply do not remember getting out of bed, being pulled over by police, and being cited for three driving infractions." He also hit a wall. A direct contradiction to the news that came out at this time last night, where he gave a full accounting of everything he did, and used the words "at no time I did consume any alcohol." Did he really take responsibility today?
HANNITY: -- but let's go to this. He doesn't remember a thing that happened here. And I think what really happened -- and I think -- look, I wish him well. Let me say for the record --
HENICAN: As do all of us, thankfully.
HANNITY: I know a lot of people that have struggled with addiction in their life. I only wish him well personally. But one of the first things you've got to do to get on the road to recovery is you've got to admit the truth. I think the only reason we had this press conference today is because the story that he told at this time last night was unraveling and, in fact, he was drinking. And now to take the excuse, "Oh, I don't remember a thing," when he gave very specific information about what he was doing last night, it seems to me that he's trying to get out of trouble and he's not admitting the truth here, yet I don't believe we're getting the truth, do you?
HANNITY: All right, let me stay focused. Let me go to Ann. Is it fair, you know, to make the comparison? Are the Kennedys given a break because of their name?
HANNITY: Ann, let me ask you this question. My problem here is, I think, he's living a lie here. And everyone's saying he took responsibility.
HENICAN: Like what Rush did, right?
HANNITY: No, Rush admitted his.
HENICAN: Admitted the lie before he got caught, right?
COULTER: Stop shouting.
HANNITY: Let me finish. And I think what we've got to do here is we've got to look at this whole situation. And I just want to know, if he's lying, and we didn't get the truth, and we don't get a sobriety test, and we don't get a Breathalyzer -- and everyone says, "He took responsibility," but he really didn't, what should happen then?