Hannity misrepresented Clinton quotes to claim she has "socialist views and intentions"

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On the July 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America, host Sean Hannity played a clip from a May 29 speech by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) -- in which Clinton said it is time for America "to reject the idea of an on-your-own society and to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity" -- and added, "This isn't the first time Hillary has made her socialist views and intentions so apparent." Hannity also characterized the speech as Clinton "blast[ing] the free market." In fact, Clinton said in the same speech that "there is no greater force for economic growth than free markets." As Media Matters for America has documented, other conservative commentators have similarly selectively quoted from Clinton's speech in order to paint her as a "socialist."

Hannity began the segment with a discussion of Clinton's senior thesis at Wellesley College on community activist Saul Alinsky, and then went on to discuss Clinton's May 29 speech outlining her economic vision for America, which he erroneously described as occurring on June 4. Hannity said that Clinton "blasted the free market, campaigned for redistribution of wealth for the common good, and compared the last six years in America to the era of the robber barons." Hannity played a series of clips from the speech Clinton gave May 29 at a high school in Manchester, New Hampshire, which the Associated Press described as "outlin[ing] a broad economic vision" in its May 29 report. From Hannity's America:

CLINTON: It's time for a new beginning ... time to reject the idea of an on-your-own society and to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity. ... The genius of the American economy in the 20th century was that it helped to counter that tendency for people to push as far as their own interests would take them.

But in accusing Clinton of embracing socialism, Hannity ignored that immediately after Clinton stated that it was "time to reject the idea of an on-your-own society and to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity," Clinton praised the free market system when it includes "rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed." Clinton asserted:

CLINTON: It's time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the few and for the few, time to reject the idea of an on-you-own society and to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity. I prefer a "we're all in it together" society.

Now, there is no greater force for economic growth than free markets, but markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed. When we get our priorities in order and make the smart investments we need, the markets work well.

Instead of airing that statement, Hannity followed it with a statement from 17 paragraphs earlier in the speech:

CLINTON: The genius of the American economy in the 20th century was that it helped to counter that tendency for people to push as far as their own interests would take them so that we created a leveler playing field that benefited everyone.

In addition, Hannity truncated remarks Clinton made in San Francisco at a June 28, 2004, fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) as further evidence of Clinton's "socialist views and intentions." According to Hannity, at that fundraiser Clinton told the audience of wealthy donors:

CLINTON: We're not coming to you, many of whom are well enough off that actually the tax cuts may have helped you ... we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We are going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.

In fact, according to a July 2, 2004, correction to a June 29, 2004, AP report, Clinton said that "cut[ting] short" the tax cuts was probably necessary "for America to get back on track and be fiscally responsible," implying that the tax cut reductions would be necessary to reduce the federal deficit. According to the AP, Clinton said:

CLINTON: We're not coming to you, many of whom are well enough off that actually the tax cuts may have helped you, and say "we're going to give you more." We're saying, "You know what, for America to get back on track and be fiscally responsible, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."

From the July 1 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America:

HANNITY: Now, some may argue that a college paper written almost 40 years earlier can't decode a candidate's politics or beliefs. In the case of Hillary, she idolized a left-wing radical in her formative years, befriended and supported known communists, radicals, and groups in league with America's enemies. Now, the Clinton campaign wants you to believe that it's ancient history, but as recently as June 4th, Hillary blasted the free market, campaigned for redistribution of wealth for the common good, and compared the last six years in America to the era of the robber barons.

CLINTON [video clip]: It's time for a new beginning. Time to reject the idea of an on-your-own society and to replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity. The genius of the American economy in the 20th century was that it helped to counter that tendency for people to push as far as their own interests would take them.

HANNITY: This isn't the first time that Hillary has made her socialist views and intentions so apparent. Take a look at what she said three years ago at a fundraiser in San Francisco. "We're not coming to you. Many of whom are well enough off that actually the tax cuts may have helped you. ... We're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We are going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." All this while the economy is booming as a result of the tax cuts, the unemployment rate is down, and Wall Street is posting extraordinary gains.

Clearly following in the path of Alinsky and others like him, Hillary has picked her target, frozen, personalized and polarized it, except this time the intended target is you, the American voter. Hillary's opponents say she'll do anything to win and doesn't take a position unless it's completely safe. But the thesis is written in her own words, and those are hard to run from. Which is why even after all of these years this is another Clinton chapter which remains open.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity's America
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.