Hannity again mischaracterized Obama's "air-raiding civilians" comment

››› ››› SIMON MALOY

On Hannity's America, Sean Hannity stated that it is "amazing" how the Iraq war "has become so politicized" and attacked Sen. Barack Obama, claiming that "one of the worst things ... we could ever have happen is have people like Barack Obama say that our troops are air-raiding villages and killing civilians." But in Obama's August 13 comments to which Hannity was referring, Obama was talking about Afghanistan when he said, "We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."

On the September 30 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America, during an interview with former Ultimate Fighting Championship champion Tito Ortiz, host Sean Hannity stated that it is "amazing" how the Iraq war "has become so politicized." He attacked Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), claiming that "one of the worst things ... we could ever have happen is have people like Barack Obama say that our troops are air-raiding villages and killing civilians." Hannity also attacked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for saying "that the surge has failed, the war is lost" and claimed that Obama and Reid "need to go over there [to Iraq] themselves and start talking to these guys." Ortiz responded, "[E]xactly. They need to go there themselves, because I've been there, and I don't know about these raids they're talking about, 'cause I never heard anything about that from anybody at all." Contrary to Hannity's suggestion, however, Obama was talking about Afghanistan -- not Iraq -- when he said on August 13, "We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there." Additionally, both Obama and Reid have visited Iraq.

As Media Matters for America has documented, Hannity has previously attacked and mischaracterized Obama's August 13 remarks. On the August 15 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Hannity falsely suggested that Obama "attack[ed] our troops as murderers," and on the August 21 show, claimed that Obama's comments were "not true." In fact, U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan -- and accounts of resulting civilian casualties -- have been widely reported in the media and have reportedly provoked criticism from Afghan President Hamid Karzai and a British commander stationed there. Additionally, as the Associated Press reported in a "Fact Check" responding to conservative attacks on Obama, "Western forces have been killing [Afghan] civilians at a faster rate than the insurgents."

According to a January 5, 2006, Chicago Tribune article, Obama visited Iraq in January 2006 as part of a congressional delegation that was "scheduled to meet with U.S. troops this weekend in Baghdad before traveling to other parts of the country." Reid visited Iraq in April 2005, according to The Washington Post, where he "was confined to heavily fortified zones in and around Baghdad and prohibited from visiting some of the most troubled areas where the insurgency is particularly strong." At an April 19, 2007, press conference, Reid stated that "the [Iraq] war is lost," adding: "The war can only be won diplomatically, politically and economically, and the president needs to come to that realization."

From the September 30 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America:

HANNITY: How did you develop this love for the troops? 'Cause you went on a USO tour in July --

ORTIZ: Yes.

HANNITY: -- and it resulted in a lot of these soldiers signing an American flag, and every time you go into the ring, you wear that flag, you bring that out there with you. You know --

ORTIZ: Well, actually --

HANNITY: -- how did you develop this passion?

ORTIZ: Well, actually, I just got back from Iraq about a week and a half ago, and I received the flag from these troops that really said that, you know, every one of your fights, you walk out with an American flag. And, of course, on the other side, I have Mexican flag, 'cause I'm Mexican-American, of course, and I gotta show both sides of my heritage and support them both. But these guys gave me an American flag by saying, "You know, we all signed it and would you possibly walk out with this for your next fight?" And I said, "You know what? I'll even do better than that. I'm going to dedicate this fight to you guys and have it -- raise it high and be proud of being an American."

HANNITY: You know what? I'm glad to hear you say that. It's amazing, isn't it, how this war has become so politicized? You know, I think one of the worst things --

ORTIZ: Big time.

HANNITY: -- we could ever have happen is have people like Barack Obama say that our troops are air-raiding villages and killing civilians, or Harry Reid say that the surge has failed, the war is lost. I mean, they need to go over there themselves and start talking to these guys.

ORTIZ: They need -- exactly. They need to go there themselves, because I've been there, and I don't know about these raids they're talking about, 'cause I never heard anything about that from anybody at all. It seemed like the war was kind of slow, but the big things were the IEDs that explode on most of our troops that -- it's just terrorists that are just out on the street. They don't know who are the enemy.

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