Hannity falsely claimed Obama's "air-raiding villages" statement is a "lie"

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

On Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity repeatedly cited Sen. Barack Obama's 2007 remark that "[w]e've got to get the job done there [in Afghanistan] 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," calling the statement a "lie." Hannity did not note that Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently offered Afghans "sincere condolences and personal regrets for the recent loss of innocent life as a result of coalition airstrikes" and that news outlets have repeatedly reported that U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan have resulted in civilian casualties.

On the October 6 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity repeatedly cited Sen. Barack Obama's August 13, 2007, remark that "[w]e've got to get the job done there [in Afghanistan] 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," at one point calling Obama's statement a "lie." However, as Media Matters for America has documented, Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently apologized for deaths resulting from coalition airstrikes, saying in a September 17 statement: "I offer all Afghans my sincere condolences and personal regrets for the recent loss of innocent life as a result of coalition airstrikes. While no military has ever done more to prevent civilian casualties, it is clear that we have to work even harder. I have asked for a detailed briefing this afternoon about our close air support as well as our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations."

Further, U.S. airstrikes 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, the Associated Press reported in a "Fact Check" the day after Obama's remark: "Western forces have been killing [Afghan] civilians at a faster rate than the insurgents."

During the show, Hannity asked Fox News contributor Dick Morris: "When you want to be president of the United States and you say that our troops that are in harm's way are air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is a lie ... [w]hy is this even a race?" Later in the show, Hannity said to former Rep. Jack Kemp (R-NY): "And I'm just wondering at what point the American people are going to say that his radical associations are air-raiding villages, killing civilians. Why isn't he being held responsible for these radical views?" Kemp responded: "Well, I think he has to be, and I think it's an issue." In a later segment, Hannity said to pollster Scott Rasmussen: "You know, how is it that John McCain puts everything on the line for the surge when it's the least politically popular, because he believes it's right, and he leads, and he's successful. And Barack Obama is nowhere to be found except accusing our troops of air-raiding villages and killing civilians."

As Media Matters has documented, Hannity has previously falsely suggested that Obama "attack[ed] our troops as murderers," claimed that Obama's comments were "not true," praised Gov. Sarah Palin for referring to Obama's remark during the vice presidential debate, and otherwise repeatedly mischaracterized Obama's remark (here, here, here, and here) without noting the widely reported U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan.

From the October 6 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: But let me ask you this: When you want to be president of the United States and you say that our troops that are in harm's way are air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is a lie; when you vote to cut off their funding even though your vice presidential choice says lives will be lost; when you hang out with Jeremiah Wright; when you hang out with Bill Ayers; when you hang out with Father Pfleger; you hang out with Tony Rezko -- why does a part of me -- you know he is the most radical and unqualified candidate, Dick, to even be within reach of the White House. Why is this even a race?

MORRIS: He certainly is the most liberal candidate for president in a long time, but what you're describing, Sean, I think, is only half of the offensive.

[...]

HANNITY: All right, let me ask you this, because I brought this up with Dick Morris. He's friends with an unrepentant terrorist. He sits in Reverend Wright's pews for 20 years, Jack -- 20 years, a guy who hates this country. And I'm just wondering at what point the American people are going to say that his radical associations are air-raiding villages, killing civilians. Why isn't he being held responsible for these radical views?

KEMP: Well, I think he has to be, and I think it's an issue. But the first three issues facing John McCain and the American people tomorrow night, and I think next Wednesday night in New York, are the economy, number one, the economy, number two, and having John McCain as commander in chief in this still dangerous world.

[...]

HANNITY: Explain something to me. You know, how is it that John McCain puts everything on the line for the surge when it's the least politically popular, because he believes it's right, and he leads, and he's successful. And Barack Obama is nowhere to be found except accusing our troops of air-raiding villages and killing civilians.

In the case of the economy, again, McCain following, true to form, puts everything on the line. Obama says, "If you need me, call me. I'll be there in a hurry." How come this benefits him, you know, this mess on Wall Street, and not Senator McCain. McCain warned about Fannie and Freddie three years ago. Why don't people seem to understand this?

RASMUSSEN: Well, let's go back to your first point. Both Obama and McCain thought that, by now, they'd be talking about Iraq, and both thought they'd have a winning issue. Instead, right now, Iraq has been so successful politically in the last few months that it's dropped out as a political issue, and it's -- you know, people are more optimistic about it. And so, that's harmed John McCain, because the minute --

HANNITY: All right, let me ask you.

RASMUSSEN: -- you shift away from national security -- but on the economy, you know, you're trying to connect the dots. You're following this very closely. The American people are uncomfortable with what's happened, and they're uncomfortable with the administration in power, and that's helping Obama.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity & Colmes
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine, Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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