"[J]ournalist" Sean Hannity gives bogus defense for interviewing Andy Martin
Research ››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER
On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity defended his report featuring Andy Martin -- who has called a judge a "crooked, slimy Jew" and accused African-American public officials of corruption -- by saying: "I'm a journalist who interviews people who I disagree with all the time, that give their opinion. Fox has all points of view." However, during the report, Hannity did not challenge any assertion or statement by Martin, nor did he mention any of Martin's anti-Semitic and racially charged statements.
On the October 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity defended his October 5 interview with Andy Martin -- who has called a judge a "crooked, slimy Jew" and accused African-American public officials of corruption -- by saying: "I'm a journalist who interviews people who I disagree with all the time, that give their opinion. Fox has all points of view." However, during the October 5 segment, which aired on Fox News' Hannity's America, Hannity did not challenge any assertion or statement by Martin, nor did he mention any of Martin's anti-Semitic and racially charged statements.
On Hannity & Colmes, Robert Gibbs, an adviser to Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign, said to Hannity: "On your show on Sunday ... the show that's named after you ... [t]he centerpiece of that show was a guy named Andy Martin." Gibbs added that "Andy Martin called a judge a 'crooked, slimy Jew' " and that "Martin went on to write that he understood better why the Holocaust took place." During the exchange, Hannity said: "When I interviewed Malik Shabazz, when I interviewed Al Sharpton, when I interviewed all these controversial figures -- you see, on Fox, we actually interview people of all points of view, whether we agree or disagree." Gibbs later asked, "Why am I not to believe that you're anti-Semitic? Why am I not to believe that everybody who works for the network is anti-Semitic because Sean Hannity gives a platform to somebody who thinks Jews are 'slimy'?" Hannity, who told Gibbs that Martin's anti-Semitic comments are "despicable," further asserted: "Mr. Gibbs, I'm a journalist who interviews people who I disagree with all the time, that give their opinion. Fox has all points of view. We're allowing you on the program, and I don't agree with hardly anything Obama says."
However, despite Hannity's acknowledgment that Martin's comments about Jews are "despicable," not once during the report featuring Martin did Hannity question an assertion or a statement from Martin. And as Media Matters for America has documented, Hannity also failed to note Martin's history of smears against Obama and his anti-Semitic and racially charged comments.
By contrast, Hannity has openly disagreed with statements made by others on his television shows, including those by Rev. Al Sharpton and Black Lawyers for Justice spokesman Malik Shabazz, both of whom Hannity cited in defending his interview with Martin.
From the April 22 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America, in which Hannity debated Sharpton (transcript retrieved from the Nexis news database):
HANNITY: Reverend Al, the only people I see that are using race in this campaign is Barack Obama himself, who brings it up a lot, and a lot of his surrogates. For example, he said many times on the campaign trail, "They're going to try and make you afraid of me. They're going to say I have a funny name. They're going to say I don't look like those guys on the currency. Oh, and did they tell you, he's black?"
Can you name anyone in the McCain campaign, any prominent Republican, that has brought up any of those issues?
SHARPTON: Well, again, I think you missed what I said. I said that I don't think that race is going to be the deciding factor.
HANNITY: I'm not asking you that. Barack Obama has said this five times himself, and I've got it on tape every time. He said this.
SHARPTON: I think that, if I recall, Barack Obama stood in this city, Sean, and made a whole speech about race and how we must get beyond it, so I don't see how the one that tried to heal...
HANNITY: Wait a minute.
SHARPTON: ... the whole racial polarization that was raised about his own pastor, how...
HANNITY: No, that's not accurate. He was there...
SHARPTON: ... how you can now make him the one that is being racially polarized.
HANNITY: No, he was there -- he was there to stop the political bleeding when his pastor of 20 years, his spiritual mentor, you know, called us the U.S. KKK of A. and "America's chickens have come home to roost," and not "God bless America," "G-D America." So he said it at that time.
But Barack Obama said repeatedly that "they're going to say I have a funny name. They're going to say that I don't look like the guys in the currency. They're going to say, "Oh, by the way, he's black.'"
The only people that I see bringing up race is Barack himself, Kathleen Sebelius, Governor Paterson, and now Michael Dukakis today. All Obama surrogates. Who in the Republican Party is bringing up race?
SHARPTON: I think that -- I think, of course -- I would expect a lot of people that are going to try to attack -- going to try to distort the picture. The fact is I think he's gone out of his way and has even been attacked by some in the black community for going out of his way.
HANNITY: Then why does he keep saying that?
SHARPTON: I would like to be able to finish.
HANNITY: Go ahead.
From the July 16, 2007, edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes , in which Hannity interviewed Shabazz (from Nexis):
HANNITY: Malik, do you believe, because we're talking about Nazi references by Keith Ellison. But in your life, do you believe Jewish people had any evidence of 9/11 ahead of time, as you have suggested in the past?
SHABAZZ: I only know that Ariel Sharon was scheduled for a news conference at the White House that was abruptly canceled on September 11th. Again, the families of those victims of 9/11 are saying that the government had foreknowledge of what was going to happen and could have been prevented. Congressman Ellison is saying that the U.S., that Bush manipulated the war, the 9/11 events to create a bogeyman called the Muslims, like Hitler created a bogeyman called the Communists, to rise into problem.
HANNITY: Here's my problem here. Here's my problem. You were friends with Khalid Mohammed (ph), who once used the term, you know, "hook- nosed, bagel-eating, lox-eating, so-called Jews." You're friends with Louis Farrakhan.
SHABAZZ: That's off the topic. You are way off the topic.
HANNITY: No, it's not. It's about your conspiracy theory. It's about your associating with known anti-Semites. And now we have a congressman that uses Nazi references to refer to the Bush administration.
SHABAZZ: It's about you. Bush has gone from 90 percent approval to 20 percent. You, Sean Hannity, must face it. He's on a sinking ship with George Bush.
From the October 7 edition of Hannity & Colmes:
GIBBS: Let's do this -- do you think -- so you think he's guilty by association, right?
HANNITY: No, I would -- I, Sean Hannity -- here's my answer -- would never sit on a board with a guy that bombed our Pentagon or our Capitol, and I want to know --
GIBBS: Can I ask you -- can I ask you a question?
HANNITY: No, no -- wait, wait. Why does Barack Obama sit on a board with -- why did he stay, knowing his past, why did he be friends with him?
GIBBS: What William Ayers did was deplorable, and when he did it, Barack Obama was 8. And Barack Obama said it was a deplorable act.
HANNITY: Then why would he sit on a -- why would you sit on a board -- would you sit on a board that a guy that bombed the Pentagon and wasn't sorry about it?
GIBBS: He sat on a charitable board, and a board funded by a conservative Republican and a friend of Ronald Reagan --
HANNITY: Was that poor judgment?
GIBBS: That was Walter Annenberg -- is who that was.
HANNITY: Was that poor judgment on Obama's part?
GIBBS: I don't think that was poor judgment at all. I think what Barack Obama's done throughout his career is talk about the big issues that are important to him.
HANNITY: No, you're giving me spin, now. I'm asking you --
GIBBS: Now let me ask you one question.
HANNITY: All right, you ask me a question.
GIBBS: OK. Are you anti-Semitic?
HANNITY: Not at all.
GIBBS: OK. On your show on Sunday --
GIBBS: -- you, the show that's named after you --
GIBBS: -- right? The centerpiece of that show was a guy named Andy Martin.
HANNITY: I know you're reading your talking points you brought in.
GIBBS: No, no. I don't have talking points --
HANNITY: When I interview, when I interview -- hang on, I'm going to answer your question. When I interviewed Malik Shabazz, when I interviewed Al Sharpton, when I interviewed all these controversial figures -- you see, on Fox, we actually interview people of all points of view, whether we agree or disagree.
GIBBS: So --
HANNITY: I -- the statement that you're about to read, I --
GIBBS: Andy Martin called a judge a "crooked, slimy Jew" --
HANNITY: I -- I totally, completely --
GIBBS: -- "who has a history of lying and thieving common to members" --
HANNITY: Here's my answer to you --
GIBBS: -- of his race." Martin went on to write that he understood better why the Holocaust took place "given that Jew survivors are operating as a wolfpack to steal my property."
HANNITY: Here's my answer to you: I find those comments despicable. But wait a minute --
GIBBS: You put him on your show. It's the Hannity --
HANNITY: We put Malik Shabazz on the show --
GIBBS: It's the Hannity show.
HANNITY: I put Khalid Mohammed on my show --
GIBBS: Why am I not to believe that you're anti-Semitic?
HANNITY: Let me -- here's -- here's the answer --
GIBBS: Why am I not to believe that everybody who works for the network is anti-Semitic --
HANNITY: Mr. Gibbs -- Mr. Gibbs --
GIBBS: -- because Sean Hannity gives a platform to somebody who thinks Jews are "slimy"?
HANNITY: Mr. Gibbs, I'm a journalist who interviews people who I disagree with all the time, that give their opinion. Fox has all points of view. We're allowing you on the program, and I don't agree with hardly anything Obama says.
GIBBS: Well --
HANNITY: So here's my -- no, no, no -- I'm gonna answer --
GIBBS: I really wish you wouldn't give a platform to virulent anti-Semites, who can't even get a law license in Illinois.
HANNITY: Here's -- I will tell you this -- if I -- if you -- I'll make a deal with you.
GIBBS: Do that.
HANNITY: If Barack Obama admits that what he did by sitting on a board with, giving speeches with, having Ayer -- going over to Ayers' house --
GIBBS: You'll admit you're anti-Semitic?
HANNITY: No, no. I will admit to you -- I will tell you that Barack Obama wants to be president, that it's poor judgment, it is irresponsible, and it's reckless to be -- let me finish -- to be friends with a guy that bombed our Pentagon, was at war with our country, whose motto was to kill our children and kill your parents --
GIBBS: And I think it's deplorable that you have had somebody on TV that's anti-Semitic --
HANNITY: And I think it's deplorable that your candidate for president has not been honest with the American people --
GIBBS: -- that called Jews "slimy" and understands the Holocaust better because of the way he --
COLMES: We only have a short time here.
HANNITY: I'm explaining -- let me finish first -- let me finish. I'm explaining to you --
GIBBS: I can't believe you would give a platform to somebody like that.
HANNITY: So you don't want me to interview anybody I agree or dis -- only I can interview only people you disagree with?
GIBBS: You put your whole show around him, Sean.
HANNITY: Barack Obama -- listen --
GIBBS: Why am I not to believe that you agree with each and every thing that Andy Martin says?
HANNITY: Listen, Barack Obama the president sat in the pew of Jeremiah Wright for 20 years, a guy who hates America. Barack Obama is friends with William Pfleger. I have one last question: Did Barack Obama ever sit and meet with Louis Farrakhan? Has he ever met with Louis Farrakhan?
GIBBS: I don't -- I don't know the answer to that.
HANNITY: Will you give us an answer by tomorrow?
GIBBS: Will you get back to me on whether you're anti-Semitic, or whether you're --
HANNITY: Oh, oh -- I'm not anti-Semitic. I'm the biggest supporter of Israel -- [former Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu blurbed my book.
GIBBS: Let me say I don't think you're Jewish viewers are going to take it very well --
HANNITY: Excuse me -- excuse me --
GIBBS: -- that you put somebody like that on your show --
HANNITY: I am the biggest supporter of Israel, and I've got a 30-year history on the record of it.
GIBBS: Well, ask some of their friends what Andy Martin said. Here, you take this -- you take that --
HANNITY: I'm not friends with a guy that bombed the Pentagon. I'm not friends with a guy who bombed the Capitol --
COLMES: Let me jump in here for a second -- hold on, guys --
HANNITY: Your candidate is friends with him, not me.
GIBBS: Ask some of your -- ask Benjamin Netanyahu about him --
HANNITY: Your candidate is friends with a terrorist.
GIBBS: That's not true.
HANNITY: He sits on a board with a terrorist.
COLMES: Hey, guys -- guys, stop it. First of all, he's not anti-Semitic, he's not --
HANNITY: Thank you very much.
COLMES: He's not anti-Semitic. But look, this game of guilt by association I disagree with on all fronts.