Lost in Hannity's "liberal translation": the full context of Axelrod's "unhealthy" comment

››› ››› NATHAN TABAK

Sean Hannity aired a clip of David Axelrod's Face the Nation appearance and claimed that Axelrod had "some interesting commentary about the tea parties." But Hannity did not provide the question to which Axelrod was responding, which was about both tea parties and secession.

On the April 20 edition of his Fox News program, Sean Hannity misleadingly aired a cropped portion of an exchange between White House adviser David Axelrod and Face the Nation guest host Harry Smith and claimed that Axelrod "had, well, some interesting commentary about the tea parties that took place this weekend and last week." But Hannity did not provide the question to which Axelrod was responding, which was about both tea parties and Texas Gov. Rick Perry's (R) remarks regarding secession.

During his "Liberal Translation" segment, Hannity aired a cropped clip of Axelrod's April 19 appearance on Face the Nation in which Axelrod said: "I think any time that you have severe economic conditions, there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy." During the segment, the following "translation" appeared on screen at one point:

hannity

Following the Axelrod clip, Hannity commented: "For the past eight years, criticism of the administration was the highest form of patriotism, and now it's unhealthy? So how did this happen? You know, it's really hard for all us regular folks out here to keep up with your changing definitions."

However, the clip Hannity played omitted Smith's previous questions and Axelrod's previous response. As Media Matters for America has noted, Smith asked both about the tea parties and Perry's comments on secession: "What do you make of this spreading and very public disaffection with, not only the government, but especially the Obama administration -- the tea parties this week? You even have the governor of Texas even using the word 'secession'? What -- should Texas be allowed to secede?"

From the April 19 edition of CBS' Face the Nation:

SMITH: What do you make of this spreading and very public disaffection with, not only the government, but especially the Obama administration -- the tea parties this week? You even have the governor of Texas even using the word "secession"? What -- should Texas be allowed to secede?

AXELROD: Well, I don't think that really warrants a serious response. I don't think most Texans were all that enthused by the governor's --

SMITH: But what about the first part of the question? This growing disaffection --

AXELROD: -- by the governor's suggestion. Look, I think any time -- I think any time that you have severe economic conditions, there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy.

SMITH: Is this unhealthy?

AXELROD: Well, we're in a -- this is a country where we value our liberties and our ability to express ourselves, and so far, these are expressions. Now, one thing I would say is, the thing that bewilders me is this president just cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people. So, I think the tea bags should be directed elsewhere, because he certainly understands the burden that people face.

From the April 20 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: The Obama administration comes out swinging -- against tea parties? Oh, no. Senior adviser David Axelrod explains why they're unhealthy. Our "Liberal Translation" is straight ahead.

[...]

HANNITY: Obama senior adviser David Axelrod was the guest of honor on CBS' Face the Nation this weekend, and he had, well, some interesting commentary about the tea parties that took place this weekend and last week, while an A-plus performance has now earned him this evening's "Liberal Translation" treatment. Let's take a look.

AXELROD [video clip]: I think any time that you have severe economic conditions, there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy. ... This is a country where we value our liberties and our ability to express ourselves, and so far these are expressions. Now, one thing I would say is the thing that bewilders me is this president just cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people. So I think the tea bags should be directed elsewhere, because he certainly understands the burden that people face.

HANNITY: All right, David. I love it. Now, I really do. For the past eight years, criticism of the administration was the highest form of patriotism, and now it's unhealthy? So how did this happen? You know, it's really hard for all us regular folks out here to keep up with your changing definitions.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity
Show/Publication
Hannity
Stories/Interests
Propaganda/Noise Machine
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