After highlighting reports last week that the House ethics committee was investigating whether former Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) had sexually harassed a member of his staff, conservative media pivoted to promote Massa's subsequent claim that the Democratic leadership had orchestrated the investigation in order to force him out of office because he opposes health care reform legislation.
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Hannity compares Massa to Foley, then runs with Massa's allegations
Hannity on March 3: "[R]emember how big an issue the Mark Foley case was?" On the March 3 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity stated (transcript from the Nexis database):
HANNITY: All right, remember how big an issue the Mark Foley case was leading into the 2006 elections? "Politico" reported earlier today that this guy, one-term congressman, Eric Massa, also from New York.
I don't know what's in the water in New York these days. But according to several House aides on both sides of the aisle, you know, this guy is married with two kids, who's being accused -- he's denying it -- but being accused of sexually harassing a male staffer.
Now do you remember the outrage then? So how big an issue -- I guess is my question -- how big an issue is corruption now going to be as we head into these midterms? You think it's going to matter?
Hannity on March 8: "[I]t looks like this is only the latest instance of intimidation to come from the Obama White House." During the March 8 edition of Hannity (from Nexis), Hannity stated that "the White House appears to be resorting to desperate measures to pass a government-run health care takeover. New York Congressman Eric Massa who resigned early this evening says the Democrats are starting to eat their own." After playing audio comments of Massa criticizing the administration and congressional Democrats, Hannity stated that "it looks like this is only the latest instance of intimidation to come from the Obama White House."
Limbaugh: "Congressman Massa, we're doing our part here to make it a national story"
Limbaugh on March 3: "Man, oh man, oh man." On the March 3 edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh stated, "Man, oh man, oh man. New York Congressman Eric Massa, a Democrat, will not seek re-election after only one term in orifice. Literally." After reading allegations reportedly made against Massa, Limbaugh added, "I wonder if he's gonna -- could this be one less vote for Pelosi? I don't know. Doubt it. He'll hang in there."
Limbaugh on March 8: "Congressman Massa, we're doing our part" to make his allegations against Dems "a national story." During the March 8 edition of his show, Limbaugh stated, "Massa says that they're coming after him because of his vote on health care." Limbaugh further stated:
LIMBAUGH: He was asked in this appearance: "Well, why don't you rescind your resignation?" He said, "The only way I can do that is if this becomes a national story." So Congressman Massa, we're doing our part here to make it a national story. But he then said, "But you have to understand something, if I don't quit, the ethics investigation continues and they're going to ruin me that way." What would you do if you were him? What would you do, Snerdley, what would you do? They're going to ruin him anyway. He sounds ticked off enough that I would stay. This guy is as fired up as anybody I've ever heard anywhere opposed this, and the process and how they're getting it done. This guy is going to have so much support from people. We'll see. He's got five hours or four hours unless I was missing something here and he's said today that he's going to go ahead and resign and I haven't seen that.
Fox Nation trumpets "Gay Sex Harass Allegations," then asks "Did Rahm Railroad Out Massa?"
Fox Nation on March 3: "House Dem Resigns Amid Gay Sex Harass Allegations." On March 3, the Fox News website The Fox Nation linked to a Politico story using the headline "House Dem Resigns Amid Gay Sex Harass Allegations":
Fox Nation on March 8: "Did Rahm Railroad Out Massa? Beck Finds Out Today!" On March 8, the Fox Nation front page promoted Massa's scheduled appearance on Glenn Beck's Fox News show: