Sean Hannity devoted an episode of his Fox News show to an hour-long special on what he claimed was the media's “liberal bias.” However, several of the quotes he used as examples of this purported bias were deceptively cropped to leave out crucial context.
Hannity Promises “Close-Up Look” At Media's “Liberal Bias”
Hannity: "[I]t Is Common Knowledge That The Mainstream Media ... Are Biased Against The GOP." From the April 22 edition of Hannity -- his “Behind the Bias” special:
HANNITY: And welcome to this special edition of Hannity. Behind the bias, a close-up look at the Obama-mania media's liberal bias. Now, it is common knowledge that the mainstream media from the major television networks to the country's most influential newspapers are biased against the GOP. Tonight, we'll examine some of the major scandals that resulted from this bias, and the victims that it has left in its wake. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/22/11]
Hannity Deceptively Crops Couric's Description Of Author's Opinion
Hannity Clip Shows Katie Couric Calling Reagan “An Airhead.” From Hannity's “Behind the Bias” special:
KATIE COURIC: Good morning. The Gipper was an airhead. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/22/11]
Full Context: Couric Was Citing A Conclusion From A Reagan Biography That Drew A “Tremendous Amount Of Interest And Fire.” From the September 27, 1999, edition of NBC's Today:
KATIE COURIC, co-host: Good morning. The Gipper was an airhead. That's one of the conclusions of a new biography of Ronald Reagan that's drawing a tremendous amount of interest and fire today, Monday, September the 27th, 1999.
Announcer: From NBC News, this is TODAY, with Katie Couric and Matt Lauer, live from Studio 1A in Rockefeller Plaza.
COURIC: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to TODAY on this Monday morning. I'm Katie Couric.
ANN CURRY, co-host: And I'm Ann Curry. Good morning, everybody. Matt's back tomorrow. Perhaps he's still celebrating with the American team that won the Ryder Golf Cup tournament yesterday.
COURIC: That's right. We hope he's having a great time. We'll see him tomorrow. But this morning we're going to begin by looking at this new biography of Ronald Reagan called “Dutch.” The author was actually hand-picked by Ronald and Nancy Reagan, which is why some of his conclusions are so startling. The author, Edmund Morris, will be here for a three-part interview later this week. But in advance of that, we're going to see why Morris thinks Reagan was an airhead, but still a great president. [NBC, Today, 9/27/99, via Nexis]
Hannity Deceptively Crops Cooper's Report On Plame
Hannity Clip Shows Anderson Cooper Labeling Outing Of CIA Operative Valerie Plame As A “Smear Campaign.” From Hannity's “Behind the Bias” special:
ANDERSON COOPER (CNN host): He is the victim of a Bush administration smear campaign. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/22/11]
Full Context: Cooper Was Reporting Wilson's Allegations. From Cooper's July 17, 2003, CNN report:
COOPER: A former U.S. diplomat who investigated Africa's suspected link to Iraq's nuclear weapons program now says he is the victim of a Bush administration smear campaign.
Administration officials say former ambassador Joseph Wilson's report on Niger last year supported the now discredited claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa.
Wilson says that is not true. He spoke exclusively to “TIME” magazine today. He accuses the administration of twisting intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat. [CNN, 7/17/03, via Nexis]
Hannity Falsely Depicts Wallace As “Apolog[etic]” For The Soviet Union
After Stating That Media “Apologiz[e] For ”America's Enemies," Hannity Suggests Mike Wallace Was Speaking Positively About Stalin. From Hannity's “Behind the Bias” special:
GERARD ALEXANDER, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSITUTE: To have a fundamentally conflicted attitude about not just the United States, but whether the United States is a constructive force in the world, that is something that I think really does separates a lot of liberals and conservatives.
HANNITY: The media have been apologizing for America's enemies from the cold war through the war on terror.
MIKE WALLACE, FORMER CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Many Soviets viewing the current chaos and nationalist unrest under Gorbachev look back almost longingly to the era of brutal order under Stalin. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/22/11]
Full Context: Wallace Was Portraying Nostalgia For Stalin As Surprising, Given His “Atrocities.” From the February 11, 1990, edition of CBS' 60 Minutes:
MIKE WALLACE, co-host: During this past extraordinary week in Moscow, Soviet citizens have had a chance to hear with stunning candor reports of a boisterous public debate about the Communist Party unparalleled in the history of the Soviet Union, and it is that current candor, that current glasnost, that is also giving Soviet citizens their most horrifying look at the crimes of their founding father, Joseph Stalin. During the quarter century that he ruled the Soviet Union, at least 20 million Soviet citizens died, victims of Stalin's bloody paranoia, his mindless assault on any and all that he perceived as in any way dangerous to him. An unofficial group called Memoriale in 200 cities across the Soviet Union is digging, researching and publicizing a record of the horrors, the murders, the atrocities committed in the name of, at the direction of Joseph Stalin.
There is a newly discovered mass grave just off the main road linking Moscow and its airport. At the end of a trail, a wooden cross directed a few months ago by Memoriale. Tens of thousands are buried in this ground. No one yet knows how many--slave laborers from Stalin's prison camps. They were among the hundreds of thousands who perished nearby from hunger, disease, exhaustion, worked to death.
WALLACE: When did this all become known to the Soviet citizens?
STEPHEN COHEN [Princeton University professor]: That is a painful question that's being debated here. People say: We didn't know. We didn't know.
GALENA IVANOVA LEWINSON [Memoriale]: The same thing that happened in Germany when Hitler came. Hitler came. Many people said that: We didn't see anything. Nothing happened--the same thing exactly.
COHEN: People worshipped Stalin as a kind of living god. It was bizarre. It's hard for us to even imagine it. It's hard for Soviet citizens today. I know hundreds of them who lived through that--to remember and imagine and understand how they themselves paid homage to this cult.
WALLACE: Incredibly, even many of Stalin's victims didn't believe it was Stalin who was responsible for all the killings, all the arrests. They continued to have faith in their great leader Stalin and his system.
And we say: We believed in him--a lot of us.
LEWINSON: Yes, yes.
WALLACE: As a matter of fact, a lot of Russians still believe in him.
LEWINSON: Yes. That's a trouble. That's a trouble, and that's a question we can't answer ourselves. You're asking me, but we--I can't answer it myself.
WALLACE: Is there resistance to the work of Memoriale in the Soviet community?
COHEN: Powerful resistance. Stalin's grip on this society has not yet been broken. His legacy is everywhere here.
WALLACE: Many Soviets viewing the current chaos and national unrest under Gorbachev look back almost longingly to the era of brutal order under Stalin. In a Moscow marketplace, we conducted our own informal public opinion poll.
What do you remember of Joseph Stalin?
WOMAN #1 (through interpreter): Ah, about Stalin. I remember all the best things about Stalin. I am simply delighted with him. I remember from my childhood that we could see how he cared about simple people, about our nation, about children.
WALLACE: Would you like Stalin back in the Soviet Union?
MAN #1 (through interpreter): Yes, yes, yes, I would like him back. If this was Stalin's time now, people wouldn't be standing about in the marketplace. Half of them would be in prison now, and everyone would work. As it is, there is no one but loafers here, speculators and loafers.
WALLACE: Why do so many people here like Joseph Stalin? They're for Stalin. Why?
WOMAN #2 (through interpreter): There is so much chaos in this country now that everyone wants a new iron hand complete to bring things back to order.
WALLACE: And they're willing to pay the price of Joseph Stalin if necessary.
WOMAN #2 (through interpreter): Yes, they're ready for another Stalin. They're ready, and they are willing to pay the same price of blood.
MAN #2: I'm a Soviet army lieutenant colonel. I'm 37. What I think--that Stalin is in the same boat with Hitler. He's one of the--one of the most terrible tyrants history has ever known. And I hate this man's guts. He murdered in cold blood tens of millions of people.
WALLACE: OK. If that's true, then why do so many people that I'm talking to here say: We need Stalin back?
MAN #2: Stalinism has very deep roots, and . . .
MAN #2: . . . in these people.
MAN #2: Because this country has never had democratic traditions, and now the democracy's an infant in this country.
WALLACE: Look. We are at a market. Food is hard to come by, soap, razorblades, everything is hard to come by, and people are saying: Perestroika, fine, but, you know, we don't have food on our tables, so let's get rid of Gorbachev, get the strong hand of Stalin or somebody like that back.
MAN #2: I do not understand that, no.
WALLACE: But you hear it.
MAN #2: Yes. Yes, I do, and I'm very sorry. I'm very sorry. That means that some time must pass before people realize what--what--that freedom is more than a pan of sausage.
WALLACE: Is it possible that what happened to you, what happened to millions of others, could happen again in this country?
LEWINSON: I don't think so, really. I really don't think so. But it depends on the humans. That's what our Memoriale is for. Memoriale is for that. We hope not, but that doesn't depend on us anymore. It's the young ones. [CBS News, 60 Minutes, 2/11/90, via Nexis]