10 biggest lies spewed by Sean Hannity

On Tuesday, Rep. Keith Ellison accused the Fox News host of telling "mistruths." He was speaking euphemistically

Published February 28, 2013 11:18PM (EST)

Sean Hannity                         (Fox News)
Sean Hannity (Fox News)

This article originally appeared in Media Matters for America.

On the Feb. 27 edition of Hannity, host Sean Hannity replayed part of his Feb. 26 interview with Rep. Keith Ellison. During the exchange, Ellison responded to Hannity's question about the federal debt being "immoral" by saying, "You are immoral for telling lies." Hannity asked, "I'm immoral? What did I do that's immoral?" Ellison responded, "You tell mistruths. You say things that aren't true." Speaking before the clip was aired, Hannity said Ellison "at times, seemed incoherent" and "really started grasping at straws." After the clip was aired, Hannity said to guest J.C. Watts, "I just gave him the rope and said, go. Here you go, rant away."

10. Hannity Hyped RNC's Doctored Audio of Supreme Court Arguments. Hannity uncritically aired a Republican National Committee (RNC) ad that used audio from Supreme Court oral arguments to attack health care reform -- but the audio used in the ad was dishonestly edited. [Media Matters,  3/30/12]

9. Hannity Distorted CBO Data to Attack Obama. Hannity claimed that a January 2012 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report showed that if Obama were to win a second term, taxes would "go up 30 percent." In fact, the report only stated that taxes would increase at such a rate if all the Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire. [Media Matters,  2/2/12]

8. Hannity Falsely Claimed a White House Adviser "Advocated Compulsory Abortion." Hannity claimed that White House science and technology adviser John Holdren "advocated compulsory abortion" and sterilization. PolitiFact had previously rated a similar claim -- made months earlier by Fox News' Glenn Beck -- "pants on fire" false. [Media Matters,  9/9/09]

7. Hannity Falsely Claimed Obama Called the Death of Four Americans "Just a Bump in the Road." Hannity claimed that Obama referred to the death of four Americans in the September 2012 attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi as "just a bump in the road." In fact, Obama was referring to the difficulties Arab countries were facing in transitioning from autocratic rule to democracy. [Media Matters,  9/25/12]

6. Hannity Spread False Report That Egypt Was Considering Necrophilia Bill. Hannity hyped a thinly sourced report from an Egyptian newspaper to claim that the Egyptian government was considering a law that would allow a husband to have sex with his dead wife. The Christian Science Monitor called the story "utter hooey," and multiple sources later debunked the claim. [Media Matters, 4/30/12; Huffington Post,  4/26/12]

5. Hannity's Special on "Liberal Bias" Featured Wildly Distorted and Out-of-Context Quotes. Hannity's "Behind the Bias" special, in which he purported to investigate the "bias" of "the mainstream media," featured multiple deceptively cropped quotes. For example, he played a clip purporting to show that Katie Couric called President Ronald Reagan "an airhead"; in fact, Couric was citing a conclusion from a biography of Reagan. [Media Matters,  4/24/11]

4. Hannity Cast Doubt on Scientific Consensus About Climate Change. Even though the overwhelming majority of scientists agree that global warming is occurring and is likely caused or exacerbated by human activity, Hannity has repeatedly denied or cast doubt on the existence of climate change. [Media Matters,  12/4/091/13/108/27/1011/19/106/24/11]

3. Hannity Fueled Myth That Obama Is a Muslim. During a segment in March 2011 in which he fueled the smear that Obama was not born in the U.S., Hannity claimed that Obama "went to a Muslim school." In March 2012, while claiming that he was "not doubting [Obama's] faith," Hannity said, "[L]ook, he did write about his early years, that he did study the Quran, that one of the most beautiful moments in life was prayer at sunset. So, I mean, he does have that background." [Media Matters,  3/24/113/21/12]

2. Hannity Fed the Birther Movement. Hannity repeatedly fed the long-standing smear that Obama was not born in the United States, even after Obama released his birth certificate and multiple fact-checkers debunked the smear. Hannity denied that Obama had shown his birth certificate and once falsely claimed that Obama "grew up in Kenya." [Media Matters, 3/28/11, 4/20/12]

1. Hannity Ignored Overwhelming Evidence to Repeatedly Claim Obama's Policies Have Not Helped Improve the Economy. Hannity has repeatedly claimed that President Obama's policies have not improved the economy. In fact, numerous economists and independent analysts have noted that many of Obama's policy achievements, such as the stimulus, have benefited the economy: GDP is growing rather than contracting as it was at the end of 2008, and the economy has added millions of jobs. [Media Matters, 1/13/10, 7/14/11, 2/2/12]

By Chelsea Rudman

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Barack Obama Fox News Keith Ellison Media Matters Sean Hannity