You really have to give the wingnut media credit for standing firm in the face of flagrant ridicule. On Sean Hannity’s Fox News program last week he cited a statistic that was not only wildly implausible, it was sourced to an Internet website that was obviously satirical.
The hoax website, Real News Right Now, also prominently displayed plainly absurd (and humorous) articles like “Starbucks Opens Five Stores in Jordan’s 2nd Largest Refugee Camp,” and “Trump: I Would Have Prevented the Asteroid From Killing the Dinosaurs.” The author of these articles is R. Hobbus J.D, who the website says is the recipient of the Stephen Glass Distinction in Journalistic Integrity (Glass was caught making up stories for the New Republic), and the Oscar Mayer Award for Journalistic Excellence. And from this source Hannity reported that…
“You see the backlash emerging now in Europe over the refugee problem from Syria and Iraq. The president said he’s going to bring in 250,000 refugees into this country.”
Of course, President Obama never said any such thing. The fallacy of this statement was reviewed by PolitiFact who gave it their lowest rating of “Pants On Fire.” They noted that neither the President, nor anyone in his administration, had ever articulated a policy to allow anything close to 250,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq. In fact, they note that that number is “three times bigger than the total number of refugees Obama has asked to bring in during 2016 from all around the world.”
Following the exposé of Hannity’s gullibility, he went on the air to denounce PolitiFact as a “liberal website” that was “attacking” him. And after saying that he doesn’t normally waste his time “responding to stupidity” (because he’s normally creating it), he proclaims that “this one time, I’m going to break my rule.” Whereupon he delivers his rebuttal to PolitiFact:
Hannity: Let me teach you simple addition. I was quoting an AP article, entitled ‘Kerry: US to accept 85,000 refugees in 2016, 100,000 in 2017.’ Well, that equals 185,000 right? But that’s not all; according to the same report, the State Department is accepting 70,000 refugees in 2015. In other words, they said the 85 on top of the 70 they took in this year, that equals 255,000. That’s how I came to the number. And by the way, for the record, if you watch my TV show, I never said all of the refugees were Syrian.
As it turns out, addition must not be as simple for Hannity as he suggests. The AP article he referenced did cite John Kerry’s statement that there would be 85,000 refugees in 2016 and 100,000 more in 2017. However, he was referring to “the number of worldwide migrants,” not just those from Iraq and Syria. What’s more, the other 70,000 refugees Hannity mentioned were also worldwide and not exclusively from the troubled region.
So Hannity found a month old article from the Associated Press and distorted the numbers to try to come up with a justification for his prior disinformation. He failed miserably. He also blatantly lied when he said that he “never said all of the refugees were Syrian.” If you read the verbatim quote above, it’s clear that he was explicitly talking about “the refugee problem from Syria and Iraq.” Consequently, it’s Hannity who is stupid and partisan, not PolitiFact. And to top it off, he’s also a liar. It seems like he might have been better off had he just apologized for the incorrect data and moved on to a new bit of dishonest propaganda. But then he’s Hannity and he’s on Fox News. He’s fulfilling his “Special Purpose.”
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.