13 October 2008

The ADL (finally) Chastizes Sean Hannity

A recent episode of Sean Hannity's Fox News program, Hannity's America, dedicated itself to presenting a series of questionable allegations about Senator Obama. The episode, a guilt-by-association-fest titled "Obama and Friends: The History of Radicalism," prompted this response from James Rainey of the LA Times:
Even by the low standards of this election's advocacy journalism, the program plumbed new depths -- relying on innuendo and guilt by association to paint the Illinois senator as a dupe of the shadowy forces of the left.

Much of Hannity's report was based on interviews with half a dozen partisan commentators, whose main qualification seems to have been a previously expressed disdain for Obama.

Near the top of the program, the host introduced one of them, Andy Martin, as an "author and journalist." But reporters in his Chicago hometown know Martin better as a perennial political candidate and serial litigant.
Martin also has the reputation of being an unrepentant anti-Semite:

A motion [Martin] filed in a 1983 bankruptcy case called the judge “a crooked, slimy Jew who has a history of lying and thieving common to members of his race.”

In another motion, filed in 1983, Mr. Martin wrote, “I am able to understand how the Holocaust took place, and with every passing day feel less and less sorry that it did.”

In an interview, Mr. Martin denied some statements against Jews attributed to him in court papers, blaming malicious judges for inserting them.

But in [a] “48 Hours” interview in 1993, he affirmed a different anti-Semitic part of the affidavit that included the line about the Holocaust, saying, “The record speaks for itself.”

When asked Friday about an assertion in his court papers that “Jews, historically and in daily living, act through clans and in wolf pack syndrome,” he said, “That one sort of rings a bell. (New York Times)
Following the first airing of "Obama and Friends," people, including Salon's Glenn Greenwald, began questioning why Sean Hannity would play host to someone like Andy Martin. That group now includes the Anti Defamation League. The ADL has sent Hannity a letter claiming that Hannity "ought not" have given Martin "the opportunity to enhance his credentials or his standing by appearing on Hannity's America."

It might be useful to bear in mind that Hannity, himself faithful to assuming others are guilty by their associations with shadowy figures, has been similarly critiqued for his past association with the notorious white supremacist Hal Turner.

Aside: One of Martin's claims is that as a community organizer, Obama "was in training for a radical overthrow of the [U.S.] government" (Greenwald). Apparently, he is the man behind the "Obama is a secret Muslim" meme, which originated in 2004, and he is one of Jerome Corsi's sources for The Obama Nation, a work that has been roundly refuted by numerous organizations (see here, here, and here for examples).

Andy Martin is also a favored figure amongst other anti-Obama groups: he was a featured speaker at the PUMA Conference '08 a few months back, and he's been a guest on Clintons4McCain broadcasts.

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