In the days following Superstorm Sandy last Monday, the Tri-state region undertook an unprecedented recovery effort, airlifting in utility trucks and crews from as far away as California to restore power to over 8 million in the dark. Most had power back in the first few days, with federal, state, local and ad hoc efforts fine tuned on assisting those most in need.
Cops and fire crews had been busting their tails keeping us safe, pumping flooded areas, fighting fires, rescuing hundreds and defending their own homes from devastation. Teachers served in storm shelters and activist groups like Occupy Sandy
organized hundreds to help elderly and disabled residents stuck in high rises in darkness without food or water. Marines, National Guard and FEMA agents were operating throughout the region drawing wide bipartisan praise.
With a few exceptions, NYC schools reopened by Friday. Generators, batteries, water were all in stock for sale. Though the NYC Marathon was cancelled, the Knicks, Nets and NFL games were all sellouts. By the next Monday, gas was not hard to find, particularly off hours. For most, life was returning to normal, readying for Tuesday's elections.
So it was cold and ugly to hear Sean Hannity Monday night calling the relief effort "a disaster" and quoting Rudy Giuliani, "worse than Katrina".
In the Katrina disaster, almost 2,000 died and over 750,000 were displaced, with damage estimates topping $100 billion.
President Bush snoozed for days as bodies floated down the Mississippi River.
It's not news that Hannity will say anything to take shots at President Obama, but in this case, he throws the whole area's storm relief efforts under the bus:
In the above clip, Hannity claims there is "a MINIMUM four hour line" for gasoline "all across the entire region" which was provably false. Even as he was saying this, I was driving by a Sunoco on a major interstate with six active pumps and wait times only slightly longer than a typical evening rush. By the following morning, those gas stations that were open had no lines at all, as pictured:
Is This In The Public Interest?
Hannity painted a fake, gloomy election-eve picture of looting and rationing in the region, speaking even of "people screaming for help". In fact, gas rationing would more accurately be described as anti-hoarding measures. In my county, customers were told to limit gas purchases to $40 which is basically a full tank for an average car, but rationing had been called off by Monday anyway.
The first reports of looting came Tuesday when NYPD announced several arrests in Brooklyn. Since then reports of about 15 looting arrests were isolated in Staten Island and the Rockaways. In some cases, there was simply confusion over possessions left unguarded in the streets. There's no doubt the storm opened opportunities for criminal acts across NY and NJ, but it's unrealistic and cynical to expect a Republican president would have stationed a cop on every corner in high-crime areas given all we know about the GOP's budget cutting history.
Caught! Hannity Faked "Scab" Audio
Then this morning we found that Hannity was also caught falsifying
audio of unions harassing utility workers from Alabama who'd come to assist in the emergency. Mr. Hannity aired a tape actually recorded at a 2011 strike against Verizon in which union workers yelled "scumbag" and "scab" at replacements.
Hannity's narrative had to be refuted by the electrical companies who confirmed crews were never 'sent away'. Then the IBEW confirmed there was never any policy in place to challenge visiting repair crews during a crisis, and finally, NJ Governor Chris Christie vowed he'd never stand for anything like this, threatening a new executive order if necessary. Taxpayers were outraged Hannity's political games distracted elected officials and response teams during this critical time, leaving questions about WABC's fitness as an FCC licensee sworn to serve the public interest.
The Daily Caller apologized for sharing Hannity's malicious, deceitful clip, heard in full here
, but Hannity has yet to man up for smearing local electricians during an emergency.
This immediately reminds us of the incident where Hannity was caught editing crowd scenes into a small Michele Bachmann rally promoted on his show.
In that case, Hannity apologized
, but only after he was embarrassed by Jon Stewart on Comedy Central.
Caught in deceptions and contradictions
time and again, Hannity has rarely corrected the record, but audiences have come to expect this from a guy so two-faced he calls his show "the best election coverage on the dial" at the same time he calls it the "Stop Obama Express".
In a more candid moment, Hannity also admitted Monday he was agitated and upset because he lost power and couldn't watch TV during this catastrophe. Boo hoo.