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Hannity

Why Is Administration Targeting Fox News?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," October 20, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ANNOUNCER: This is a viewer warning. "Hannity" is intended for a free-minded, patriotic Americans. This program is not White House approved.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to "Hannity," home of all the news that is not White House approved. The administration doesn't want to hear what we have to say. They want to silence us. They want us to shut up. They want us to get in line. They don't want people asking them the tough questions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANITA DUNN, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: It was a way for us to get our message out without having to actually talk to reporters. We just put that out there and make them write what Plouffe had said as opposed to Plouffe doing an interview with a reporter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Now maybe it's because they don't have any good answers. For example, they don't want anyone questioning where the president's new policy for Afghanistan is While all the president's men are preoccupied fighting a war against the Fox News Channel, they don't seem to be in any hurry to fight that war against our nation's real enemies.

Video: Watch the 'Hannity' segment

It has been 52 days since General McChrystal delivered his recommendations to the Pentagon for a troop increase. That's 52 days since the president's handpicked general gave the commander in chief a recommendation on how to win that war in Afghanistan.

Now in that time, the president has flown to Copenhagen to get embarrassed by the International Olympic Committee. He's dispatched his henchman in an attempt to silence his critics and even found time for dance parties at the White House.

Now 52 days, that's a long time. It took General George Washington less time to lay siege to Yorktown and secure the surrender of Lord Cornwallis essentially ending the American Revolution.

In 1864, it took less than 52 days for General Ulysses S. Grant to march from Washington to Petersburg, Virginia, and begin the siege that would, in fact, end the Civil War.

And by the way, along the way, he fought battles at the wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse, North Anna and Cold Harbor, among others. And then in the winter of 1944 to '45, American troops on the western front, well, they held their positions at Bastogne and repelled Hitler's final offensive at the Battle of the Bulge.

And guess what? That took less than 52 days.

But the White House, well, they don't want us talking about that. Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said today that a decision about troops in Afghanistan can't wait until the election questions in Afghanistan are settled, but telling you about that has not been approved by White House censors.

At the same time, Bill Kristol reports that Rahm "Rahmbo Dead Fish" Emanuel, he seems to be making declarations about Afghanistan all by himself without even consulting our Pentagon. As when he said this this past Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAHM EMANUEL, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: It would be reckless to make a decision on the U.S. troop level, in fact, you haven't done a thorough analysis of whether, in fact, there's an Afghan partner ready to fill that space that the U.S. troops would create and become a true partner in governing the Afghan country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Excuse me. Who elected this guy to make decisions about Afghanistan? Now it would appear that the political hatchet men in the White House are trying to hijack troop decisions away from the Pentagon?

But in the world of make-believe and through their looking glass at the White House podium, the press isn't supposed to ask about that, because to do so would mean that you are under White House control.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DUNN: Very rarely did we communicate to the press anything that we didn't absolutely control.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: I think we're going to stay out of that rabbit hole.

And joining me tonight with more is former White House press secretary Dana Perino, Democratic strategist Bob Beckel, both Fox News contributors.

All right, so, we have a general, Dana, you know, asking for a really serious request, saying that if we don't get these troops, we're going to lose this war. And — but they've got time to fly to Copenhagen. They've got time to declare war against the Fox News Channel.

And I'm thinking, what are they thinking here?

DANA PERINO, FORMER WH PRESS SECRETARY: It is hard to understand their priorities. I can understand the president wanting to think things through, but it's been a long time. And when you go through your rundown, it does put things in perspective.

I also think that it's interesting that this weekend, Rahm Emanuel did go at great lengths to explain that their priority was creating jobs in America, so it was all these different priorities, and the fact that they've actually been attacking Fox for many months but increasingly so in the last five weeks.

HANNITY: Yes.

PERINO: You have to wonder what their priorities are.

HANNITY: You know, Bob, I got to be honest. And I don't use this term lightly. But it seems like the White House is developing an enemies list. They want to come after the Fox News Channel. They went after Humana. Their senators talking about retribution for health care companies. Legislative retribution.

You know, do you think the White House has their priorities straight here?

BOB BECKEL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, I think — first of all, to your question, who elected McChrystal to make those decisions. But going on.

HANNITY: Whoa, whoa. Obama appointed McChrystal.

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: I understand it but he wasn't elected. And the idea he hasn't done anything done is about as silly as a statement I've heard. But you want to know why — I don't understand why they're going after Fox. Let's get on this subject. I don't want to talk about the rest of this stuff. I talk about it with you all the time.

The fact of the matter is, it's hard for me to understand. I can understand why they don't come on about three hours worth of programming including this one.

HANNITY: Why?

BECKEL: Because — well, because this is bump to bump out there. Who are we kidding? I know this show. I've been on this show. And when you have Karl Rove and.

HANNITY: You have never been on this show. What are you talking about?

BECKEL: I know. Yes.

HANNITY: Well, you're on the show right now.

BECKEL: When you have Karl Rove and Dick Morris — you have Karl Rove and Dick Morris as your medical experts at health care reform and Frank Luntz as your pollster? Now come on. They're not — let's not kid ourselves. We know what this is. This is an opinion show.

• Great American Blog: Sound off on the debate!

HANNITY: Now wait a minute.

BECKEL: And you're...

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: If the president can talk to Ahmadinejad, I would think he could sit down with little old Sean Hannity.

BECKEL: I don't know. It would be...

HANNITY: Is that fair?

BECKEL: I tell you, I think maybe the three of you ought to get together.

Listen, here's my point. This thing I don't understand for Fox is, for somebody like me, in the last three weeks since this has started, the last two weeks, I'm not getting hit from the left as well as the right. I was the perfect foil for the right being called a traitor. Not being called a traitor by both sides.

What I don't understand is, this network, if you take out the three shows I'm talking about, and the news shows have more persuadable voters that the other two.

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: Combined by two.

HANNITY: Dana?

PERINO: Well, I...

BECKEL: And why not go out and get campaign for them? Why give it to the bunch of right-wing kooks?

PERINO: Here's what I think. I think — let's step back for a second. When you are the White House you don't just speak to the 16 reporters who are in the room. What you say at that podium really matters. What you say — as the chief of staff or other members, the senior staff, matters to everybody, including emerging democracies around the world.

And what they see is what they see like dictators do, right? They go after illegitimate news organizations.

HANNITY: Good point.

PERINO: And they think that that's OK. I actually think that they should just step back. I understand not doing opinion shows. But don't rub their nose in it. Just let it go and take the high road.

HANNITY: It seems like...

BECKEL: That's a difficult thing for me. Dana, that's a difficult thing for me -– I've polled Fox and their audience. And for the 15 to 18 hours of programming a day that are not the opinion slashing Obama like Sean's show, that's legitimate news, and those people who listen to that are people who are going to be undecided voters.

PERINO: I don't disagree.

BECKEL: ... going into 2010.

PERINO: I think you're right.

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: And I think it doesn't make.

PERINO: I think you're right. I don't understand why.

BECKEL: I don't understand the politics of it, I guess.

PERINO: It's a bad strategy.

BECKEL: Come one, if you...

PERINO: A short-term gain and possibly long-term pain.

HANNITY: Wait a minute. Could it be...

BECKEL: If you get.

HANNITY: Hang on, Bob.

BECKEL: If you cannot debate Michele Bachmann, then you don't deserve to be in politics.

HANNITY: All right. Could it be...

BECKEL: And if you can't be here and let Michelle Malkin, never let a fact get in the way of what she says.

HANNITY: Stop. Bob, stop the personal attacks. Here's a question, though.

(CROSSTALK)

BECKEL: There is nothing personal about that.

HANNITY: Could it be that they want to energize their base. They see that their agenda is failing, and they wanted — they almost want to isolate an enemy as part of a distraction tactic.

PERINO: It could be. I think one of the things is that when you're at the White House and you feel like you're under siege, then one of the good things that makes you feel better is if you feel like you're fighting back and if you have an opponent.

For a long time, for this — when he was candidate Obama, and then when he was president for a while, his opponent was George W. Bush. That's not the case anymore.

And so they're looking for other opponents to fight. And I do think it probably placates the left a little bit but again, he's going to be resident for at least three more years, and he needs to have a longer-term strategy.

HANNITY: It seems to me, Bob, that it's not very presidential. Look, when he — during the campaign, it seems even David Axelrod said he basically can't take a punch, you know — you know, speaking metaphorically that he doesn't take criticism very well.

You know that's why he lashed out at me throughout the entire campaign. I'm sure somebody said you've got to stop. Every time you do it, you are giving "Hannity" another promo, which by the way, I appreciate it.

BECKEL: I know you appreciate it. It helps your ratings. I know it to be a fact. But listen, there have been some things said at some other shows that I don't blame him for being upset about, but on the news part of Fox, which is the overwhelming percentage of Fox. I have done this now six years, I have never been asked to alter what I say, and you well know I put some pretty partisan things.

I drive you crazy every week by saying Barack Obama is the greatest economic president since Roosevelt.

HANNITY: You're giving me a headache now.

BECKEL: The fact of the matter is during the day these are legitimate, bona fide news shows, and you cannot say these things to people like Brit Hume and Bret Baier.

HANNITY: All right, last question.

BECKEL: It's not fair.

HANNITY: I want to throw this at Dana. You've dealt with the media. For the media sort of to allow this to happen to Fox I think is foolish. I would expect the media any day now to come to Fox's defense. Jake Tapper, to his credit, asks some pretty interesting questions today.

But are they making a mistake by allowing the White House to isolate them. And are they putting themselves in the position where they're compromised?

PERINO: It's astounding to me that they would be — that they would just sit back and let it all happen. Because I have a feeling that if I had done this from the White House podium, that their reaction would have been different.

HANNITY: Yes.

PERINO: And I think about what they think about...

BECKEL: It would have been.

PERINO: ... what happened in other countries where news organizations are muzzled and they have a very different reaction.

BECKEL: Can I just make one more quick point?

HANNITY: We don't...

BECKEL: Can I make one more quick point?

HANNITY: Bob, we've got to run.

BECKEL: I speak to — as a liberal, I speak to more people in a week that you would get than those other two networks in three months. And so I don't understand. And these are people who are going to vote. And let's get real here. We need those voters. Those other people on those other networks, they've already gotten those.

HANNITY: All right.

BECKEL: It's here if you can actually make some votes.

HANNITY: Beckel, I need to have a sit-down with you in an intervention. I'm working on it. It's coming. All right. We have got to run.

BECKEL: I've had a few of those in my life.

(LAUGHTER)

HANNITY: All right, still a lot more. Thank you guys for being with us.

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