Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Sean Hannity Beats A Dead Horse (And Likes It!)

Discussing Vince Foster, Sean Hannity asked: "Did a close friend of Hillary Clinton commit suicide, or was it a massive coverup?"

On the July 22 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America, teasing a segment on "the mysterious death of [former deputy White House counsel] Vince Foster," host Sean Hannity asked: "Did a close friend of [Sen.] Hillary [Rodham] Clinton [D-NY] commit suicide, or was it a massive coverup?" During the segment, Hannity asserted that on July 20, 1993: "Vince Foster got in his car and drove to Fort Marcy Park in Virginia. And he supposedly walked through the woods, and depending on which version of the story you believe, he took his own life." He also claimed that "[i]n the minds of some," questions regarding the contents of Foster's files following his suicide "may have provided a motive for foul play." In fact, Foster's death has been conclusively determined by several investigations to have been a suicide. Hannity billed this segment as "one of the darkest and most mysterious" of "The Clinton Chapters," a regular series on Hannity's America whose assertions Media Matters for America has repeatedly debunked. This is the second week in a row that Hannity has baselessly asserted on Hannity's America that the circumstances of Foster's death are still a matter of debate.

The Office of the Independent Counsel -- then headed by Kenneth Starr -- completed its inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Foster's death with a report issued on October 11, 1997, which concluded that "based on investigation and analysis of the evidentiary record, that Mr. Foster committed suicide by gunshot in Fort Marcy Park." The Office of the Independent Counsel's report also excerpted the findings of several other investigations into the death of Vince Foster, all of which conclusively determined that his death was a suicide. These investigations included:

  • An August 10, 1993, joint report by the Department of Justice, FBI, and Park Police, in which Robert Langston, chief of the U.S. Park Police, asserted: "The condition of the scene, the medical examiner's findings and the information gathered clearly indicate that Mr. Foster committed suicide. ... Our investigation has found no evidence of foul play."
  • A June 30, 1994, report by special prosecutor Robert B. Fiske Jr., which concluded that "[t]he overwhelming weight of the evidence compels the conclusion ... that Vincent Foster committed suicide in Fort Marcy Park on July 20, 1993."
  • An August 12, 1994, report by Congressman William F. Clinger Jr., then the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Government Operations, concluding that "all available facts lead to the undeniable conclusion that Vincent W. Foster, Jr. took his own life in Fort Marcy Park, Virginia on July 20, 1993."
  • A January 3, 1995, report by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs stating that "[t]he evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion of the Park Police that on July 20, 1993, Mr. Foster died in Fort Marcy Park from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the upper palate of his mouth."

On January 5, 2001, independent counsel Robert Ray released his final report into the Whitewater matter, which included his conclusions regarding the discovery and removal of documents from Foster's office following his suicide. According to the report, Ray investigated "whether anyone obstructed the investigation of the U.S. Park Police and the FBI by removing or concealing relevant documents from Foster's office," and "whether, in the subsequent investigations, anyone committed perjury, made false statements, or obstructed justice." Ray determined there was "insufficient evidence to show beyond a reasonable doubt that anyone had committed a federal crime," and chose to pursue no criminal prosecutions.

This is the second "Clinton Chapters" segment in which Hannity has suggested that Foster's death was something other than a suicide. As Media Matters documented, on the July 15 edition of Hannity's America, Hannity asserted: "[T]here are still many chapters remaining open from [Clinton's] time at the Rose Law Firm. Take Whitewater and the death of Vince Foster." Hannity closed the July 22 edition of the "Clinton Chapters" by stating: "[T]he most heated debate over Foster's death wasn't political. It had to do with old-fashioned police work. And that's where we'll pick up next week when we open up another chapter in the Clintons." He will discuss "chapter nine, the mysterious death of Vince Foster, part two" during the July 29 edition of Hannity's America.

No comments: