Last night, Fox News host Sean Hannity made good on his promise to obsessively focus on taking down high-ranking Obama administration officials. He spent almost his entire show talking about President Obama’s so-called “czars,” even featuring a segment called “Land of the Czars.”
At one point, Hannity stopped to address why he and other conservatives call them czars: “mostly because the White House itself does.” To prove his point, he played a montage of four clips by Obama and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs using the term “czars.” Watch it:
This was an incredibly weak montage. A look at the full context of these clips:
— On July 13, Obama did use the term “Drug Czar” when referring to Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
— Hannity’s March 11 clip of Gibbs saying, “I think I’ve been asked in this room any number of times if the czars in our White House to deal with energy and health care had too much power” was in response to a reporter’s question. In fact, the first person to use the term “czar” in that briefing was Fox News reporter Major Garrett.
— At the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association dinner in June, Obama was joking when he said, “ABC is planning a series called ‘Dancing with the Czars.’” It was part of his comedy routine at the dinner.
— Hannity’s fourth clip was taken from the same March 11 press briefing as his second clip. In fact, it was in response to the exact same question, and came just a sentence later.
So basically, all Hannity could come up with is one legitimate use by the Obama administration of the term “czars.” All the others were in response to a reporter’s question or when the President was joking at the media’s overuse of the term.
It’s the media, not the White House, that is driving the term. A search of the White House website finds that the only time Obama actually uses the term “czar” is in reference to Kerlikowske. This position, of course, isn’t new; George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan all had drug czars. The rest of the results for “czar” on the White House website are from reporters’ questions or responses to those questions.
Today’s Progress Report looks deeper into the czar craziness.