MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and CNN’s Rick Sanchez both poked fun of Fox News personality Sean Hannity for his on-air commercials for Stanford Coins and Bullion, which is part of the Stanford Financial Group led by Robert Allen Stanford, who has been in the news recently due to charges of fraud. It was the Huffington Post on Wednesday that pointed out the talk show host’s spots for Stanford. Olbermann named Hannity his “Worst Person in the World” on Thursday evening for the radio spots for Stanford.
Nineteen hours later, on Friday afternoon’s Newsroom program on CNN, Sanchez gave the misleading impression that Hannity was still doing the live spots even after the news of the investigation into Stanford came out: “Sean Hannity unabashedly endorsed Robert Allen Stanford on the air to millions of potential customers -- the same Fox News host who calls President Obama a socialist.” An on-screen graphic during Sanchez’s segment indicated that his source for the story was the Huffington Post, while another graphic asked, “Who’s Your Friend, Sean?”
The “friend” term used in the CNN graphic was a reference to a term Hannity used during the live radio commerical: “As a matter of fact, two weeks ago, I ordered some gold from our friends at Stanford Coins and Bullion...” After playing an audio commercial from one of the radio spots, Sanchez used two of Fox News’s slogans to make fun of the situation: “Fair and balanced? We report. You decide. And you can decide, and do so at my blog, cnn.com/ricksanchez, where you’ll also see our open invite for Mr. Hannity’s response on this.”
The transcript of the relevant part of Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” segment, which began 50 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of Thursday’s Countdown program on MSNBC:
KEITH OLBERMANN: But our winner -- the ‘Manatee’ [Sean Hannity]. You heard of the latest Bernie Madoff-wannabe [Robert] Allen Stanford, the Texas billionaire -- certificates of deposit guru, who fled after being charged with trying to defraud 50,000 of his clients out of $8 billion. They found him tonight. One of his scams is the Stanford Financial Group, and one of its scams is Stanford Coins and Bullion. And guess who one of Sean Hannity’s biggest radio sponsors is? He even reads their commercials himself.
SEAN HANNITY (from radio): I’ve been buying gold. As a matter of fact, two weeks ago, I ordered some gold from our friends at Stanford Coins and Bullion. Call Stanford Coins and Bullion and mention my name -- get a free guide book of U.S. coins free with purchase, or go to the web stanfordcoins.com/hannity
OLBERMANN: (in ‘imitating’ tone) ‘Mention my name and get your pockets picked personally by Allen Stanford, and if you order now, he will come to your house and he’ll vacuum out the gold from your teeth.’ (back to normal tone) You wait. Before the economic scandals finish shaking out, Sean Hannity’s company will be left applying for a bail-out from the Obama administration. Maybe he can melt down his statuette for being tonight’s ‘Worst Person in the World!’