Friday, May 8, 2009

Hannity remarks on Tent City

In a section of his blog Hannity's America, the far-rightwing media pundit Sean Hannity of Fox News channel had something to say about Tent City today. The section in his post was called "Tent City Tricks." Here are his remarks:
Liberals love to talk about homelessness, you know, because new crops of homeless people require new forms of government intervention.

Recently, Sacramento's tent city, which is home to a large homeless population, has attracted a lot of media attention. Oprah, for example, sent a correspondent to tent city in order to "humanize the recession," and suggested that tent city sprang up as the American economy tanked and Americans were forced out of their homes.

But apparently, the facts suggest otherwise. According to a Sacramento homeless activist, the homeless have camped there for decades, and while media outlets peddled the idea that families were driven from their homes, the reality is that, "90 percent of encampment residents were 'chronically homeless' single individuals living on the streets for extended periods."

Then again, the mainstream media aren't exactly famous for letting the facts get in the way of a good story.
While Hannity is certainly right that the media – mainstream, included – didn't let facts get in the way of the "humanize the recession" story everyone was after, he's narrowly wrong about several things.

There have been stray tents and small groupings of tents in the Tent City location, east of Blue Diamond Almond, but never the more-significant community that was there beginning in late November. Police roustings of small groupings of tents in Sacramento, including the collection of tents near North B and Bannon and in so-called Crack Alley led to a more significant population in the Tent City location. The population there was never more than 300, and not the 1200 souls that some news organizations reported.

While Hannity is right that there simply were not many families in Tent City, it was not the case that 90% who were there were among the chronically homeless. It was a high percentage, but not that high. The chronically homeless is usually defined as people who have been homeless for a year or more, including the past three months.

Also, being a wingnut, Hannity loves to mischaracterize liberals. Liberal don't love government intervention, they just dislike human suffering. Go figure.

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Blogger steve said...

If, and I assume you were, the "homeless activist" to whom Hannity was referring, doesn't it make you proud as the day is long that SEAN HANNITY, of all people, is quoting YOU to make an argument against the damn liberals? :-) :-(

May 8, 2009 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

No, I wasn't the "homeless activist" that was referred to.

I would never have said that Tent City had been at that location for decades.

I'm proud to say I did not add to any argument against the liberals.

May 9, 2009 at 9:49 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

As a Gilda Radner character on SNL would have said, "NEVERMIND."

May 9, 2009 at 11:45 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

Ooop. Wait a minute! Hannity well MIGHT have learned about the "decades" thing from this blog. See my post Robert V. Tobin's assessments of Sac'to homelessness where Robert Tobins says the fact allaying the fiction is that "homeless people have camped there [ie, the Tent City location] for decades.

ALSO, Hannity's quote "90 percent of encampment residents were 'chronically homeless' single individuals living on the streets for extended periods." is in my blogpost, coming from Tobin's article in Politics Daily.

BUT it is most likely Hannity didn't see my blogpost, but instead just Tobin's article. I say that because Hannity rips liberals and Politics Daily is a liberal webspace. And because Tobin is clearly advocating for funding for his industry, transitional housing.

May 9, 2009 at 12:39 PM  

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