Fox News uses radical anti-Semite as 'free-speech' expert
Fox News Channel admitted that it went too far when it booked anti-Semitic serial litigant Andy Martin for an appearance on the Oct. 5 edition of "Hannity's America." Host Sean Hannity introduced Martin as an "Internet journalist" who made what Hannity called "the explosive claim that [then-Sen. Barack] Obama's role as a community organizer was a political staging ground perpetuated by the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers."
Prior to his appearance on a prime-time Fox News special, Hannity's guest was best known as an unsuccessful candidate for political office in three states with a history of making anti-Semitic comments in the literally hundreds of lawsuits he's filed against attorneys, judges, court officials and other individuals. In one of his lawsuits, Martin called the judge a "crooked, slimy Jew." In another he wrote, "I am able to understand how the Holocaust took place, and with every passing day feel less and less sorry that it did."
Although he's a law school graduate, Martin was denied admission to the Illinois Bar in the 1970s after a psychiatric finding of "moderately severe character defect manifested by well-documented ideation with a paranoid flavor and a grandiose character." He proclaims himself to be the "People's Attorney General."
Several news organizations have identified Martin — also known as Anthony Robert Martin-Trigona — as the primary source of unfounded rumors that Obama is secretly a Muslim. He filed a lawsuit in Hawaii last October seeking to verify the state's official birth certificate for Obama. The lawsuit was dismissed.
On his website, Martin modestly invites visitors to read his "inspirational life story." Three weeks after Martin's appearance with Hannity, Fox News Senior Vice President Bill Shine apparently was uninspired. "Having that guy on was a mistake," Shine told Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz. "We obviously didn't do enough research on who the guest was."
It wasn't the first such incident at Fox. Last Aug. 4, Fox News correspondent Steve Brown, reporting a story about a Canadian author accused of hate speech against Muslims, interviewed Canadian Paul Fromm, who he identified only as a "free speech activist." Fromm is a little more than that. He is a long-time white supremacist, Holocaust denier and anti-Semite who has attended dozens of racist events including one to mark the anniversary of Hitler's death. But this time, Kurtz did not interview Fox officials, and those officials did not apologize for their lack of prior research.