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Rush To Judgment? No Problem So Long As The Accused Is Black

Reported by Ellen - April 20, 2006

The racial double-standard of Sean Hannity and FOX News was blatantly displayed again last night (4/19/06) during Hannity & Colmes. During the top story, about the arrest of white Duke University lacrosse team members accused of raping a black woman, Sean Hannity repeated his now-nightly complaint about the “rush to judgement and a trial in the media.” But in a subsequent discussion about black Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's scuffle with a police officer, Hannity had clearly adjudged her guilty before charges have even been filed. I don’t understand why the NAACP hasn’t made a formal complaint against him and FOX News.

In the Duke discussion, FOX News correspondent Megyn Kendall was so eager to discuss all the reasons to doubt the charges and sympathize with the white Duke team members under arrest that you had to wonder if she wasn’t moonlighting as their defense attorney. Practically clucking her teeth over the lack of DNA evidence, she neglected to mention, until Alan Colmes brought it up, that 85% of rape cases don’t have it. She also made sure to elicit viewer sympathy for the students. In a dramatic voice she told Hannity, “There is no question that guilty or not, these two Duke lacrosse players’ lives for the time being have been RUINED… You know, they have been convicted, rightly or wrongly, before they’ve had a trial… I must tell you sentiment here in Durham is not on the side of the accuser.”

Cynthia McKinney, on the other hand, was portrayed as deserving her punishment before trial. A report by the police claiming that McKinney hit the officer who grabbed her has been turned over to a grand jury but she has not been accused, much less convicted, of a crime to date. But that didn’t stop Hannity and guest Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson from convicting her ahead of time. “We’re calling up on the U.S. Attorney to punish Cynthia McKinney to the fullest (sic) of the law,” Peterson told Colmes.

“This woman was not grabbed,” Peterson insisted, without explaining how he knew that. “The officer was doing his job. He did not touch her inappropriately.”

Sean Hannity had no objections to this pre-judgment. He responded by listing a series of “facts” to show how McKinney was at fault. “When she wouldn’t stop (the officer) had to pursue her (my emphasis)… She, with a closed fist, punched the officer.” No “allegedly punched” needed here, despite the fact that Hannity insists “allegedly raped” is needed in the Duke case.

As Hannity spoke “MCKINNEY’S FITS AND FIST” appeared on the screen, corroborating the bias against her.

Peterson called McKinney “typical of the so-called black leadership in America today. They feel that they can break the law and use code words like female, black…”

“Woman,” Hannity interrupted with obvious disgust.

“… in order to intimidate white Americans and get away with breaking the law,” Peterson finished.

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