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Impugning A Black Woman More Important To Sean Hannity Than The Fourth Amendment

Reported by Ellen - May 19, 2006

Hannity & Colmes spent a double segment (again!) on the Duke rape case last night (5/18/06) but no time on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s eight-hour hearing yesterday on Gen. Michael Hayden’s nomination as head of the CIA. The hearing, described as “contentious” by the Los Angeles Times, seemed to have no lack of drama and the issues – privacy vs. security in a post 9/11 country – couldn’t have been more compelling as the senators probed Hayden’s role in the controversial NSA surveillance program. Furthermore, there are some real questions as to whether the actions of the Bush administration are legal. But those issues have been repeatedly ignored on H&C in favor of the “latest developments” in the Duke case.

While Roger Ailes likes to say about FOX News, “We like America,” he doesn’t seem to mind a bit that Hannity & Colmes won't let our legal system take care of the Duke rape matter. Instead, Sean Hannity hectors the Durham District Attorney nightly in a blatant effort to sway the case. FOX News seems as though it couldn’t care less that White House snooping on Americans is raising alarm across the country (See Newsweek and USAToday polls), that the Bush administration has lied to Americans about what it’s doing (Attorney General Gonzales told us in February that Bush did not authorize "domestic surveillance," because "there was a judgment made that this was the appropriate line to draw in ensuring the security of our country and the protection of the privacy interests of Americans.") There is also real evidence that the program isn’t working and isn’t making us safer.

Meanwhile, Sean Hannity seems obsessed with trying to impugn the black woman who has accused a group of Duke lacrosse players of raping and assaulting her. “Why are people ignoring the very dubious past of the accuser?” an impassioned Hannity asked. “As I look at this case, I’m getting more frustrated every day… I want to know why… (people) ignore the fact that 40 guys contradict the story of a woman that was passed out drunk, according to police that night, they ignore her past allegations of rape against three men. They ignore a report that she tried to run down a cop with a – having a, you know, a drunk driving rate at twice the legal limit. There’s no evidence at this point but everybody wants to assume that this woman with no credibility is telling the truth.”

Caught up in all that emoting, Hannity somehow forgot that one of the Duke defendants, Collin Finnerty, was arrested for assault less than six months before the alleged rape occurred.

Hannity never seems to tire of saying that there is no evidence in the case (despite the fact that he seems to take his talking points from the defense, only) yet acquitting the defendants is never enough for him. He seems to have a need to convict the accuser and the DA, instead. “We are looking at a woman that has dubious credibility by anybody’s standard.”

Legal analyst Peter Johnson, with a straight face, praised Hannity for his open mind. But Johnson, who usually spends much of his on-air time knocking Democrats rather than analyzing the law, made some good points last night. He told Hannity that the presumption of innocence of the defendants was not a presumption that the accuser was lying.

Hannity may not show much concern for the Fourth Amendment rights of ordinary Americans but nothing in the world seems more important to him than the rights of the Duke defendants. Complaining that the Durham, NC District Attorney planned to “hold these kids for over a year” (despite the fact they’re all out on bond), open-minded Hannity wondered, “What if they turn out to be innocent? … A DA should not have the right to hold peoples’ lives in the balance and cost the family millions of dollars and they end up with nothing at the end of the day.”

I wonder if Hannity has ever uttered one word of concern for poor, black suspects who don’t have rich families to bail THEM out of jail or the prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay, some of whom have been held for years without even being charged. Something tells me that Hannity only wants to play Clarence Darrow when the defendants are rich white males.

Comment: I have no idea whether the accusation of rape is true, whether the Duke players are guilty or whether the DA has any real evidence or not. I just wish Sean Hannity and FOX News would step back and allow the case to be decided by the very rules of law they profess to care for so much.

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