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Hannity Hypes Fabricated Koran Controversy To Drum Up Hatred For Keith Ellison

Reported by Ellen - December 1, 2006 -

There’s a new Black man in Sean Hannity’s sights: Congressman-elect Keith Ellison. Ellison is the first Muslim elected to Congress. According to FOX News, Ellison has confirmed that he plans to use the Koran, not the Bible, in his ceremonial swearing in. The official oath of office is administered without any religious tomes. However, radio talk show host Dennis Prager wrote a hate-filled column accusing Ellison of undermining American civilization and making us more vulnerable to terrorism. Prager’s accusations were the top story on last night’s Hannity & Colmes (11/30/06). Sean Hannity was all ears.

Alan Colmes noted at the beginning of the discussion that Ellison would be sworn in en masse with the rest of the Congress, without a Bible or other religious book, and that his use of the Koran was for ceremonial purposes only.

Prager said, “The ceremony is in fact the important part.” He never explained why he thought so. Instead, he continued, “(The Bible) is the book from which America gets its values.”

I wish Colmes had immediately condemned such an outrageous and un-American statement. Instead, Colmes looked as though he thought the whole issue was ridiculous, and he smiled as he read an excerpt from Prager’s column “(Ellison will) be doing more damage to the unity of America by using the Koran and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9/11.”

“Do you really believe that’s more dangerous than what the terrorists did on 9/11?” Colmes asked. Instead of pressing that point, he and Prager argued over whether or not Franklin Roosevelt was sworn in with a Bible or not. For the record, my money’s on Colmes. He said he got his source from the Library of Congress while Prager never cited one.

“This is because it’s the Koran,” Colmes said.

“Not true,” Prager said. He claimed that he would care just as much if a scientologist used Dianetics or a Buddhist used some of the works of the Buddha.

But is it which book that’s really the point? Prager resides in California. What gives him the right to dictate to an elected representative from Minnesota? Who appointed Prager arbiter of what “America’s book” is? Nobody.

“We are in the age of narcissim, which all that matters is, ‘What do I care to be valuable?’ Prager said, without a trace of irony. Unfortunately, Colmes did not nail him on that one, either. “I care what America cares to be valuable,” Prager announced grandiosely and without any sense that by smearing a duly-elected American official, he had just proven the opposite.

Colmes turned to the other guest, Malik Zulu Shabazz, of the New Black Panther Party. Members of the New Black Panther Party are regular guests on Hannity & Colmes, usually there as a scapegoat representing extremist African-American views. That didn’t happen last night, thank goodness, but it’s hard to imagine that the show couldn’t have found a more mainstream spokesperson to argue against the hate-mongering Prager.

“I don’t personally think the government should be able to dictate what any one person uses in terms of a religious book,” Colmes said. But the government wasn’t dictating the use of any book to anyone. Prager was.

Hannity was uncharacteristically polite and respectful to Shabazz, perhaps because his target for the night was another black man, Keith Ellison. But, with his face in a bullyboy squint, Hannity disingenuously asked Shabazz if it would be OK for Ellison to swear on Mein Kampf. “Where does this stop?”

Where does it stop if a national news network allows a radio talk show host to dictate what religious text to use for any reason whatsoever?

Shabazz made an excellent point, that people like Tom DeLay and Mark Foley swore on the Bible and then disgraced it with their actions.

Hannity’s delicate, bullyboy sensibilities couldn’t deal with that comment. He snapped that this was not about politics. Oh, no, of course not! Hannity went on to quote, with evident approval, Prager’s assertion that Ellison “will embolden Islamic extremists and make new ones, as Islamists, rightly or wrongly, see the first sign of the realization of their greatest goal -- the Islamicization of America.”

“That is exactly how they’ll view it,” Prager declared. He offered no evidence for such a statement, nor was any asked for.

Comment: In other words, it’s the old FOX News refrain that Democrats aid terrorists.

One of the advertisers immediately following this segment was Federal Express. Their website states that the company recently donated $1 million to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial. I wonder how they would feel knowing that they sponsored a show that routinely denigrates African-Americans, paints Democrats – the majority of Americans at this time – as terrorist enablers and accuses a black Congressman-elect of doing more harm than the 9/11 terrorists because he wishes to participate in a ceremony with his chosen book of faith?

You can contact Federal Express via their webmail. As usual, I'll post my email to them in the comments.

You can also contact Hannity at hannity@foxnews.com, Colmes at colmes@foxnews.com and FOX News at comments@foxnews.com.

Media Matters has the video of this segment.