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Is FOX News Trying To Start A Race War?

Reported by Ellen - December 7, 2006 -

For the third night in a row last night, 12/6/06, Hannity & Colmes harped on the year-old non-story of a no-account black man’s statement that whites should be exterminated. Kamau Kambon is a bookstore owner and, supposedly, a former college instructor who made a horrible statement on a 2005 panel about media coverage of Katrina. Kambon no longer teaches. He owns a bookstore in North Carolina and has stayed out of the media since his controversial remarks. But Hannity & Colmes has done everything to hype the story and sensationalize the “threat” of white genocide and black racism. Kambon’s comments have received far more Hannity & Colmes airtime and webspace than the tragic slaying of African-American Sean Bell, the unarmed bridegroom who died in a hail of NYPD bullets on November 25.

Sean Hannity shouted accusations of “racial politics” at African-American activisits during the two discussions he deigned to participate in regarding the Bell shooting. As I wrote last week, Hannity could have provided a venue for dialogue and made an attempt to promote calm and harmony after such a tragedy. Instead, he used his bullyboy pulpit to fan the flames of hostility. But now, accusing blacks of racism is not enough. The ante has been upped to cries about white extermination, despite the fact that Kambon made no indication he intended to carry out his wishes and nobody seems to have stepped up to endorse them, much less assist in their execution. Nevertheless, Kambon has now been the subject of three Hannity & Colmes “debates” in as many nights.

Last night, H&C didn’t just rehash and re-discuss Kambon’s comments, they sent a camera crew to ambush him outside his bookstore. Hannity proudly played the video of the cameramen badgering and cajoling Kambon. In a teaser for the segment, “H&C Investigates” appeared on the screen.

The cameramen called him “Dr. Kambon” and used other phony gestures of respect designed to sucker him into providing fresh footage for even more FOX News ridicule and contempt. “You can clarify what you had to say… Dr. Kambon, come on, talk to me for a few minutes… Can you tell me about your store?... We want to invite you to come on our program and tell us your side of the story… We really do want to hear what you have to say… There’s a chance to really get your side of the story out.” If that’s not a high-tech lynching, or an attempt at one, I don’t know what is.

The only good thing I can say about this segment was that at least the guest was more of a voice of reason than in the previous discussions. Talk show host Robert Redding, Jr. rightly questioned why the show was fixating on this non-story that’s over a year old.

Hannity, with his sincere face, asked, “But isn’t it time that we, we confront racism? You know, we had a lot of coverage, for example of this racist rant that went on with this comedian.” What is this, tit for tat? Michael Richards is a nationally known comedian who had a public meltdown. I think there’s a disparity in significance here. However, Hannity tried to make up for it by overblowing the academic aspect, another favorite battleground of his. “It seems that there are people in positions of power that hold these kind of views, they teach in universities. It seems that they go unchallenged too often.”

Redding pointed out that Kambon is a former professor and no longer teaches.

“But that’s not the point,” Hannity said, because Kambon was once a professor and that there are others like him with “really, really extremist views, right?” He added, “Why shouldn’t the media confront in any capacity– when we see it, where we see it in any form? …I’ve never seen this man confronted before.”

What Hannity really means is that the media should confront black racism in any capacity because while he’s endlessly fascinated with that subject, he never seems to be interested in it when blacks are on the receiving end. In addition to shouting down the issues surrounding the Bell shooting, Hannity has never talked about racism with regard to Katrina nor has he ever shown any interest in voting rights issues - two other racial issues in the news since I've been monitoring H&C. I’m sure there are at least a few white supremacists out there who have made statements at least as reprehensible as Kambon’s but I suspect there will never be a segment, much less three (and counting) about any of them on Hannity & Colmes.

Even Alan Colmes continued to attack Kambon, and treat him as though he were a person of significance. Comment: Kambon would be a lot less important if the show weren’t constantly making such a big deal out of him. I, for one, am finding the guy more and more sympathetic each time he's trotted out for a public flogging.

Colmes acknowledged that Kambon no longer teaches. “The question is, when he did teach, did he say these things in the classroom?” Oh, really? Then why not try to find out, rather than have guests like Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, who says Kambon’s views are commonplace, or a New Black Panther Party member to serve as a surrogate punching bag? H&C could have easily tracked down where Kambon taught and, if he’s such an extremist, surely there’s a student willing to talk about it.

Redding tried to explain that Kambon made the comments right after Katrina, when blacks were called animals by people like Matt Drudge. “I’m not defending him, don’t get me wrong… What I’m saying is, there needs to be a dialogue about race in America and there still hasn’t been one, post Katrina, post Kramer.”

Colmes insisted there HAS been a dialogue about race. Maybe about Michael Richards, I was away for Thanksgiving when that happened. But I think Redding’s point was that Kambon is not the appropriate vehicle for a discussion about race in America.

Nevertheless, Colmes dismissed Redding’s concerns and made it into an either-you’re-with-us-or-you’re-against-us situation. “We had a guy on last night who would not outright repudiate the statement that whites should be exterminated… When people do make these kinds of ridiculous statements, isn’t it incumbent upon others in the community to say this is not what we stand for?”

Come on, Alan. You’re a better person than that.

You can watch the video on the Hannity & Colmes website. It’s also worth noting that two of the Kambon segments are featured prominently on the H&C homepage. The discussions about the New York City shooting are not there at all.

Sean Hannity is in the doghouse.