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Hannity Worried Imus Firing Might Interfere With His Hate Mongering

Reported by Ellen - April 13, 2007 -

It was another unbalanced panel on Hannity & Colmes tonight (4/13/07) as four rich white guys and one inarticulate black man all agreed that Imus should not have been fired. Once again, the entire panel ignored Imus’ long record of racial slurs and failed to recognize as legitimate the sentiments of any African Americans who agreed with his firing. Rather than reflect upon or debate the role of shock jocks and smearmeisters on the air, both Hannity and Colmes seemed more interested in preserving the right of pundits to hate monger. With video.

Hannity started the discussion by wondering, “Who’s next, Rush Limbaugh, Neal Boortz or maybe little old me.”

The guests were Imus’ friend, Bo Dietl; the stuck-in-adolescence Curtis Sliwa, complete with his 1970’s red beret getup; and Dick Gregory. I’m a long time admirer of Gregory but his comments were rambling and less than cogent. He rattled on about how people should say the n-word in full (sorry, but I can’t) and he made the bizarre claim that Imus deliberately brought about his own firing in order to break his contract and get on XM Satellite Radio. I’m pretty sure Gregory thought Imus should not have been fired but I couldn’t swear to it.

If you only watched Hannity & Colmes, you’d think that Imus was fired after one slip of the tongue. In fact, as Media Matters has detailed, Imus has a long history of racist and sexist insults. But while Imus’ history was ignored, Al Sharpton’s and Jesse Jackson’s have been rehashed ad nauseum. Apparently, hate mongering is only OK for white television pundits.

Alan Colmes made the righteous argument that it’s not about Sharpton or Jackson but a question of free speech and that he doesn’t want anybody on the left or right telling him what to say. But who has unfettered free speech rights at work? Certainly I don’t. And while there may not be a politician or community activist influencing his words on the air, I’m willing to bet money there are plenty of corporate bosses at FOX News who do.