Hannity & Colmes Uses Imus Scandal To Attack An African American
Reported by Ellen - April 14, 2007 -
Rather than present a credible, mainstream African American to articulate the black perspective on why Don Imus deserved to be fired, last night (4/13/07) Hannity & Colmes brought back their favorite African American boogeyman, Hashim Nzinga of the New Black Panther Party. Unfortunately, it’s a tactic the show uses often: Put forth an extremist African American as somehow representative of the mainstream, then vilify and demean him for being a racist. With video.
Frankly, I found this interview so disturbing I could hardly write about it. It’s bad enough when Hannity & Colmes pulls this tactic in the normal course of events. But to do so in the context of defending Imus (both Hannity and Colmes are ardent supporters), raises very troubling questions about the racial sensitivity of the hosts, the show and FOX News.
It was pretty clear from the get-go that Nzinga’s booking was a set up to discredit Jackson, Sharpton and African Americans who wanted Imus fired. Hannity spent nearly all of his portion of the interview demanding that Nzinga answer “yes or no” whether some of Jackson’s and Sharpton’s more outrageous quotations (“Hymietown,” “white interloper,” etc.) were acceptable. The fact that Jackson has apologized for the Hymietown remark was never mentioned by Hannity, despite the fact that he bragged about about his own Christian spirit of forgiveness.
Nzinga told Hannity he didn’t care whether or not Imus was fired but, he said, “I 100 percent support” Jackson and Sharpton. So Hannity kept browbeating him to explain why Jackson and Sharpton would not forgive Imus with the same Christian forgiveness they had received for their own transgressions. (You know, the ones Hannity keeps repeating at every opportunity.) It was a neat trick of Hannity’s: Emphasize the flaws of Jackson and Sharpton, then try to make Nzinga look like he was one of them.
Alan Colmes was particularly disappointing. Although he did acknowledge that Sharpton and Jackson have paid the price for their comments with their political careers, he never allowed Nzinga to talk about Imus. Instead, Colmes disdainfully interrupted him and actually seemed eager to pummel Nzinga for his own inflammatory statements. “You want two Americas because you talk about a black nation. You want separation. You want black separatism from white… Thanks for letting us know about YOUR racism and your hate for white people because that says a lot about you and now we know EXACTLY where you’re coming from, which is hatred for anybody who doesn’t have your skin color.”