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Hannity Gets A Pass From Sharpton While Exploiting Racial Attacks On Obama

Reported by Ellen - January 15, 2008 -

White supremacist sympathizer Sean Hannity has developed a sudden sensitivity for racial attacks against Barack Obama. Hannity may be the only American not in the KKK (and I’m only assuming he’s not) who thought the Jena 6 issue involved reverse racism and the only American, period, who has “celebrated” Martin Luther King day by attacking African Americans. In fact, Hannity has repeatedly and falsely made his own racial attacks on Obama. But now that the Clintons have been accused of playing the race card against Obama, Hannity couldn’t be more interested. He was so interested that he catalogued nearly every bit of dirt thrown Obama’s way, and then blamed the Clintons for it. Guest Al Sharpton made the excellent point that “the race card” was a distraction from the real issues but he never confronted Hannity over his transparent agenda nor his unfounded attacks. With video.

It’s hard to believe that Sharpton would not have suspected any ulterior motive behind last night's (1/14/08) discussion on Hannity & Colmes. But if he did, he kept it to himself. He told Hannity, “I think that we are avoiding the real issues and dealing with a whole lot of rhetoric back and forth. The real issues is what I would like to see the candidates and their surrogates get down to, rather than this whole back and forward that wastes everybody’s time. “

Naturally, Hannity brushed off that point in order to enumerate nearly every racist attack against Obama that could be squeezed into the brief discussion. “Well, let me ask you, because there’s been a series of attacks,” Hannity said with feigned concern. “Bill Shaheen, who is the husband of ex-governor of New Hampshire Jean Shaheen, you know, raised the question of whether or not Barack sold drugs, Barack Obama sold drugs, similar to the comments that we just heard (Bob Johnson of BET saying that the Clintons had been fighting for civil rights since Obama was 'doing something in the neighborhood that I won’t say what he was doing'). Andrew Mayer said about Bill Clinton, 'He’s probably gone with more black women than Barack,' he’s a supporter. Bob Kerrey talked about Barack Obama spending a little time in a secular madrassa, called him ‘Barack Hussein Obama,’ his full name. Do you think that the Clintons in any way are playing the race card here?”

Sharpton repeated his point, that all that served as a distraction from the real issues of importance to African Americans, disparity in justice, incomes, health care, etc. “Maybe we should get to the issues, rather than going through that.” And yet, Sharpton never pushed Hannity to get to those issues and was curiously tolerant of Hannity’s machinations. Sharpton, a minister, never brought up the fact that Hannity has repeatedly assailed Obama’s minister, his church and his faith as being “black separatist.”

Undeterred, Hannity, the newly minted civil rights advocate, repeated his criticism of the Clintons from Friday night: He claimed that Bill Clinton’s record was not so good (because of his past association with Senator J. William Fulbright, a segregationist, according to Hannity) whereas Bush appointed more African Americans to higher positions than Clinton.

Sharpton had a good comeback: “Appointing African Americans does not mean you have a good civil rights record and that’s why we need to get to the civil rights issues of the status in terms of the gap between blacks and whites in the country. That’s the issue.” But Sharpton never questioned why Hannity was avoiding those issues in order to harp on the accusations made by Clinton against Obama.

Alan Colmes gave Sharpton an opening to address the ways in which conservatives (think: Hannity) have exploited the race issue vis a vis Obama. “It seems to me that conservatives, who don’t like Hillary Clinton to begin with, want to attack the Clintons and make it seem as though they’ve got a race problem even though, here’s a guy – more African Americans got jobs under Clinton, more African American and Hispanic youth got jobs when Clinton was president. He puts his office in Harlem. He was very good to the African American community." While Colmes was saying this, newly minted civil rights advocate Hannity jeered and made derisive noises off camera.

But again, Sharpton passed up the opportunity to confront Hannity’s and, by extension, FOX News’ agenda. “The real point, Alan, is this. I think the only ones that’s gonna gain from this is the Republicans. And I think that Senator Clinton and Senator Obama and their supporters would do well to really try to raise this to a level of some real substantive policies toward African Americans and not continue this back and forth.”

It’s too bad he didn’t demand that FOX News do the same.