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Hannity Overlooks His Own Direct Association With White Supremacist While Attacking Obama’s Indirect Association With Farrakhan

Reported by Ellen - February 29, 2008 -

Sean Hannity and FOX News played the race card against Barack Obama again last night (2/28/08) on Hannity & Colmes as yet again they deliberately tried to smear him as a black racist because his pastor’s daughters gave an award to Louis Farrakhan and Obama did not denounce Farrakhan as thoroughly as Hannity thought was required. Meanwhile, Hannity ignored the endorsement of John McCain by anti-Catholic evangelist John Hagee which Alan Colmes showcased. But as Hannity worked himself into a self-righteous lather against Obama, he conveniently overlooked his own direct and repeated association with white supremacist Hal Turner. With video.

In Colmes’ scripted introduction, he read “(Obama’s) campaign continues to be a magnet for racial controversy.” FOX News is doing its best to make that happen, of course. They have hyped every racial angle they can – and then some – since Obama declared his candidacy last year.

During Colmes’ segment, the first half of the panel discussion, Colmes noted, “Nobody is talking about the endorsement yesterday of John McCain by Pastor John Hagee.” Colmes played a clip of Hagee smearing the Catholic church and added that Hagee has also said, “Jews are responsible for being persecuted.” You can read more about Hagee on Colmes’ blog, Liberalland, and on Glenn Greenwald’s blog, Unclaimed Territory.

“Senator McCain has said he’s honored to have the endorsement,” Colmes said, in marked contrast to Obama’s denunciation of Farrakhan and his endorsement. It’s worth noting that in his interview with Greenwald, Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said, “Hagee is far more powerful than Farrakhan is today. . . . Hagee is a major player. There's no end to his money. He has an empire down there.”

Yet Republican guest Michael Steele, an African American, brushed off the Hagee endorsement by saying that he was unfamiliar with it and that McCain should denounce it “If that’s in fact the case and the McCain campaign feels that is an issue or something that they do not want to be associated with.” He quickly segued to Obama who specifically distanced himself from Farrakhan’s endorsement, unlike McCain.

But while McCain got a pass for endorsing Hagee, Steele went on to criticize Obama for not denouncing Farrakhan strongly enough. Steele claimed that Obama “did the dance” rather than denounce Farrakhan completely. According to Steele, that “creates more of an issue, more of a story.” Yet Steele, a FOX News contributor, was playing an active role in the story's perpetuation.

Hannity, with melodramatic Hanctimony, asked the liberal guest, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, “If my pastor gave a lifetime achievement award to David Duke, what would you think of me?” Memo to Hannity: That’s a lot less racist tarnish than you already wear. As Max Blumenthal wrote in The Nation,

During an August 1998 episode of the show, Turner reminded Hannity that were it not for the graciousness of the white man, "black people would still be swinging on trees in Africa," according to Daryle Jenkins, co-founder of the New Jersey-based antiracism group One People's Project. Instead of rebuking Turner or cutting him off, Hannity continued to welcome his calls.

And let’s not forget Hannity’s championing of Duane “Dog” Chapman shortly after he was caught in his own racist rant.

I’m so waiting for a guest to confront Hannity on his own racially-tinged hypocrisy.

Nevertheless, Hill did a fine job of keeping his cool while Hannity pulled out all the stops on his bullyboy histrionics. He must have thought that the louder he yelled, the harder he jabbed his finger in the air and the more he tilted his head, the less likely anybody would be to notice his own dubious record. But I think Hill made a mistake by allowing Hannity to rant on, rather than to change the subject by saying something to the effect of, “With all the problems our country is facing, it says more about you that you’d fixate on whether or not Obama has distanced himself enough from someone as insignificant as Louis Farrakhan rather than talk about the real issues people care about. I don't think the average American struggling with higher food and gas prices, a mortgage and maybe a kid in Iraq is likely to care too much about to whom Obama's pastor's daughters have given an award.”

Still, Hill got in some good comebacks, such as, “The point is that Barack Obama has denounced those things. And all you’re doing is muddying the water.”

“Where is your moral courage?” Hannity interrupted, both fingers jabbing now. “Where is your moral strength and your integrity and your core values and your principles? (Farrakhan) has a history of anti-Semitism and racism and you don’t have the moral courage to condemn it and I find that reprehensible.”

Lamont answered, “What I find reprehensible is the fact that you are diverting attention away from the fact that Barack Obama has clearly distanced himself from (his pastor’s endorsement).”

His face ugly with venom, Hannity turned to Steele. “I don’t understand, Michael Steele. Why is there this reluctance among so many to identify Louis Farrakhan for the hate-monger, the anti-Semite and the racist that he is?”

But Steele did not give the Jesse Lee Peterson-type answer that Hannity was obviously looking for. “You have to come at this from two different perspectives. One is the perspective that you have. And the other is the perspective of a lot of African Americans who have, who have been in the field with Farrakhan, if you will, who have worked and toiled with him. And understand the context in which some of the comments that others in this country would view as reprehensible and outrageous as consistent with a pattern of behavior by those who have oppressed and repressed the black community. So you’ve got to keep it in the context here, and I think at the end of the day, those words, those ugly words are harsh and they’re terrible and they should be denounced…”

Hannity interrupted. “Let me tell you something. I would never be a part of a church that honored somebody who has racist and anti-Semitic views.”

Maybe not, but Hannity has no compunction about giving someone those who have spouted anti-black sentiments plenty of airtime.