Hannity Admits, "I Care Deeply About Race"
Reported by Ellen - April 28, 2008 -
Sean Hannity, who for a long time bonded with Neo-Nazi/white supremacist Hal Turner, admitted on the air during Friday night’s (4/25/08) Hannity & Colmes that he cares deeply about racial issues. But Hannity’s interest in race almost always pertains to the civil rights of white people, not blacks. Apparently, Hannity has concluded that whites are the oppressed people in our country. At the drop of an n-word, Hannity will make a cause celebre of any white person accused of bigotry. Yet Hannity is obsessed with "revealing" racism in African Americans. So it was no surprise that during a discussion about the role of race in the presidential campaign, Hannity wasted no time in accusing Barack Obama of racism. With video.
Hannity is so obsessed with race that he once spent three nights discussing some unknown bookstore owner who had advocated the extermination of whites during a panel discussion about Hurricane Katrina a year earlier. A Hannity & Colmes producer even ambushed the man for a special "H&C Investigates" segment about this non-news event. Similarly, Hannity is almost certainly the only broadcaster on a national news network to present the Jena 6 case as a question about reverse racism.
On the other hand, an accusation of bigotry toward a white person will almost surely trigger a Hannity-to-the-rescue response. Don Imus, Mel Gibson, and Duane “Dog” Chapman were all recipients of Hannity rehab.
On Friday night, Hannity began blaming Obama right in the introduction. Hannity said, “Keeping race issues out of Obama's campaign is proving very hard, especially when his campaign manager is bringing it up.” (Hannity was referring to David Plouffe’s statement that “the vast, vast majority of voters who would not vote for Barack Obama in November based on race are probably firmly in John McCain’s camp already.”)
That was followed by a clip of African American Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC) saying, “I don’t think we have to keep tearing down the other candidate, keep demonizing his former pastor, marginalizing his campaign. The American people - especially African Americans - are really concerned about this.”
I’ve listened to a lot of African Americans on this subject lately and Clyburn seems spot on in his assessment. Anyone sensitive to issues about race knows, as the writer who broke the story about Hannity’s connection to Neo-Nazi Turner, Max Blumenthal, explained, Hannity and the right wing have used Rev. Wright as “a way to mobilize resentment against Barack Obama that they never had before ... [Wright] is presented as the quintessential angry black man that the right wing loves to incite hatred against.”
But there was no African American guest to expound upon or explain Clyburn’s sentiments.
The two guests were Democrat Bob Beckel and Republican Kevin Madden.
Hannity said to Beckel, “Race is something that you care deeply about, I care deeply about.” Then, predictably, Hannity went on to accuse Obama of playing the race card. "I think what Barack Obama said in San Francisco was racial... I think Barack Obama's bringing it up a lot in this campaign."
Even if what Hannity said is correct, that Obama’s “bitter” comments were racial, Obama has not brought up race a tenth as often as Hannity.
Disappointingly, Beckel didn’t mention that. Instead, he said, “It was not Barack Obama who started on Jeremiah Wright. It was Jeremiah Wright who started on Jeremiah Wright.” Actually, it was Hannity who started on Wright and he did it by playing the race card and trying to paint Wright as a black separatist more than a year ago. Nevertheless, Hannity now insisted, “That’s not about race.”
“It certainly is about race,” Beckel said.
Hannity, of course, blamed Wright for injecting race into the issue. “Well, (Wright) says ‘white KKK of America,’” Hannity said.
“That’s race,” Beckel said, in effect, agreeing with Hannity.
Next, Hannity reiterated his racial attacks on Wright, Obama and his wife. “I think what Reverend Wright said was racist. I think that in San Francisco that Barack Obama, himself, was suggesting that people in Pennsylvania were at least bigoted if not racist. When Michelle Obama says America’s a downright mean country, that she’s not proud of. I don’t know what all that means, where all that’s coming from.”
Alan Colmes has been generally excellent these last several weeks. But he also seemed not to notice the pot calling the kettle black. Instead, Colmes chastised Plouffe by saying, “It’s a shame we even have to bring up race as a factor in this campaign - it’s to everybody’s benefit not to.” Colmes went on to (rightly) ask, “But was Plouffe wrong with what he said?”
Madden, the former spokesman for Mitt Romney, said, “I think you’re exactly right there, Alan. I don’t think this benefits anybody... We ought to be talking about the issues that are important.” After that smear, Madden immediately ignored the “issues that are important” in favor of his own race-baiting against Obama. “The problem with David Plouffe’s remarks is that it seems to be casting aspersions - whether he intended to or not - it seems to be casting negative aspersions about those people that would not support Barack Obama. That is, if somehow, they are implicitly racist because they don’t agree with him. And I think that is the kind of language that is very divisive. It’s not the kind of unifying language that Barack Obama has used in much loftier rhetoric during the ascent of this campaign.”
Given Romney's recent speech at CPAC, it's more than a little hypocritical for Madden to be complaining about someone else being divisive, especially over such a comparatively mild comment. But Colmes chided Plouffe again. “I think it would be smart not to bring it up and I think Plouffe would have been smart... (unintelligible).” In fact, it was not Plouffe who brought it up, as this transcript from MSNBC indicates. He was answering a question from National Journal’s Linda Douglass: “Is race going to be a problem for Barack Obama in the general election?”
Still, Colmes and Beckel put forth a good argument showing that what Plouffe said was true.
By the way, I was delighted to have been a guest on the Roland S. Martin radio show last week. Martin is also an excellent CNN contributor who often provides a muscular, unapologetic African American perspective on Obama and Rev. Wright. Martin has challenged Hannity to a debate about race in America. In 2006, Hannity promised to do so but he has yet to make good on it. You can contact Hannity at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him that real "Great Americans" aren't afraid of real debate.