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In Race-Baiting Attack On Spike Lee, Guest Leo Terrell Gets Better Of Hannity

Reported by Ellen - June 10, 2008 -

White rights champ Sean Hannity went into a frenzy of race-baiting last night (6/9/08) on Hannity & Colmes over Spike Lee’s spat with fellow filmmaker Clint Eastwood. But Hannity’s Hanctimonious theatrics were foiled by civil rights attorney Leo Terrell who outmugged Hannity on camera. With video.

The dispute between Lee and Eastwood comes from Lee’s complaint about the lack of African Americans in two of his films about Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. As Alan Colmes noted in his introduction, Eastwood responded to Lee by saying, “I’m playing it the way I read it historically and that’s the way it is; a guy like him should shut his face.”

That seems a rather nasty and demeaning response to Lee’s far more polite statement, "Clint Eastwood made two films about Iwo Jima that ran for more than four hours total, and there was not one Negro actor on the screen."

Nothing was made about Eastwood's attack. Instead, both hosts went after Lee via Terrell.

Colmes at least was respectful as he argued to Terrell that the focus of “Flags” was the raising of the flag, an event which included no African Americans.

Terrell responded, “There were 900 black men who fought in Iwo Jima. 14 of them got the Silver Star. There was a poor depiction – the fact that there was not a single African American there indicates that Clint Eastwood did not correctly tell history.”

From there, Colmes leapt to accusing Lee of suggesting that Eastwood is a racist (something I did not infer in Lee’s criticism). And from there, Colmes defended Eastwood in a way that was hostile to Lee. “Eastwood made a movie about Charlie Parker called Bird. He was criticized by Spike Lee for that, saying a white guy shouldn’t have made that film.” Noting that most of the actors in that film were black, Colmes added, “So to suggest that Clint Eastwood somehow does not care to employ African American actors, which is the implication here, is wrong.”

Terrell answered, “The issue here is a wrong portrayal of what happened in World War II in Iwo Jima.”

I have to say that’s how I took it, too, that it’s an issue about portraying history, not about employing actors. That’s how Time Magazine also saw it. They covered the dispute with the headline, “Were African Americans at Iwo Jima?” Time concluded, “History, as it turns out, is on both their sides.”

Hannity, ever eager to accuse an African American of racism (despite forgiving nearly any racial outburst from a white person), ignored the issues Lee raised and went straight to attacking him. From the moment he began his turn with Terrell, Hannity started yelling about Spike Lee’s supposed racism.

“Your friend Spike Lee (said), ‘Shoot Charleton Heston.’ You want to defent that, Leo?” Hannity shouted in his bullyboy voice. Hannity neglected to mention that Lee was joking when he said that.

“You want to change the subject, Sean.” Terrell noted.

“Spike Lee plays the race card continually,” Hannity charged. It was a statement that could well pertain to Hannity, himself. Jabbing his finger in the air, he continued, “I’m asking you if you have the intellectual honesty to admit it.”

Hannity has yet to explain his own friendly relationship with Neo-Nazi Hal Turner and is not one to be complaining about the intellectual honesty of anyone else about racial matters.

Then, in a last-ditch effort to paint Terrell’s concerns as the province of a racist thug, Hannity asked, “I got one question. You’re friends with O.J. Simpson. Do you think he killed those two people?”

Terrell’s silent response bested Hannity's bullying. Interestingly, Hannity immediately became affectionate (I’ve written many times before that when someone stands up to Hannity, he almost always softens).

“Leo, you’re a good friend, God bless you. We love you,” Hannity said, suddenly all smiles.

Terrell’s look was priceless.

By the way, here’s another screen grab from Turner’s website, showing what kind of person Hannity used to associate with.

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