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Hannity Overlooks Issues Surrounding Anti-Sotomayor Witness

Reported by Ellen - July 17, 2009 -

Frank Ricci, the firefighter at the heart of the reverse discrimination case that Republicans Fox News has used to paint Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor as a racist, was on Hannity last night (7/16/09). Despite Sean Hannity’s best efforts, Ricci declined to be pushed into attacking Sotomayor. Not surprisingly, however, white-rights enthusiast Hannity was so busy hailing Ricci as a modern-day Rosa Parks that he failed to reveal to the “we report, you decide” network’s audience the very relevant information that Ricci has quite a lengthy history of filing employment discrimination suits of his own and that when it suited him, he was for affirmative action before he was against it. With video.

As I previously posted when Ricci’s attorney was interviewed earlier in the week by Megyn Kelly: A revealing article in Slate details Ricci’s long list of lawsuits and threatened lawsuits against his employers. Author Dahlia Lithwick concludes, “ultimately, there are two ways to frame Frank Ricci's penchant for filing employment discrimination complaints: Perhaps he was repeatedly victimized by a cruel cadre of employers, first for his dyslexia, then again for his role as a whistle-blower, and then a third time for just being white… The other way to look at Frank Ricci is as a serial plaintiff—one who reacts to professional slights and setbacks by filing suit, threatening to file suit, and more or less complaining his way up the chain of command."

Hannity gave lots of not-so-subtle prods to Ricci in an effort to get him to attack Sotomayor: “Do you want Judge Sonia Sotomayor on the Supreme Court? …She didn’t really provide you equal justice under the law, did she?” But Ricci refused to take the bait.

However, Ricci didn’t need any prodding to go along with Hannity’s attempt to whitewash his litigious history. “Frank, you said the more attention that your case got, the more people tried to distort it. Can you explain that?” Hannity sympathetically asked.

“I was attacked by the left bloggers,” Ricci answered. “They attacked my resume. They attacked my credibility which was very insulting.”

Not surprisingly, Hannity never offered any details of those “insulting attacks” which some people might have described as hypocrisy.

Echoing Megyn Kelly’s remarks, Hannity said, “In many ways though, Frank, you became the latest version of Joe The Plumber.” You mean the guy whose name isn’t really Joe, and isn’t a licensed plumber? At least Ricci appears to be a real firefighter.

“It was a well-orchestrated, well-organized campaign to smear you,” Hannity said. What? Where was the orchestration or the organization? Hannity didn’t bother to say. As a "left blogger" who, presumably, is part of the orchestrated campaign, I'd like to know who's orchestrating it because I have not gotten the memo. And once again dodging a discussion of Ricci’s past Hannity asked, “What was that like (getting smeared)?”

“It was very disheartening,” Ricci answered. “We all knew in our hearts that it was lies.”

Don’t get me wrong, Ricci showed real class by not attacking Sotomayor and it’s admirable to go to the lengths he claimed he did to pass the firefighter test. But he never directly denied a history of filing employment discrimination complaints.

“I think you’re being very gracious,” Hannity gushed. Then he went back to pushing Ricci and the firefighter with him into characterizing Sotomayor as a dangerous racist. “If she gets on the court – and clearly she probably would handle your case or a similar case the same way. Does that bother you… If she gets this position and it appears she will, that she could do this again to somebody else?”

No, they were not bothered.

Hannity didn't hold it against them. “To me, this is the American dream,” Hannity said. “You were denied your opportunity and yet in the end you won out because you persevered. I have great admiration not only for what you do as firefighters but for your battle in what I think is a really important issue, that we ought not be a country that discriminates in any way, shape, matter or form.”

What he probably really meant is that we ought not be a country that discriminates against white people in any way, shape, matter or form. Maybe I missed it but I've not seen any coverage on Hannity of the Pennsylvania swim club incident, for example, and Hannity was almost certainly the only news person to present the Jena 6 case as one of reverse discrimination. Hannity also has a long record of tolerating bigotry against African Americans as well as friendliness toward anti-Semites.