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Hannity Pretends Limbaugh Dropped From NFL Bid Because He’s Conservative

Reported by Ellen - October 15, 2009 -

We can add Rush Limbaugh to the long list of white people caught making bigoted remarks whose cause Sean Hannity has staunchly championed. Hannity, who has a very disturbing record of his own when it comes to race, didn’t want to discuss any of the racially charged comments for which Limbaugh has come under fire and caused him to be dropped from a potential bid for the St. Louis Rams. Hannity didn’t even want to discuss what the NFL commissioner said about why he thought LImbaugh was not appropriae for the league. Instead, Hannity used the same fiction that Limbaugh used, that he was unfairly maligned because of his politics. While he was at it, Hannity turned around and played the race card against some of his favorite black targets: Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, President Obama and, of course, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. But at the end, Hannity, perhaps inadvertently, revealed that he knew Limbaugh had, in fact, made racially insensitive comments. With video.

Unfortunately, Hannity was aided and abetted in his tactics by both his African American guests. One guest, Michael Meyers, seems to be a legitimate civil rights figure but during this segment, he ignored the sentiments of the owners and African American football players who have spoken out against Limbaugh and kept up a nearly non-stop tirade against "so-called civil rights leaders" (he obviously meant Jackson and Sharpton) who had also objected to Limbaugh being an NFL owner.

The other guest, "journalist and commentator," Stephen A. Smith seemed like a smart, likeable guy, but he never confronted Hannity about a) his disingenuous effort to label the controversy about Limbaugh's politics or b) Hannity’s own abysmal record on race which he gave a good glimpse of during the segment. Nevertheless, Smith probably made a good point when he said that the NFL was willing to do “anything to protect” its image and, therefore, would shy away from “anything that’s controversial or divisive in any way.”

With his bullyboy singsong, Hannity interrupted Smith. “They’re gonna do anything to protect it,” he said disgustedly. Then guess what Hannity brought up? Race. “So if Jesse Jackson was part of a group that wanted to buy an NFL franchise, would he be denied because he said, “Hymietown” once?” (Jackson made that comment 25 years ago).

Meyers immediately went on offense against other African Americans. "What offends me about this whole thing is political posturing… It’s the race baiting. It’s the racial hustling. It’s the constant finding a racist behind every rock."

Meyers went on to take a swipe at Sharpton and Jackson for “embrac(ing) the real racist, Louis Farrakhan... But nobody ever talks about that because that was a real black racist. And an anti-Semite to boot. But they’re the experts to whom the leftist, liberal media go in order to shout and scream about Rush Limbaugh in terms of not being politically correct.” Somehow, "civil rights expert" Meyers did not seem to care a fig about Limbaugh's long record of racially charged, inflammatory comments.

“You have a valid point,” Smith said, inexplicably. “But at the same time, let’s keep in mind that Rush Limbaugh does have 13-20 million listeners a day, 15 hours a week. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton don’t have that.”

Hannity wasted no time using that opening to further his own racially-tinged attacks. “You think of interlopers, Al Sharpton using the “N” word about the African American mayor of New York City.”

“Talk about being divisive - who’s more divisive than Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson?” Meyers jumped in. Memo to Meyers, they weren't trying to buy an NFL team.

Smith said he had “no problem with Rush Limbaugh pursuing ownership of a team. I felt he had every right to go for it and if they wanted to protest, let ‘em protest.” Smith went on to to take a swipe at the players who objected, saying he was more interested “in seeing the African American ballplayers that swore they would stand up and say, ‘No way I would play for Rush Limbaugh.’ Oh, really? He throws millions your way, you’re gonna turn it down. I wanted to see that happen! …I will tell you right here I don’t believe that.”

Meyers added that if Limbaugh were in a position to deny a black player the right to play, or in a position to say he would not field any black players, or that he would not take the best in the league because they’re black, that would be racism. “This isn’t racism!” Meyers insisted.

Rather than defend Limbaugh’s record on race, Hannity said that Limbaugh’s “probably one of the biggest NFL football fans in the country and one of the most knowledgable and one who admires the talent of the players on the field.” Yeah, and one who routinely shoots off his mouth with divisive, racially offensive comments. (See the first video below for a sample.)

After the discussion was more than halfway through, Smith played “devil’s advocate” and said, “Here’s the deal: Rush Limbaugh is the guy that said what he said about Donovan McNabb and the media desires to be well.” Actually, that’s a sanitized version of the incident. According to CNN (H/T Think Progress) Limbaugh made a “statement that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was overrated because the media wanted to see a black quarterback succeed.” CNN also reported, “McNabb said Wednesday that he didn't mind criticism of his performance, but was upset that Limbaugh made his race an issue and said it was too late for an apology. ‘It's somewhat shocking to hear that on national TV from him,’ McNabb said. ‘It's not something that I can sit here and say won't bother me.’” Smith added that he didn’t think Limbaugh should have been dismissed until he refused to resign.

“I don’t get the fixation with Rush Limbaugh,” Meyers said. He praised Limbaugh as “very funny” and took time out to rave about one of Limbaugh’s anti-Obama jokes.

Then Hannity reverted to an old smear, one that was not only racial but misrepresentative. “I’ve got a tape of President Barack Obama talks (sic) about ‘white folks greed running a world in need.’” In fact, the “tape” Hannity has is from the audiobook version of Obama’s book, Dreams From My Father, and it's a passage in which he quotes from a sermon by Rev. Jeremiah Wright (a sermon in which Wright contrasted the poverty in Haiti with the waste on a cruise ship).

Smith fell for the bait. “If the president said that, he was wrong, period.”

Hannity continued, “Al Sharpton associates with the president and now he’s going to attack Rush Limbaugh. So is Al Sharpton a hypocrite?” Hannity was really suggesting that Al Sharpton, like Hannity, is a racist.

With the segment about ¾ over, Smith finally got to the point. “You’re talking to a guy that had no problem with him pursuing ownership of a team. But if Rush Limbaugh says, ‘The NFL is tantamount to the Bloods and the Crips’ or ‘They look like the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons,’ that is a racist statement!” It’s unfortunate that Smith did not get to some of the other of Limbaugh’s long list of racially charged comments.

Meyers chimed in to knock the “so-called civil rights leaders… who want to boycott every radio host and TV host with whom they disagree.”

“That’s what it’s about, isn’t it,” Hannity said. “It’s about politics.”

“And it has to stop,” Meyers said.

And yet Meyers had no problem when Hannity did the same thing to Obama. “Based on your statements here tonight, then I assume that you’re gonna say that President Barack Obama, who hung out in Jeremiah Wright’s church… and that Barack Obama, who said, ‘white folks greed runs a world in need,’ are you gonna make the same incendiary judgment against him?”

Somehow, Smith overlooked or else didn’t notice how Hannity had just made that incendiary judgment against Obama while giving Limbaugh a pass. After reiterating, “If Barack Obama said what you say you have a tape of him saying, I would go up against him,” and, after a brief diversion where Smith boasted about being “a fiscally conservative independent,” he added that with the NFL being such big business, “Anything’s politics when you talk about that much money. Why y’all acting shocked?... Of course it’s politics. So what?” But Smith also went on to say, “I would not call Rush a racist, I want to make that clear. But I do think that he has said some racially insensitive things.”

That’s when Hannity let it slip that he knew that Limbaugh had made some racially offensive comments. “And so has Barack Obama and so has Jeremiah Wright.”

As the segment was wrapping, Hannity asked, “Do you think hanging out in that Reverend’s church… do you believe (Obama) when he said he had no idea?”

“Of course not,” Smith said. “What politician doesn’t?”

“Ronald Reagan didn’t,” Hannity said.

I don’t know about Reagan but I do know for certain that Hannity sat through many racist comments of Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson and continued to invite him back on the show. Hannity also repeatedly welcomed white supremacist Hal Turner (currently facing heavy jail time for threatening federal judges and Connecticut State officials) to his radio show many years ago. Right after this segment aired, I emailed the show and asked, “Since Hannity is so convinced that Obama's association with Rev. Wright proves he (Obama) is a racist, do you have any comment about Hannity's repeated welcoming of Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson despite his repeated racist comments on the air, in front of Hannity? Has Hannity renounced Peterson yet? Has Hannity resigned from the advisory board of Peterson's organization? I suspect not but we'll be checking soon.” Not surprisingly, I did not receive an answer. But according to their website, Hannity still sits on that advisory board.

The first video below, of some of Limbaugh's "greatest hits" of racially charged comments, is from Brave New Films, with whom we are proud to be associated.