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Hannity’s Bigoted Pal On Fox News Again

Reported by Ellen - October 23, 2009 -

Why is Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson back on Fox News? He has a long history of making bigoted statements against African Americans, including this whopper on Hannity & Colmes about a racially charged primary in Tennessee in August, 2008: “Most blacks, not all but most in Tennessee, especially in the Memphis, Tennessee area, are still living in the 50’s and 60’s. They are so racist that they don’t even realize that white Americans have moved on. And so whenever there’s a campaign like this... they always use racism in order to intimidate white America.” Last February, Peterson said, “I think we all agree that Barack Obama was elected mostly By black racists and white guilty people.” Sean Hannity is always suggesting that President Obama’s “radical associations” prove he’s a radical. So what does that say about Hannity that he keeps having Peterson back? Oh, and by the way, Peterson goes on Glenn Beck, too. With video.

In an excellent article about Peterson in The Nation, Max Blumenthal wrote that Peterson, “is merely playing the role of front man for a murky, well-funded network of white nationalist activists and right-wing Beltway operatives. By deploying Peterson... into the media, this coterie of conservatives have been able to apply a bold veneer of blackness over the brand of bigotry they find increasingly inconvenient to espouse on their own. Peterson has no professional or political accomplishments to speak of, beyond directing a small inner-city aid ministry and hosting a radio show syndicated on a handful of AM stations across the country. To his sponsors, though, that's irrelevant; it is his immunity from charges of racism that matters.”

Considering Sean Hannity’s record of rushing to the defense of every white person accused of racism in recent memory and considering his former coziness with white supremacist Hal Turner, one can’t help but conclude that Blumenthal’s analysis is right on the money with regard to Peterson and Hannity. Given Glenn Beck's disturbing record on race, Blumenthal's assessment seems applicable again. Could the same not be said of Fox News?

Peterson was a frequent guest on Hannity & Colmes before he made the “Memphis blacks” comments. In those appearances, too, Peterson never failed to make racial attacks on African Americans, though nothing as eye popping (to me, anyway) as the Memphis statement. Hannity, on the other hand, was not put off by the Memphis remark. He not only did not condemn it, he repeatedly stifled the condemnations of his other, outraged guest.

Hannity did challenge Peterson’s comments about Obama’s election. But instead of disapproval, Hannity insisted that Peterson could not have meant what he had just said, despite the fact that Peterson kept insisting he had. Two days later, Peterson repeated the comment on Glenn Beck.

Peterson has appeared on Fox News several times since then: On April 2, 2009, he was welcomed back on Hannity. On June 24, 2009, Peterson was again a guest on Glenn Beck and again made another racial attack against Obama. In each appearance, Peterson was presented as a credible guest with a credible viewpoint.

On Wednesday night (10/21/09), Peterson was part of the “Great American Panel” segment on Hannity. Sure enough, he used his air time to make gratuitous, racially-tinged accusations against African Americans, this time against Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. In a discussion that was about the Obama administration’s tensions with Fox News, Peterson suddenly changed the subject to Rush Limbaugh.

“Barack Hussein Obama is in a rush to… turn our country into a socialist society,” Peterson began by way of “explanation” as to why the Obama administration has challenged Fox. Then Peterson digressed. “And by the way, let me just quickly say to the NFL, whenever there’s a choice between Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, or Rush Limbaugh, the choice is Rush Limbaugh, not Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. Al Sharpton and Jackson are racist, poverty pimps. They don’t really have an impact in the black community at all and what I’ve decided to do – if the NFL thinks that Rush Limbaugh is a racist and I agree with Rush, that means that I’m a racist, too… I’m not gonna support them any more with my money.”

By the way, Hannity still serves on the advisory board of Peterson’s organization, BOND.

Why do Hannity, Beck and Fox News keep welcoming this guest who they know will deliberately promote racial antipathy and animosity?