Hannity Inadvertently Proves Bill Maher’s Point About Racism In Republicans
Reported by Ellen - May 4, 2010 -
Sean Hannity, with his hideous record on race, was in a bit of a bullyboy snit over comedian Bill Maher’s recent statement, “Nowadays, if you are racist, you’re probably a Republican.” I suppose it’s a hard thing to prove wrong – especially with so few African Americans associating themselves with the Republican Party – but I do believe that one way not to go about it is by doing what Hannity did last night (5/3/10): suggesting that Democrats are a bunch of whitey haters. With video.
Hannity’s guests for the segment were James Peterson, Assistant Professor at Bucknell University, and conservative Star Parker, currently a Congressional candidate. Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson must have been unavailable.
Before the debate had even begun, Fox News producers betrayed their own “we report, you decide” motto by displaying a banner on the screen reading, “BILL MAHER GOES TOO FAR.”
Parker, a former welfare cheat who has had multiple abortions, wasted no time getting to her now-familiar thesis: that it’s liberal policies that really keep blacks down (via liberal abortion, welfare and public education). “I’m not sure that they have the credibility to throw out that term, ‘racism,’” she sneered. Putting aside whether or not you agree with Parker’s prescription for the black community, underneath it is the unmistakeable suggestion that African Americans – whom nobody denied vote overwhelmingly Democratic – are too stupid to know what’s good for them.
Peterson did an excellent job without yelling or name calling. He made a point of saying that Maher was not calling all Republicans racist (in fact, Maher specifically said otherwise) but that “the small pockets of racism that still exist (in the U.S.)… usually associate themselves with different conservative movements.”
That set off Hannity and Parker, of course. They repeatedly interrupted Peterson when he tried to speak. As Peterson reiterated that, “racism still exists in our society,” Hannity jumped in.
“Is there also black on white racism in America?” Hannity asked. Before Peterson could even answer, Hannity interrupted to ask, “Is Louis Farrakhan a racist, for example?” Those of us who watch Fox News a lot know that Farrakhan is Hannity’s and Fox's uber black boogeyman. There was no doubt that Hannity was trying to trip up Peterson into either siding with Farrakhan and “proving” himself a black racist or getting him to denounce Farrakhan and “proving” that blacks are racists – which, I suppose, if you’re Hannity, “proved” that either Republicans are not racists or, more likely, are justified in their antagonism toward African Americans.
But as Peterson tried to argue that Farrakhan does not meet the definition because he does not have access to the same power structures as white people, both Hannity and Parker jumped in to argue, “That’s not the definition.”
Peterson did the right thing by refusing to be talked over, asking, “Why would you have me on here and not allow me to answer the questions?”
“You’re spending half your time complaining,” Hannity said. Even though it was Parker doing the complaining, not Peterson.
“Is Louis Farrakhan a racist?” Hannity repeated. When Peterson avoided the trap, Hannity pushed ahead with Plan B of “proving” Democratic blacks are racist. “You know what’s troublesome to me? Because I gave you an obvious example. Everybody knows Farrakhan’s a racist… You don’t seem to have the moral conviction or courage… You’re quick with your admonitions and warnings the Republican Party ought to pay attention. What about Democratic politicians that hang out with Farrakhan?”
How many Democratic politicians “hang out” with Farrakhan? I doubt it’s any more than those Republican politicians who “hang out” with Trent Lott. And speaking of Lott, he is just one of many, many white people who have made racially questionable remarks with whom Hannity has hung out.
Parker went on to dubiously accuse Democrats of “forcing abortions” on African Americans and saying “they lie about who racists are.” It wasn't clear if she meant Democrats or mainstream blacks, or both.
From there the discussion shifted to the difficulties of being a black conservative in America.
If Hannity – or Fox News – had truly been interested in discussing racism in America or politics, or even Maher’s comments, they could have explored whether racial animosity is really worse on one side or the other and how racial politics operate (or not) in the two major political parties. But the fact that Hannity used this segment as little more than a platform to accuse black Democrats of being racists said far more about himself than anything Bill Maher said.