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Sean Hannity “Defends” His Record On Islam By Attacking Keith Ellison During Heated Interview

Reported by Ellen - April 21, 2011 -

Rep. Keith Ellison joined Hannity last night (4/20/11) for a heated debate in which the very bigoted Hannity focused more on casting suspicion that Ellison might be “too” Muslim and not enough American than on debating the points Ellison was trying to make – that our country needs to uncouple the words “Muslim” or “Islamic” from “terrorist” and focus on extremism of all kinds. Hannity was incensed that Ellison had accused Fox News of “trying to excite and divide Americans along religious lines, scapegoating the Muslim community.” And because nothing says religious tolerance like demanding your guest prove he’s not a religious bigot, Hannity spent most of the segment either accusing Ellison of lying about anti-Muslim bigotry or demanding he disavow Osama Bin Laden, the imam of the “9/11 mosque” and the Fox News uber-black boogeyman, Louis Farrakhan.

Ellison quickly realized that Hannity’s purpose in having him on the show was not to have a dialogue but to attack him for past statements and use him as fodder for Hannity’s anti-Muslim political theater – much the way he used an interview with Rev. Jeremiah Wright in 2007 for the purpose of anti-Obama political theater. Ellison said, “I have had disagreements with some of your reporting, Sean, and I don’t apologize for it… I am straight up enough to come on your show to talk about the issues to try to talk ‘em through… I didn’t come on your show to get in a big debate with you about every quote I’ve ever made.”

Oh, Congressman, if only you knew in advance that Fox is all about political theater and not about dialogue. And Hannity’s record on race and religion is particularly disturbing. You walked into a trap, apparently unaware. But, fortunately, you were smart enough to figure it out, get your points across and control a good chunk of the agenda.

Hannity was full of outrage as he said accusingly to Ellison, “You said about this network – this is an incredible charge! This is a charge of bigotry!” Hannity asked for one example of Fox “trying to incite and divide Americans along religious lines, scapegoating the Muslim community”

How about these examples? Fox Nation – the Fox News website supposedly devoted to tolerance and civil discourse – called its post about this very interview, Hannity Makes Keith Ellison Squirm Over Radical Islam. Plus, there just happen to be two more posts on the home page that make a point of demonizing Muslims (screen grabs below). Plus, I haven’t forgotten Hannity’s sympathy for guest Dennis Prager’s position that Ellison had somehow undermined American civilization and made us more vulnerable to terrorism by using the Koran during his ceremonial swearing in. You may recall that Prager’s religious intolerance was condemned in an astonishing resolution by the Executive Committee of the US Holocaust Memorial Council – while he was a member of that Council. And who could forget Hannity completely disregarding the reporting of his own guest in order to fear monger about Islamic extremism in Egypt?

And in case that’s not enough, Media Matters found several more examples.

Rather than really debate Ellison or defend Fox News’ portrayals of Islam, Hannity made a deliberate effort to either force Ellison to prove to the audience he’s not in bed with Muslim radicals or defend what were portrayed as radical positions. First, Hannity demanded to know whether Ellison agreed with the “9/11 mosque imam” that the U.S. should be “more sharia compliant” (Ellison didn’t). And then, when Ellison said he thought that Bin Laden should be “held accountable” for what he did on 9/11 and that the innocent Americans who died were in no way responsible, Hannity said he was relieved to hear it because “you were calling the foes of the mosque bigots and I found (the imam's) statements so over the top and bigoted in and of itself.”

Oh, really, Sean? Then why weren't you offended by Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson’s statement that “most blacks” in Tennessee are racists? And why do you keep having him back on your show, even after he said that President Obama was elected thanks to racist blacks and guilty whites? Why are you so forgiving of people like Mel Gibson, Don Imus, Dog The Bounty Hunter and just about any other white person who has been caught making bigoted statements? Why is it those bigoted statements were not over the top?

Hannity also attacked Ellison for crying during Rep. Peter King's "Muslim terrorism" hearing while talking about a Muslim 9/11 first responder who had been smeared as a possible terror-conspirator when, in fact, he had died a hero. Hannity suggested Ellison had deliberately misrepresented the situation because he (Hannity) could “only find two articles” smearing the responder and because the man had been hailed in The Patriot Act. Hannity didn’t mention how many articles were required to make a smear. But Media Matters noted that many media reports indicated that – as Ellison told Hannity – rumors had swirled that the man had somehow been complicit in the attack. But even if Ellison had misrepresented the situation, Hannity’s intent in bringing the subject up could only have had one purpose: suggesting Ellison was more pro-Muslim than anti-terrorism or pro-American.

And as if all that were not enough, Hannity asked Ellison, “Does (Louis Farrakhan’s) Nation of Islam bother you at all?”

That's kind of like asking a Christian, “Does Rev. Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church bother you at all?” The question alone speaks volumes about Hannity. In case you didn’t already know.

Why hasn’t Rev. Al Sharpton spoken out against Hannity and Fox News? You can contact his organization here. You can contact the Hannity show at hannity@foxnews.com.



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