Sean Hannity started off his Fox News television show last night with a decent discussion about the Trayvon Martin case. Sure, Hannity was obviously favoring shooter George Zimmerman but he was reasonable and respectful in making his arguments with Martin-family attorney Daryl Parks. Then it was as though Hannity felt he had fulfilled his racial fairness quota. Because no sooner was that segment over than he used the Martin case to race bait against African Americans and smear President Obama in a particularly racial context. While he was at it, Hannity had the nerve to complain about divisiveness from the African American community. He was ably assisted in that effort by two Fox News contributors, Deneen Borelli and Tamara Holder.
The interview with Attorney Parks led off the show. Hannity hypocritically played up his sorrow over the tragedy and said his thoughts and prayers go out to them. Which would be easier to believe if Hannity didn’t seem more interested in finding fault with the African American community than in anything Martin’s family is going through.
Still, I don’t think it’s unfair of him to ask if there’s been a “rush to judgment” in the case. Even though Hannity rushed to (the wrong) judgment in the case of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima who accused some white police officers of sodomizing him. And I’ll grant Hannity the leeway to raise the question even though he has a record of palling around with major bigots.
But after that civil, spirited debate, Hannity went for the racial jugular, which he was apparently too chicken to do with Parks. This time, Hannity called on Tea Partier Borelli – the designated African American black-attacker to do his racial dirty work. Holder, supposedly there to represent the liberal viewpoint can be terrific but, sadly, she was little more than a vehicle that helped Hannity further most of his agenda.
Hannity began with an attack on Spike Lee for having tweeted what he thought was Zimmerman’s address but turned out to be that of an elderly couple with no connection to the shooter. Lee has apologized and compensated the couple and they have publicly stated their forgiveness. But I guarantee you that Hannity will not do the same unless Lee renounces Obama and starts campaigning for Romney.
As proof that Hannity’s main concern in the Trayvon Martin case is to advance his own racialized, anti-Obama agenda, Hannity added, apropos of nothing pertaining to Martin, “Now it’s important to know that Spike Lee, like Bill Maher, is a big Obama supporter.” Hannity also noted that Lee had held a fundraiser for Obama in January that raked in $1.6 million. “Now, in light of the president’s position and lectures on civil discourse, wouldn’t returning the money that Spike Lee helped him to raise, well, wouldn’t that be the right thing to do?”
It’s ludicrous for Hannity to be lecturing the president when, despite Hannity’s own “position and lectures,” he sits on the advisory board of a charity run by a guy who thanks God for slavery and thinks most women are “little whores.” (See more about this in my earlier post about Hannity’s bigoted hypocrisy.)
Hannity was so exercised over Spike Lee and Zimmerman, you could be forgiven for thinking that Zimmerman had been shot and Lee was the shooter. But rather than confront Hannity on his hypocrisy or his transparent agenda, Holder helped him advance it by gratuitously attacking African Americans, herself. She said she thought it was “stupid” to wear hoodies “on the floor of Congress” and that “blacks are also making this more of a racial issue than it should be.”
Well, OK. But how is it that Holder missed how Hannity has been using the case to advance his own racial agenda? “We need to discuss racial tension and violence,” she continued. That’s a great idea but if Holder really thinks Hannity is going to be interested in having an honest discussion about that on Fox News - during an election year when a black president is up for re-election, no less – then I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell her.
Holder did go on to make the point that, “You don’t bring a gun to a Skittles fight.”
Turning to his designated black attacker, Hannity dragged in Eric Holder (no apparent relation to Tamara). “Where’s Eric Holder? There’s a bounty on somebody’s head!” Hannity exclaimed, referring, of course, to Zimmerman. He was also referring to the New Black Panther Party as the bounty hunters. Don’t tell me Hannity wasn’t prompting Borelli to make a racialized attack on Obama.
Borelli didn’t quite get the hint. She said, “We have a president who has frozen racial tension in our country instead of thawing racial tension.” But instead of mounting a racial attack on Obama, she called on him to “reset the tone.”
Hannity interrupted. “Where’s Eric Holder? How long has this bounty been out there? …Why aren’t these guys arrested?”
Finally, Borelli got it. “With the New Black Panther Party in 2008. Where was he then, when they were intimidating voters in Philadelphia?” she asked, reiterating a fave Fox News (racial) smear that has been debunked. In fact, Abigail Thernstrom, a conservative who also repudiated the allegation that Attorney General Holder gave racially preferential treatment to the NBPP by failing to prosecute them wrote,
“Get a grip, folks. The New Black Panther Party is a lunatic fringe group that is clearly into racial theater of minor importance. It may dream of a large-scale effort to suppress voting — like the Socialist Workers Party dreams of a national campaign to demonstrate its position as the vanguard of the proletariat. But the Panthers have not realized their dream even on a small scale. This case is a one-off.”
By the way, Thernstrom isn’t just any conservative but she’s an attorney who sits on the right-wing, activist U.S. Commission on Civil Rights which was investigating the DOJ’s actions in the NBPP voter intimidation case.
Borelli was really with the program now. She dredged up the Professor Henry Gates incident. You may recall that African American Gates was arrested for breaking into his own home - and Fox News went into a frenzy of race-baiting President Obama for calling the arrest “stupid.”
But Borelli wasn’t done. She went on to criticize the “echo chamber” of the “liberal black establishment” and called on the president to “put a lid on this powder keg because things have the potential to escalate.” Fine. So why isn’t she asking Fox News and Hannity, in particular, to do the same thing?
And why didn’t Holder? Instead, she joined in the pile on. “But he’s not going to (reset the tone),” she said of Obama. He lacks the “cojones,” she said and, added her own dig about how he handled the Gates incident and, for good measure, Bill Maher.
Hannity ended by saying that Obama had blown “another opportunity” to bring the country together “at a very important time.”
So by all means, Foxies, go ahead and divide it more – and then blame Obama while you’re at it!