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Hannity & Colmes Goes To Bat For Imus

Reported by Ellen - April 10, 2007 -

Here's another reason the Congressional Black Caucus should not allow FOX News to host their debate: The network's consistent racial bias. Last night's Hannity & Colmes was another case in point. The show devoted the first half of its hour to the uproar over Don Imus' "nappy headed ho" comments. In typical FOX News style, the panel was stacked with Imus supporters. The one consistent Imus critic, the eloquent Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, was attacked by both hosts and one of the guests. Imus' prior racially insensitive remarks and other questionable actions were conveniently overlooked. With video.

The other two guests were the disgraced Armstrong Williams (no mention was made that he lost his newspaper column when it was discovered he had taken money from the Bush administration to promote their "No Child Left Behind" policy on his television show; nor was the Hannity & Colmes audience told that Williams was a protégé of Strom Thurmond, a rather relevant point if you're discussing racism.) and comedian Patrice O'Neal. The fact that FOX News would put a comedian on to make jokes about such a sensitive subject is further proof of their own insensitivity.

Williams alternately defended and disparaged Imus but ultimately he seemed more sympathetic than not. He pointed out that Imus was one of the first media personalities to speak about the racial component of Hurricane Katrina relief (or lack thereof). "I can't forget that," Williams said. "He's done some good."

O'Neal was also an Imus-sympathizer but he seemed more interested in hamming it up in the limelight than he was in making any coherent point. O'Neal said the term Imus used, "nappy headed ho," was "so ridiculous, you KNOW he was trying to be funny."

The sole Imus critic was professor Marc Lamont Hill. Hill made his points with respect and courtesy but before long, he came under more fire than Imus.

Early in Part Two of the three-part discussion, Alan Colmes asked, "Dr Hill, shouldn't we look at somebody's heart and what their true intent is? And truly what they've done?" Sure we should. Imus has a history of making racist, insulting statements and he finally went too far. Overlooking Imus' past racist remarks, Colmes continued, "He's got a camp (actually, he bills it as a working ranch). He helps kids. 10% of the kids at his camp are black." I'll bet some of his best friends are black, too.

But as the Santa Fe New Mexican reported in 2005, the ranch's "multimillion-dollar annual budget and the Imus family’s use of the ranch’s well-appointed facilities have drawn scrutiny from government officials... The nonprofit ranch spent $2.6 million last year while hosting only about 100 children, The Wall Street Journal reported in a front-page story... The newspaper said experts consider that an unusually high dollar-to-child ratio for a charity."

Colmes, sounding astounded at Hill, said, "You want to end the man's career over this comment?" He actually laughed at Hill when he answered that he didn't want to end Imus' career, but that he thinks Imus should be fired from his current job.

"Then you'll picket the next guy he works for," Colmes accused. Hill had not advocated picketing at all.

Hannity coyly dispatched Imus' comments by declaring them wrong. That freed him up to spend most of the rest of his time attacking black men. It's his favorite response to any white racism. Predictably, Hannity sidetracked the discussion into an attack on Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and, just as predictably, spent most of his time trying to bully Hill into condemning them or tricking him into "revealing" he had a double standard. Hannity Hanctimoniously declared, "The difference is, I'm consistent."

Not really. Besides harping on Jackson and Sharpton, Hannity still attacks Senator Robert Byrd for his membership in the KKK which he renounced decades ago and yet slobbers over Mel Gibson and complains about people not forgiving him.

"Do you see what (Hill's) trying to do? He's trying to make us hypocrites!" O'Neal yelled.

Hill made the very pertinent point that the discussion had been diverted away from the real issue, which was Don Imus. Nonetheless, Colmes shouted at Hill for saying that. "I think the issue here is, what's offensive?"

At the end of the show, Colmes explained that he thought of Imus as a friend, which is fine. But that's no reason to go attacking those who were offended by him. Hill was thoughtful and courteous as a guest and there's no reason he should not have received the same treatment in return.

As for Imus… In homage to one of his recent temper tantrums after the governor of New Mexico didn't jump to meet his demands, I'll just say this: Beso mi culo, cahueto!

Parts two and three of the discussion are below.