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African-American Criticism Of Imus Marginalized On Hannity & Colmes; Laura Ingraham Walks Out

Reported by Ellen - April 11, 2007 -

Once again, the “we report, you decide” network slanted its Hannity & Colmes panel in a transparent effort to marginalize black criticism of Don Imus and maximize the opportunities to bash Democrats. Unfortunately, for FOX News producers, conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham was disgusted by the level of discourse and walked out. With video.

Last night (4/10/07), Hannity & Colmes devoted four segments to the Imus story. The guest list consisted of conservatives, only, in Part 1, the top segment of the show. Ingraham was joined by talk show host Larry Elder. Elder’s chief function on the show seems to be serving as an African-American basher of other African Americans. Elder is rarely, if ever, on in any other capacity. Predictably, Elder was more interested in bashing Imus-critics Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson than he was in talking about Imus. What purpose was there for his appearance other than to whip up more racial divide and conveniently legitimize enmity against blacks?

Both Ingraham and Elder condemned Imus’ comments but soon moved on to other areas of conservative interest: Elder started in on bashing blacks for focusing too much on Imus rather than children out of wedlock; Ingraham acknowledged that she was not in a position to assess the effect of Imus’ words on an African American but she thought that just as Imus was to be criticized, there ought to be a look at areas of black culture that are degrading to women.

Alan Colmes continued his impassioned defense of Imus. "I wish now he’d just stop apologizing,” Colmes said, as though the “nappy headed ho” comment was just an isolated incident when, in fact, Imus has a long history of makng racial slurs. Believe it or not, it was Sean Hannity who brought up Imus' record, albeit in a context of bashing MSNBC for acting as though the "nappy headed ho" comment were something new.

It wasn’t until Part 2 (video below) that a real Imus critic was brought on the show. Civil rights attorney and radio talk show host Leo Terrell did a great job for the most part, though he overlooked a few opportunities to confront Hannity on his hypocrisy.

Terrell had barely finished explaining why he’s outraged on behalf of the Rutgers basketball team before Elder starting attacking him.

Whenever a white man is accused of racism, Hannity immediately looks for a way to attack blacks (as though, some might say, to justify the opinion). He wasted no time on Terrell’s call for the firing of Imus and quickly changed the subject to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. “If you’re so outraged about this, the people that are leading the charge to get him fired… have controversial backgrounds.” Hannity made the dubious claim that one of them “spit in people’s food because they’re white.” Hannity continued, “They really are not the people with the moral authority to be leading the charge."

“I don’t give a heck about Sharpton and Jackson,” Terrell answered.

“You’re catching him in his hypocrisy,” Elder added. “And his double standard that he always has.” Elder quickly moved on to criticizing Howard Dean and Claire McCaskill.

“Change the subject!” Terrell shouted and rightly so. But he passed up an opportunity to throw back at them Bill Bennett, Mel Gibson and Ann Coulter as examples of right wing hate-mongers who always get a pass on the show.

Ingraham had her eyes closed during the shouting and as Hannity went to her, she said, “I think one thing that we can all probably agree on is that the culture has become really coarsened.” She went on to complain about FOX News, in particular, for using the “B roll” at the drop of a mention of Girls Gone Wild. She must have forgotten to mention the cheesecake photos of the “sex-crazed” teachers, Anna Nicole, Miss Universe and a host of other excuses that FOX News seems to find.

At least Colmes confronted Elder on his “mix and match” tactic of changing the subject to blaming Democrats.

“Nice try,” Elder said. Then he went right back to his African American bashing tactics. “One of those who’s demanding that Don Imus have his head on a platter is Spike Lee. Spike Lee said he hated interracial couples…”

“There he goes again.” Terrell jumped in before Colmes did, seemingly prompting him into confronting Elder again for “making it about them and not about the actual incident.”

But Elder was not about to be deterred in his bashing. “Where do these guys get off becoming moral authorities?”

It would have been another great opportunity for Terrell to jump in and ask that about some of the great Republican “accusers” such as Coulter, Bennett, et al. However, he did stay on message. “I thought this was about Don Imus and the college girls!”

Ingraham tried to break in to say something but could not get a word in. “This is why I do radio,” she said. “I can’t deal with this. This is a nightmare.”

Hannity broke in to end the discussion, even though Colmes had received little more than a minute of air time while Hannity had used more than three. With great relish, Hannity said, “When we come back, I’ve got a tape of outrageous things Democrats have said.”

Terrell threw his hands up. “Here we go again.”

“And we’ll get Laura Ingraham’s take on it when we come back,” Hannity continued.

“No, I’m not speaking. I’m boycotting you,” Ingraham said. “I’m out.”

Hannity and Colmes laughed. But she was gone from the next part.

In Part 4, after the half hour news, more black critics of Imus arrived. Hannity started in Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson again.

“The issue is not Al Sharpton,” author Jabari Asim told Hannity.

“Yes, it is,” Hannity replied.

That video is after the one with Ingraham.