As part of his “special” attack show on Attorney General Eric Holder, Sean Hannity made a special effort to portray Holder as an African American racist. But Hannity resorted to a bunch of distortions from the phony-baloney New Black Panther Party “voter intimidation” case - in which nobody was intimidated - to make his argument. Which strongly points to him as the real bigot. Unlike Holder, Hannity has a real history to validate that conclusion.
Main Justice, which wrote an excellent series of articles on the NBPP case summarizes it as follows:
The November 2008 incident at a Philadelphia polling place has become a cause celebre for conservatives. Two members of the anti-white fringe group stood outside the polling place in military-style garb, one of them holding a night stick.
The Obama DOJ dismissed the case last year, citing a lack of a pattern of intimidation and the fact that one of the Black Panthers was a registered Democratic poll watcher. The DOJ obtained an injunction against the Black Panther who carried the nightstick.
…In fact, no voters at all in the Philadelphia precinct have come forward to allege intimidation. The complaints have come from white Republican poll watchers, who have given no evidence they were registered to vote in the majority black precinct.
Another Main Justice article adds this important information:
Only 34 whites live in Precinct 4 in Philadelphia out of a total population of 970, according to census data. But there was a sea of white faces there that day, mainly Republican lawyers who’d come to monitor the polling station in what, since the disputed 2000 presidential election, has become an election-day ritual for both parties.
In other words, as I wrote in a previous post during a previous attempt by Fox to make race-baiting political hay out of this case, a couple of thuggish African Americans from the New Black Panther Party, one wielding a billy club, hung around a polling place in a nearly all-black Philadelphia district on Election Day in 2008 where a cadre of white Republicans had been stationed. The NBPP members were arrested, the Bush administration pressed civil, not criminal, charges which the Obama DOJ later dropped after getting an injunction against the guy with the billy club.
But here’s how Hannity falsely described the situation:
On the very day that Barack Obama was first elected… there were reports that members of the New Black Panther Party were intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place.
As photos of scary black men appeared on the screen, Hannity went on to say that “people complained that (one of the NBPP members) was intimidating potential voters.” He just forgot to mention that the complainants were out-of-town Republicans.
But instead of delving into why the men were never prosecuted (the DOJ reasoning was quickly mentioned and immediately dismissed as false) or even discussing whether (or not) any voters had been actually intimidated, Hannity went for the race card. He was ably assisted in his efforts by C. Christian Adams, a Republican activist who was one of at least 63 lawyers improperly hired for his conservative affiliations during the Bush administration. He’s also one of the prime promoters of this race-baiting “controversy” and a Fox News fave. Hannity, who surely knew Adams’ view of the situation, all but gave him the high sign to make his thinly-veiled suggestions that Holder is prejudiced against white people.
Adams: Some people, including the Attorney General, want to give a pass to certain people because of who they are rather than what they do. And that sort of lawlessness has become the name of the game in this Justice Department.
Hannity: But in this case, isn’t the New Black Panther Party one of the most radical and militant groups out there? Why would (the DOJ) defend them?
Adams: Radical, anti-Semitic, full of hatred. The reason they would defend them is …that there is a hostility in this Justice Department, particularly in the Civil Rights Division, run by Tom Perez, for enforcing the law equally, meaning if the defendants are black, then we give them a pass and that has happened over and over and over again.
Hannity next ratcheted up the race-baiting:
What would have happened if the group was a group of white men, dressed similarly, with batons, intimidating voters. Would something have happened?
…Didn’t the Attorney General also refer to us as a country as racial cowards?
But here’s something else Hannity left out. Conservative attorney Abigail Thernstrom wrote in the National Review, “Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, makes a perfectly plausible argument (for dropping the case). Different lawyers read this barely litigated statutory provision differently. It happens all the time, especially when administrations change in the middle of litigation. Democrats and Republicans seldom agree on how best to enforce civil-rights statutes; this is not the first instance of a war between Left and Right within the Civil Rights Division… There are plenty of grounds on which to sharply criticize the attorney general — his handling of terrorism questions, just for starters — but this particular overblown attack threatens to undermine the credibility of his conservative critics.”
But if you’re a conservative willing to make racial attacks on Eric Holder (or almost any African American Democrat), nothing undermines your credibility to Hannity. His is the go-to show for race-baiting against African Americans. It was no surprise when Hannity struck back at Congressman Keith Ellison, after an on-air confrontation between them went viral, by race-baiting again. In this case, Hannity “asked” if Ellison was the black equivalent of the KKK. On the other hand, Hannity has a soft spot in his heart just about any white person accused of racism, including George Zimmerman. It’s a pattern that goes back to at least his early days on radio when he cozied up to white supremacist Hal Turner, who recently served a 33-month prison sentence for threatening three federal judges.
So who’s the real bigot in this picture?
It’s one thing to criticize Eric Holder for his actual policies but to twist facts in order to race bait is nothing short of despicable. It also speaks volumes about Fox News that they allow, if not approve, of this sort of thing.
Ellen, I think that should read “He just FAILED to mention that the complainants were out-of-town Republicans.” “Forgot” suggests an unintended lapse of memory. There is no way you can convince me that Hannity “forgot” the information. He has an agenda that wouldn’t be served by simply “forgetting” the information. By “forgetting” the information, that implies that Hannity would have no problem “correcting” his error at a later date.
Oh, wait… Arpaio’s a Republican. Never mind, keep lying about what happened with this.
As the evidence shows, there’s nothing of substance to this. What the NBBP guys were doing was ridiculous, and it was dealt with. What the GOP guys were doing was clearly intended as a setup, and even after it’s been proven to be such, here comes Hannity trying to throw it back up again in the hope that nobody noticed.
And this was only one of the silly moments in an entire evening of “Let’s attack Eric Holder and then speculate on whether he should resign”. We had all the greatest hits in here, including a bunch of untrue statements about Fast & Furious. (And for the record, the people there trying to blame the death of Agent Brian Terry on F&F and Holder are showing their ignorance on that topic.)
The real purpose behind all of this was revenge for what happened with Alberto Gonzales, whose unfortunate record as AG under Bush (let’s see, politically motivated firings, warrantless wiretaps, repeated non-true statements to Congress, etc, etc) led to his resignation in disgrace. The GOP and Fox News have been hunting for Holder’s scalp ever since the day his appointment was announced. The difference between Gonzales and Holder is that Gonzales really was doing corrupt things, while Holder has been trying to do his job. Darrell Issa has repeatedly tried to smear Holder and at this point the attempts seem to be getting more desperate. Not coincidentally, this entire “special” had a feeling of desperation to it…