Sean Hannity put aside his racial crusade against the NAACP last night in order to go after another favorite black target: filmmaker Spike Lee. The excuse this time was Lee's criticisms of gentrification in New York City. Watch how Hannity prodded his guests to make the attacks on Lee overtly racial.
Hannity had not one but two African American designated black attackers as guests last night: Michael Meyers and Jason Riley. If Hannity thought that outsourcing racial attacks would make anyone forget his long history of race baiting, his support for segregation in Westchester County, his history of palling around with a white supremacist – well, I’m here to remind you. Because any careful watching of this segment by anyone familiar with Hannity’s history reveals unmistakably that his real goal in the segment was to racially smear Lee.
Hannity’s purported reason for the discussion was Spike Lee’s “profanity-laced rant against the gentrification of New York City neighborhoods.” It could have been an opportunity for a legitimate discussion on gentrification in New York and/or elsewhere. But Hannity only wanted to play the race card.
“He’s complaining about, quote, gentrification,” Hannity began. “Now for years, haven’t we had complaints that …big companies, drug stores, supermarkets won’t move into, quote, certain neighborhoods, high crime areas."
Hannity continued, "So people invest money in these neighborhoods, put it at risk. They build the neighborhood back up, business comes in, jobs are created, home values increase. Why is he complaining?”
Notice Hannity’s assumption that the neighborhood was all bad before gentrification, all good after and that there are no problems of displacement, lack of affordable housing and loss of a sense of neighborhood and belonging. I strongly suspect that if a wave of African Americans were to suddenly move into, change the character of and, basically, take over Hannity’s Centre Island community, an area that currently has fewer than 3% African Americans living there, Hannity would understand all too well what Lee is complaining about.
Meyers must know his role well enough on Hannity, given that he only seems to be invited when there’s a black person to attack (or a white bigot to defend). Meyers said Lee’s complaint is that “He misses the ghetto, he misses the slums.” But he also went on to suggest that Lee must be a racist by referencing some former “white interloper” remark. “This is the racial poison that Spike Lee is trading in,” Meyers added.
Riley did his part, too. “There’s a racial angle here. He’s not complaining that wealthy people are moving in to his old neighborhood, he’s complaining that white people are.”
Actually, what Lee was complaining about was that it took an influx of white people before public services were improved. It was a point that nobody on the panel either got or bothered to try to understand.
But the race baiting was not blatant enough for Hannity. “Is he racist?” Hannity “asked.” “Is this a racist comment?”
By the way, Hannity was never bothered when his pal made racial smears about “most blacks” in Tennessee, nor when a guest accused African American supporters of President Obama of being racist for voting for him, nor when just about any white guy made far more overtly bigoted statements.
If Meyers or Riley know Hannity’s race record, they either endorsed it or didn’t care. “If a white person was making the same complaint what would he be called?” Riley responded. That brought on a peal of laughter followed by “I love that!” from Meyers.
But if past experience is any guide, a white person making the same complaint would not just get a pass but a welcome into Hannity's neighborhood.