Sean Hannity teamed up with one of his favorite African American haters, Katie Pavlich, for some hideous race-baiting against Attorney General Eric Holder and, of course, President Obama. Warning: This is one of the more despicable segments I have ever seen on Fox.
The excuse this time is that the Department of Justice has nominated Debo P. Adegbile to head the DOJ’s Civil Rights division. Adegbile had the audacity to participate in our system of justice – by vigorously defending Mamia Abu-Jamal.
Apparently, in Pavlich's vision of America, only certain people are entitled to such Constitutional rights as the right counsel.
In her column on Townhall, Pavlich decided Adegbile's nomination proves the “radical racial agenda” of the Obama administration. She also declared in her article, “Adegbile has made it clear he does not believe civil rights apply to whites.” She didn’t bother to cite a single statement to support that allegation or to let her readers know what he had meant.
Not surprisingly, this racial hate mongering that got her a spot on the Hannity show. She wasted little time suggesting that Adegbile embodies President Obama’s plan to have black radicals take over the DOJ:
They’re now trying to use this as a way to get this nominee into the Justice Department to carry out the racial pipe dreams of Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama through the Justice Department.
…The fact is now that we have a president who has nominated a cop-killer advocate to head up the Civil Rights Department in the Department of Justice …and that is something that should be taken very seriously.
Sadly, the guest who tried to argue the other side with reason and facts, Professor Johanna Fernandez, seemed not to be prepared for the kind of racial smearfest she stepped into. Hannity – the guy with the go-to show for race baiting against President Obama – bullied, denigrated her and cut her off.
But he was all ears and no challenge with Pavlich.
I would agree that the segment was despicable, just in terms of the smugness being presented by Pavlich and the nastiness being thrown around by Hannity. Sadly, Fernandez was not prepared to concisely rebut what Pavlich was really up to, and kept getting lost in the brambles of the Wesley Cook trial.
We should first keep in mind that Katie Pavlich has been down this road before in her quest to promote herself and get airtime or more from Fox News. Her crusade on the Fast & Furious situation was particularly embarrassing for her – she wrote a book that simply assumed the worst about an ATF situation she neither understood or had researched very carefully. And in 2012, Kathryn Eban at Fortune completely debunked Pavlich’s entire argument with a devastatingly detailed article that showed the internal politics that really drove the whole Fast & Furious “scandal”. Pavlich responded to this humiliation by trying to ignore that it had ever happened. Which essentially ended her credibility.
Pavlich’s current crusade is actually just piggybacking on the smears being thrown around by Christian Adams in this matter. (Adams was smearing Adegbile last November, and I bet Hannity gets him on as soon as he can to continue the fun.) But Pavlich, typically, takes the attacks to a whole new level.
Debo Adegbile was not a personal defender of Wesley Cook, nor did he argue that Wesley Cook should be set free. He did not argue anything regarding Cook’s innocence or guilt. His work involving the Cook appeals was part of what happened when the NAACP LDF got involved only 7 years ago – in 2007. Keep in mind that the LDF has regularly involved itself in Death Penalty cases throughout its history. They’ve made clear that they oppose the Death Penalty on principle, and that their research shows that the Death Penalty is applied in a racist manner – so their stand in this case is consistent with their practices. Their goal here was to make sure that Wesley Cook’s death sentence, which had been set aside in 2001, would not be reinstated in the midst of all the legal wrangling that went on up to 2013. They initially filed a “friend of the court” brief on his behalf, and then they represented Cook after he fired his latest set of attorneys. (Cook was represented by a whole parade of attorneys over the course of his appeals, starting in the early 1980s – The LDF were actually more than 25 years late to this particular party.) But their purpose wasn’t to free him or to declare him innocent – they just wanted to keep the prosecutors from reinstating the death sentence. Their approach here was to discuss the improprieties in the jury instructions in 1981. I won’t go farther into the details than that – but the short version is that the prosecutors finally stopped pressing the issue in the last couple of years, and have accepted that Wesley Cook will not be executed but instead spend the rest of his life in prison without parole.
The facts of the case are clear, even for people on the left. Cook was convicted of the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner on fairly solid evidence. Cook’s supporters have repeatedly thrown a lot of possible doubts about the case over the years, but none have been able to overcome the simple facts of the matter, which are available publicly – including the full transcript of Cook’s trial. (I’d agree that the trial was a ridiculous affair – but mostly due to Cook’s own conduct, where he attempted to represent himself and challenge the authority of the court to try him – which was a strategy that he had learned from MOVE, and which he had hoped would result in a mistrial for his case.) It was frankly disheartening to hear Fernandez going back to talking points about what Cook said in the hospital hallway – particularly after that entire line of questioning was demolished by Gary Bell when he schooled Amy Goodman on this issue back in 1999. I also note that Pavlich’s piggyback column includes a bit of a falsehood about Cook’s brother William, which carries over from Maureen Faulkner’s book. Up to 2001, William Cook refused to testify at all in the matter other than to say at the scene he “had nothing to do with this.” But in May 2001, William Cook signed an affidavit insisting that Wesley had not killed Faulkner. I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in that affidavit, as it’s full of some pretty bizarre conspiracy theory material, and it was clearly just the latest feint in Cook’s appeal strategy – but the fact is that William Cook did sign it, and that the death penalty was set aside later that year. This does not make him innocent – it just means that the appeals eventually were able to get him off of death row.
The issue at hand for the LDF wasn’t and isn’t whether people on death row are innocent. The issue to them is that they oppose the entire concept, particularly where they’ve shown that its application tends to have racist overtones. And this is what Debo Adegbile was arguing with the LDF when they agreed to deal with the Wesley Cook appeal.
Admittedly, this is a more complex line of reasoning than Sean Hannity or Katie Pavlich is able to perceive. Which is why Pavlich was happy to just sit back and make smug pronouncements about both Wesley Cook and Debo Adegbile.
Fernandez’s approach seemed to be to try to parse through individual details of the Cook trial, or to bring up other supporters of his. But that just allowed Hannity to shout that she was bringing up irrelevant material and cut her off. The correct approach would have been to note that Pavlich was wrong right off the bat in her statements: Adegbile didn’t “volunteer” to represent Cook, and he wasn’t trying to “get rid of the death sentence”. The LDF submitted briefs and represented Cook in terms of the improprieties in the jury instructions, and by the time they did so, the death penalty had been set aside some 6 years earlier. And it’s nice that Pavlich is aware that Cook was convicted of murder, but that really isn’t what this appeal was about. Fernandez could have then immediately gone on to point out that the LDF is known for death penalty defenses on principle, and to make the note that she did about Thurgood Marshall – thus putting the conversation on the footing it needed – to be about a civil rights attorney being appointed to a civil rights legal post. Fernandez could have noted Adegbile’s work in dealing with the Voting Rights Act last year, which was significant and of at least equal significance to his work with death row inmates. This would have put Pavlich on the defensive immediately, but if she’d countered with more about Wesley Cook and said the lines about how Cook never said he didn’t do it, Fernandez could have said that in 2001, Cook actually DID say that he did not kill Faulkner. She could then have challenged Pavlich on the fact that Pavlich hasn’t actually researched this case. Frankly, the best way to have handled this would be to bring printouts of the affidavits (which are available at the website for Daniel Faulkner) and present them to Hannity on the air, thus showing that Pavlich’s statements were false, and when Hannity asked “Where’d you get this?”, to answer “from Maureen Faulkner”, and then to ask Pavlich why she didn’t know about a key part of the case if she was that well versed in it. Most likely Hannity would have been forced to end the segment, but it would have been a much more effective way to handle Pavlich’s smugness and Hannity’s moral outrage.
F&F had 3 Euphinisms for a Penis on this morning to whip up the outrage against the nominee too. His claim is that “he is not qualified. He’s made the wrong choices in terms of who he’s defended even though everyone is entitled to a defense in this country and he should not be appointed to the top civil rights position.” Penis3 followed up by saying that “it’s a reasonable position for a lawyer to say that everyone is entitled to a defense. As a lawyer, I agree with that. Would I represent that cop killer? No, I’ve represented the families of police officers who have died and police officers who have become disabled.”
Wow, ego much, Johnson? Nice job there pimping your own sense of professional morality as being more superior than the nominee’s.
Penis3 continued on to say that the issue is really “inherently political” as the nominee will make decisions on which cases to take on. But then the real truth of the matter came out…that the nominee “has upset a lot of people in this country with regards to his position on the voting rights act and that the President, through his appointment, is going to overturn the US Supreme Court’s decision that said don’t hassle the States” with regards their choices to enforce and pass voter fraud laws.
Penis3 made sure to bring it back around to being about the dead officer’s widow and other cops but he cleverly threw in a conservative dogwhistle by saying the nominee would be “an activist Assitant Attorney General”. Yeah, we all know how much the right freaks out when it comes to the “activist” word.
So there you have it – at the heart of the matter it’s really more about the right-wingers being scared that the nominee might try to stop the so-called voter fraud laws (better known as keeping the poor, students and minorities who tend to be Democratic voters from being able to cast their votes without first getting State sanctioned photo ID). With FOX “news”, always look deeper as the conservative/GOP agenda trumps all.
With all my love,