No veteran Sean Hannity watcher should have been surprised that when he struck back at Rep. Keith Ellison, after their on-air confrontation went viral earlier in the week, he made it racial. In trying to paint Ellison as a black bigot and anti-Semite, Hannity "asked" if Ellison is the black equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan. But Hannity has a very long history of race baiting and religious bigotry, including those kinds of attacks on Ellison.
For those not familiar with Hannity's history of bigotry, I wrote in 2011 that Hannity's is the go-to Fox show for race baiting against African Americans. Here's one example:
In 2008, the Hannity & Colmes show hosted Hannity’s pal Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson for a discussion about a racially-charged primary in Memphis, Tennessee. Hannity complained about the “race card” being played by then-candidate Barack Obama but didn’t mind when Peterson said:
"Most blacks, not all but most in Tennessee, especially in the Memphis, Tennessee area, are still living in the 50’s and 60’s. They are so racist that they don’t even realize that white Americans have moved on. And so whenever there’s a campaign like this, such as this, they always use racism in order to intimidate white America.”
Think that got Peterson banned from the show? Think again.
Peterson later visited Hannity in 2009 where he said, “I think we all agree that Barack Obama was elected by, mostly by black racists and white guilty people. Most black Americans, 96 percent of them, are racists who (unintelligible) white Americans.”
Wondering about this guy Peterson? He's an African American pastor who thanks God for slavery and compares slave ships to flying coach. Hannity sits on the advisory board of Peterson's charity.
Promoting racial and ethnic bigotry is nothing new to Hannity.
During an August 1998 episode of the show, Turner reminded Hannity that were it not for the graciousness of the white man, "black people would still be swinging on trees in Africa," according to Daryle Jenkins, co-founder of the New Jersey-based antiracism group One People's Project. Instead of rebuking Turner or cutting him off, Hannity continued to welcome his calls.
Turner recently served a 33-month prison sentence for threatening three federal judges.
Hannity also has a very long history of defending white guys accused of racism including Trayvon Martin-shooter George Zimmerman. Perhaps nothing tops Hannity's "defense" of the white NYC policeman who sodomized Haitian Abner Louima. Hannity repeatedly pronounced Louima a “liar” and smeared him with a homophobic song. As FAIR reported, “Hannity stopped referring to the victim as ‘Lying Louima’ only after (the police officer) confessed to sodomizing Louima with the help of another officer.”
Hannity's history of bigotry has long flown under the radar, perhaps because he's canny enough to outsource most of it. But once you start looking, it's unmistakeable and glaring. Maybe now that Ellison has put him under scrutiny, others will take note.
Check out the Fox Attacks Black America video from Brave New Films in which Hannity plays a starring role. (Disclosure: I helped BNF with the research). It was made in 2007, when Barack Obama was first running for president. But it's just as relevant today.