Is Sean Hannity America's #1 Racist Rehabilitator?
Photo Credit: Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com
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Sean Hannity’s prominence as a national pundit is a testament to the persistence of racism in America. With his own impressive record of racist episodes (One People’s Project, 9/24/11), Hannity also plays an important role as a champion of racists.
His television and radio shows feature a parade of pundit grotesques who join the host in condemning African-Americans, the group that receives the brunt of his bigotry. In this capacity, Hannity also acts as a sort of one-man fire brigade, rushing to extinguish accusations of anti-black racism, and defending, exonerating or rehabilitating the racists behind the words and deeds.
Routinely casting black people as villains, even in stories in which they are obviously victims, Hannity just as regularly casts people who have victimized African-Americans as hapless, persecuted victims themselves. Black people who have been clearly wronged are virtually nonexistent in Hannity’s world.
Sean Hannity seems unconcerned about being shot by neighborhood vigilantes, despite wearing a hoodie.
Hannity has been all in for George Zimmerman since the story of his killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin broke. Before Zimmerman had even been arrested, Hannity oddly claimed that there had been a “rush to judgment” in the case (Hannity, 3/27/12).
Hannity’s Fox News show has featured more than 50 segments on the story, including extended, separate and friendly interviews with George Zimmerman and his father. Hannity has hosted Zimmerman’s lawyer Mark O’Mara several times, even allowing him to pitch for contributions to his client’s defense fund (Hannity, 2/5/13).
“There is a mountain of evidence supporting George Zimmerman not being a racist,” Hannity declared (7/23/13) of the man who once called 911 to report the “suspicious activity” of a black child under the age of 10 (Daily Beast, 3/22/13). As a sample of this mountain, Hannity (NewsHounds, 7/15/13) has offered, “Didn’t George Zimmerman date a black woman, take one to the prom?”
Perennial Hannity guest Ann Coulter—who has called the president “Flavor Flav” (Huffington Post, 2/10/12) and argued that Martin was killed because he attempted to mug Zimmerman ( 7/17/13)—joined Hannity ( 7/11/13) in agreeing that George Zimmerman’s mistreatment was analogous to the three white Duke University students falsely accused of rape by a black woman in 2006. Neither let the little problem of the actual dead teenager spoil their analogy.
Nor, despite the fact that they were in a studio 11 blocks from Central Park at the time, did either mention the Central Park Five: five black and Latino teens who served prison time for a rape and assault they didn’t commit.
Hannity and company’s concern for the “wronged” virtually never extends to black people. Extra! couldn’t find a single segment in which Hannity addressed the growing number of inmates freed from prison, in many cases from death row, because of emerging exculpatory evidence, including DNA analysis—a disproportionate number of whom are men of color. It’s a pattern that puts the lie to Hannity’s concern-trolling over murder victims in Chicago, a talking point raised by the host in six of his last 10 segments about the Martin killing (e.g., Hannity, 7/22/13, 7/19/13).
During several segments about Martin’s killing, Hannity has maintained that his death was a sort of tragic accident (e.g., 7/19/12, 7/17/13), even if he generally refrained from calling Martin a victim. But on his radio show (Huffington Post, 7/19/13) after Barack Obama remarked that “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” Hannity went off, dropping all pretense and ignoring Obama’s obvious point about the profiling of black males to indulge in racist stereotypes:
Now the president’s saying, “Trayvon could’ve been me 35 years ago.” This is a particularly helpful comment. Is the president admitting that, I guess because he was part of the Choom Gang and he smoked pot and he did a little blow—I’m not sure how to interpret, because we know that Trayvon had been smoking pot that night.