So, here we are, almost a month into the Barack Obama Presidency, and the usual suspects are already showing the class and grace that marked the previous eight years of conservative commentary. It would take a lot more time than I have to document all of their foibles and slip-ups. In lieu of that, let's hit on a few of the choice bits of willful ignorance and not-so-subtle racism that have bubbled to the surface over the past week. Grab your hip waders and join me, won't you?
CASE #1: Sean Hannity: Racist by association?
Much can be said of Sean Hannity's foibles; his Blagojevician hair, his tic-tac brain, his tendency to spew lists to prove his point/discredit his "guests". However, the one thing he does that has annoyed me to no end has been his use of guilt by association. During the campaign last year, it seemed the two most popular words on Hannity's TV and radio shows were "Wright" and "Ayres". However, his "Stop
Obama Express" failed to derail the high-speed direct line that Barack Obama was taking to the White House.
It's kinda funny how, even now, Sean refuses to talk about an association of his own. See, when all this "guilt by association" business began last year, some people did some checking and found the name Hal Turner. Hal was a community organizer with the New Jersey Republican Party and a frequent caller to Hannity's radio show. Were they close? Well, according to this article on The Nation website
, Hannity allegedly gave Turner counseling as he was struggling with cocaine addiction. Nice guys, right? Well...
It turns out that Turner had a habit of spreading some pretty vile racist invective on his calls to Hannity. In fact, he is a white supremacist who eventually started webcasting his own talk show, the better to put out his repugnant views. When Hannity was confronted about his associations with Turner, during the Rev. Wright controversy, Hannity did what any upstanding citizen who had helped one of his friends overcome a deadly addiction would do: he denied knowing him.
Hannity praised Obama as a very effective politician. Then Hannity added, “What I don’t think you’re understanding here, Malik, is that when you hear the minister of him for 20 years, when you hear the associations with Louis Farrakhan, one of the biggest racists and anti-Semites in the country, what you’re not understanding is, America hears extremism at its worst.”
Shabazz responded, “Let me ask you this. Are you to be judged by your promotion and association with Hal Turner?”
Hannity waved his arm around. “I don’t know anybody named – this is nonsense. I don’t…” Then Hannity changed his tune. “Sir, sir… That was a man that was banned from my radio show ten years ago, that ran a Senate campaign in New Jersey.”
Then, as Shabazz refused to stop talking or back down, Hannity, in a tacit admission, said, “I’m not running for president.”
“A neo Nazi, you backed his career,” Shabazz said.
Hannity answered, “That is an absolute, positive, lie and you’ve been reading the wrong websites (presumably, he meant ours), my friend. Good try.”
Turner later responded by saying "I was quite disappointed when Sean Hannity at first tried to say he didn't know me. In fact, Sean does know me and we were quite friendly a few years ago."
In any event, Turner raised up his head again in a blog post on his website, a post he entitled "After We Kill Them; What To Do?"
Turner imagines a coming Secong American Revolution, where "they" are killed for wrecking our country. No, I don't think he's talking about the Bush administration. He wonders how society will deal with problems like Social Security funding, Medicare, taking care of the infirm and disabled. Of course, he could probably call Hannity to discuss these developments. Then again, he might have a tougher time getting that call through nowadays.CASE #2: Ann Coulter and the CCC
You know Ann. You know what she said. It seems in many ways she is the Marilyn Manson of the conservative movement; looking for new and more innovative ways to shock and horrify the general population. However, it seems she is running out of tricks, and is having to rummage through her oversized handbag to come up with something, ANYTHING to
sell more books
goad liberals into outrage.
Her latest trick is to be found in the pages of her latest tome, Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America
. Now putting aside the fact that when she was bumped from the Today show
last month Coulter plyed the same victim card she accused liberals of riding, if you look inside this book's pages you will find that she comes to bat for that poor, poor misunderstood organization the Council of Conservative Citizens
. In case you didn't know, the CCC is an organization that grew from the White Citizen's Councils that popped up in the 1950s as a reaction to the civil rights movement. She denies that it's racist, claiming that its reputation came because "...some of the directors of the CCC had, decades earlier, been leaders of a segregationist group."
I won't link to the CCC website, but you might want to peek at the Wikipedia entry
to see what they're about. I can hardly wait for Coulter's next book, "Poopyheads: Liberal A-holes Want To Call You Names"
, where she will undoubtedly say that Hitler "was good in the beginning, but went too far." Oh wait, that was Marge Schott.CASE #3: Bill O'Reilly Can Jump A Crick
Last week, Diane Sawyer did a report for "20/20" where she called attention to the poverty and squalor which is still rampant in the Appalachian Mountains. The program was so moving, so touching, that Bill O'Reilly had to say something about it:
O'REILLY: You know, that's the thing. When I was doing the volunteer work, kids get married at 16 and 17. Their parents are drunks. I'm generalizing now. There's a lot of meth. There's a lot of irresponsibility. There's fear to go look if I'm born in Appalachia, the first chance I get, I'd go to Miami, OK, because that's where the jobs are. But they stay there. And the cycle of poverty for 200 years boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And I don't want to sound hopeless about it, but I think it is hopeless. I don't think the government can do anything about it.
I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. I spent a lot of time going back there after I grew up. Yes, there is poverty. Yes, there are meth heads and drunks. Yes, there are those who leave to make a life somewhere else. However, there are a helluva lot of good people in those hollers and hills. Generalizing the people of Appalachia as a bunch of hopelessly backwards hillbillies doesn't help them one bit. O'Reilly later claimed that he was just looking out for the mountains, saying “I don't want to rebuild the infrastructure of Appalachia. I want to leave it pristine. It's beautiful,” which is all well and good. I think that there are plenty of natural wonders in those mountains. However, there can be a way to balance the uplifting of the people in the mountains while preserving the natural beauty. I just thank God Bill O'Reilly isn't in charge of policies that affect that region.
Welll, a little late, but here it is. I didn't even mention Rush Limbaugh's awesomely 1337 PDF knowledge.