Sean Hannity, along with most of his Fox News colleagues, is obsessed with how President Obama handles race relations. So, to prove that the president is making race relations worse in the country, Hannity assembled an “audience” that turned out to be, not average citizens at all, but a group of hand-picked semi-celebrities who were largely ready to indict the president over matters of race. Oh, and would it surprise you to learn that the majority of Hannity’s panel was black?
It’s clear from the start that Hannity is expecting the “audience” to agree that President Obama has been bad for race relations. The very title of the segment, “Why have racial tensions worsened under Barack Obama?” says that. If he was really interested in getting unbiased opinions about race in America, shouldn’t the word “why” have been left out? Most of the segment doesn’t even address the answer to Hannity’s question. Instead, what viewers get is an attack on the president, and some of his remarks on several high profile incidents that involved race.
To warm up viewers to the subject, Hannity starts the segment by playing a clip of the Baltimore riots. Then he mentions that President Obama is in his seventh year in office, and asks who thinks race relations have improved. No hands go up. “Worse?” Hannity asks. Hands shoot skyward.
Hannity calls the president a “four-time loser on high profile race cases.” Those cases are: the Henry Louis Gates confrontation with police in his own home, the Trayvon Martin shooting, the Michael Brown shooting, and the death of Freddie Gray at the hands of Baltimore police. We then get to hear from a parade of black conservatives, all ready to “prove” Hannity’s point about the deterioration of race relations under Barack Obama.
When white ex-cop Bo Dietl weighs in, it is to bring up the chant that came from a small minority of protesters in New York: “What do we want? Dead cops.” Dietl tries to make that small group emblematic of the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Tea Party leader, Niger Innis, compares President Obama’s attitudes on race to those of President Woodrow Wilson, in reverse. Wilson did not have particularly good relations with the black community. Innis calls Obama “the reincarnation of Woodrow Wilson.”
The underlying implication of the entire conversation is that whenever a black leader speaks on race, he or she is automatically stirring racial tensions. White people can speak on issues that are of importance to white people, but if a black president offers his opinion about something of concern to the black community, he is “race baiting.”
The one voice of semi-sanity in the group comes from former Miss America, Kirsten Haglund. She tells Hannity that she thinks the president “is trying to bring people together, but it’s just not working.” If Hannity would like an example of why efforts to improve race relations aren’t working, someone should just hand him a mirror.
Anyone looking for a more rational discussion about race relations should check out this clip from Bill Maher.
Here’s the video of Sean Hannity’s audience assisted anti-Obama screed, via Fox News:
Featured image via screen capture from Fox News