Sean Hannity Can't Not Bring Up New Black Panthers In Zimmerman Interview

During an hour-long interview with George Zimmerman, who admitted to shooting and killing unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in February, Sean Hannity tried to cast Zimmerman as the victim in this case -- of a media that was too quick to condemn, of an unjust movement that has stoked racial animus, and of a group that wanted him “dead or alive.”

Hannity said that Zimmerman has “had multiple death threats” and brought up Spike Lee “tweeting out what he thinks is your home address,” and Al Sharpton and NBC News, who Hannity claimed “trie[d] to use this case to bring up the issue of racial profiling,” to make his point. He also cited the New Black Panthers, the fringe group that placed a bounty on Zimmerman's head, to continue his months-long narrative that this case has had just as much impact on Zimmerman.

Indeed, while discussing the case over the past few months, Hannity has repeatedly brought up the New Black Panthers to defend Zimmerman, a pattern the right-wing media have followed.

Hannity also sought to dispel reports that he may have offered to pay for Zimmerman's legal fees, saying that it “never happened.” Hannity was referring to an "off the record" conversation he had with Zimmerman in April, during which he claimed that the two discussed only Zimmerman's case and Hannity's wish for an on-air interview. Hannity also stressed that Zimmerman was “offered nothing to do this interview.”

That “off the record” conversation was cited by Zimmerman's previous legal defense team when it terminated its relationship with him. Attorneys Craig Sonner and Hal Uhrig told the media in an April 10 press conference that they would no longer represent Zimmerman, with Uhrig saying that Zimmerman had “called Sean Hannity of Fox News directly, not through us.” Uhrig added that “we believe that he spoke directly with Sean off the record and he's not even willing to tell us what our client told him.”

This led media critic Howard Kurtz to remark that considering Fox News' favorable coverage of Zimmerman at the time, it was “not surprising” that he would call Hannity.