In the run-up to tomorrow’s town hall event for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, hosted by Fox News' Sean Hannity, media outlets should be aware not only of Hannity’s history of race-baiting but also of his penchant for defending and furthering Trump’s racist attacks on racial and ethnic minorities.
Hannity Will Hold A Town Hall For Trump On Issues Facing Minority Voters
Politico: Sean Hannity Will Host Town Hall With Trump At Black Church In Cleveland. Fox News' Sean Hannity will host another town hall event with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to be broadcast at 10 p.m. Wednesday, September 21, the cable channel announced Monday. Politico reported that, according to the channel, the event “will focus on the ‘core issues and concerns surrounding African-Americans.’” [Politico, 9/19/16]
Hannity Has A History Of Race-Baiting
Hannity Falsely Claimed “There's A Picture” Of Obama With The New Black Panthers. During an April 2012 segment of his Fox News show devoted to attacking the Obama administration for its handling of the Trayvon Martin case, Hannity played clips of racist statements about the case that aired on New Black Panther Radio. Hannity also suggested that President Obama has ties to the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) merely because both Obama and NBPP leader Malik Zulu Shabazz participated in an event commemorating the 42nd anniversary of the march from Selma, AL. [Media Matters, 4/10/12]
Hannity: President Obama Has “An Affinity For, A Sympathy For,” “The Practice Of Sharia.” In June, Hannity played to the myth that President Obama is Muslim by bringing up Obama’s attendance at Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church and his past attendance at a “Muslim school” before saying that Obama has “an affinity for, a sympathy for, an unwillingness to recognize the problems, the issues of the Islamic faith, especially the practice of Sharia.” From the June 14 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): There is something pathological. Now I know many of you have called and written me over the years, oh he’s a Muslim. Well he went to Reverend Wright’s church for twenty years, he did go to a Muslim school. There is certainly an affinity for, a sympathy for, an unwillingness to recognize the problems, the issues of the Islamic faith, especially the practice of Sharia. I’ll say it that way. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 6/14/16]
Hannity Lectures Black Baltimore Community Leaders About Violence, Then Says Police Won't Bother African-Americans If They're Not “Part Of A Gang.” On the May 26, 2015, edition of his Fox show, Hannity dismissed the concerns voiced by black community leaders of structural racism and violence in Baltimore. The next month, he told a caller to his radio show, If you don't do things that are wrong, if you're not part of a gang, you're not robbing, you're not stealing, you're not selling drugs, you're not using drugs, you're not violent, you're not involved in any trouble, guess what's going to happen? Nothing.” From the June 10, 2015, edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
CALLER: You will never understand what it means to be black in America. You will never understand how we are policed and how you are policed. You'll never understand that, so we will never come to an agreement on that. All I'm asking you as a decent--
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): --But I can tell you one thing, and I can tell you a fact -- that if you don't do things that are wrong, if you're not part of a gang, you're not robbing, you're not stealing, you're not selling drugs, you're not using drugs, you're not violent, you're not involved in any trouble, guess what's going to happen? Nothing. Stay out of trouble.
CALLER: That's absolutely not true.
HANNITY: And I don't care what neighborhood you live in. If you stay out of trouble, obey the laws, pay your taxes, you are going to be fine.
CALLER: Absolutely, absurdly untrue.
Hannity Asked If Affirmative Action Is As “Equally Wrong” As Illegal Discrimination. On the June 23 edition of The Sean Hannity Show, during a discussion about affirmative action and racial justice, Hannity posed the question to his quests: “If discrimination is wrong, and I think we all agree with that, is another kind of discrimination as a remedy, is that equally wrong?” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 6/23/16]
Hannity Conflated Selling Confederate Flags With Selling Rap Music. On the June 24, 2015, edition of The Sean Hannity Show, while reporting on the widespread ban of Confederate flags at retailers like Sears, Amazon, Ebay, and Wal-Mart, Hannity asked, “Can you still buy a Jay-Z CD at Walmart? Does the music department at Sears have any Ludacris albums?” and concluded, “If they’re going to ban [the Confederate flag]” why won’t they also ban “music that gratuitously uses the n-word?” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 6/24/15]
Hannity: Black Lives Matters Is A “Racist Group Threatening To ... Kill White People” And Their “Advancing Narrative Is Killing Cops.” On the September 2, 2015, edition of The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity called the Black Lives Matter movement a “racist group threatening to kill cops and kill white people” and 10 months later updated his views to claim that the group’s “advancing narrative is killing cops.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 9/2/15; Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 7/11/16]
Hannity Has Likened The Black Lives Matter Movement To The Ku Klux Klan. On the October 21, 2015, edition of Fox New’s Hannity, Hannity commented on the Democratic Party’s reported plan to allow Black Lives Matters to host a presidential town hall, asking, “Why don't you let the Klan host a party?”:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Democratic candidates pledging their support to the Black Lives Matter movement at the debate. But that doesn't appear to be enough for this radical movement. They're now demanding an opportunity for their very own presidential debate, and according to The Washington Post, the DNC reportedly allowing the quote, “Black Lives Matter” group to host a presidential town hall. Really? ... Your Democratic Party, not all lives matter, black lives matter. Your Democratic Party is going to allow the “pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon” group to host a Democratic forum? What's wrong with your party? Don't you find that -- why don't you let the Klan host a party? [Fox News, Hannity, 10/21/15]
Hannity: Lesson Of Freddie Gray's Death Is "Don't Run At 8:30 In The Morning When You See A Cop.” After Freddie Gray, an unarmed black man from Baltimore, died of severe, unexplained spinal cord injuries possibly suffered while in police custody, Hannity issued a “simple solution” to preventing the death of black men at the hands of police: “Don't be involved in the sale of drugs, don't think police are your enemies, don't run at 8:30 in the morning when you see a cop, and certainly that is a part that he plays in this equation.” From the April 28, 2015, edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): I got to be honest, I don't know what the answer to the question is. I don't know why it happened. I know this, I don't know why the kid ran. What is the mindset of someone, they see a cop and they gotta run. Maybe his record had something to do with it. What happened between the time he ran and the time he got in that truck and the time he got some medical care, we don't know what happened yet. It's suspicious to me. But I'm not rushing to judgment.
HANNITY: And his record I mentioned earlier -- it has nothing to do with -- you know, what happened in this case. I assume that it probably was connected to why he ran and his relationship with police at that time. I mean it's pretty extensive. You know there's a simple solution in terms of for other people going forward is: don't be involved in the sale of drugs, don't think police are your enemies, don't run at 8:30 in the morning when you see a cop, and certainly that is a part that he plays in this equation. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 4/28/15]
Hannity Repeatedly Distorted Michelle Obama's 1985 Thesis To Claim She Has Divisive Views On Race. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Hannity repeatedly distorted Michelle Obama's 1985 senior thesis from Princeton University, suggesting that she was asserting her own views when she wrote that "[i]t is possible that Black individuals either chose to or felt pressure to come together with other Blacks on campus because of the belief that Blacks must join in solidarity to combat a White oppressor." As the context of the quote makes clear, however, she was purporting to document attitudes among black Princeton alumni who attended the school in the '70s and not expressing her own opinions. Hannity employed this distortion at one point to ask, “Do the Obamas have a race problem of their own?” [Media Matters, 6/13/11]
Hannity Denied Republicans Brought Up Race In 2008 Election. On the October 9, 2008, edition of Fox News' now-defunct Hannity & Colmes, Hannity said of then-Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin: "[T]here are some extreme, left-wing Democratic lawmakers accusing her of resorting to race tactics on the campaign trail. Why? Palin recently referred to Barack Obama as, quote, 'not one of us,' prompting New York Congressman Greg Meeks to say the following, quote: 'They know they can't win on issues, so the last resort they have is race and fear.' " Hannity went on to assert: “If it wasn't so ridiculously idiotic and absurd, it'd be funny. But -- you know, but this -- this sounds a lot like Barack Obama: 'They're going to tell you I have a funny name, and I don't look like those guys on the currency. And they're going to say, ” Oh, he's black?"" Hannity added: “Nobody in the Republican Party is bringing this up except him and his supporters.” [Media Matters, 6/13/11]
And He Has Defended And Promoted Trump’s Racist Attacks And Policies
Hannity Defended Trump’s Attacks On A Federal Judge Of Mexican Heritage
Hannity Defended Trump's Racist Attacks On Trump U. Judge. After Trump claimed a federal judge presiding over a civil fraud lawsuit against Trump University had a conflict of interest because of his Mexican heritage, Hannity defended Trump’s “rightfully calling out the fact that there is a conflict of interest” and adding that the judge’s membership of the La Raza lawyers group is “an indication that this guy might have radical views.” From the June 3 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Let me start by saying something else that needs to be said here. Towards the end of Hannity last night, we started the program, we covered a little bit of Donald Trump speaking in San Jose. Then I had a fight with Geraldo Rivera on the program over the issue of immigration and Donald Trump, I think, rightfully calling out the fact that there is a conflict of interest, the judge in the Trump University case. Remember nobody in the media covers the Laureate College case where Bill Clinton got paid $16 some odd million, and many students from many poor countries feel like they were defrauded and that fraud has been committed against them. There's not one word about it in the media. Anyway the judge in this particular case we found out is a member of the La Raza, the race, lawyers group. Remember La Raza? That's separate from the group that we hear about often, the advocacy group. But the word La Raza means “the race.” So that's an indication that this guy might have radical views. Then we know that it came to light that the law firm, Robbins-Geller, appointed by the Judge Curiel in this case to represent a plaintiff in the Trump University class action lawsuit. Well that law firm appointed by the judge, well they have a connection to Hillary Clinton in a couple of ways. One, they gave a $2,700 campaign contribution, at least the chairman Darren Robbins did. And it seems that Robbins-Geller paid the Clintons nearly a half a million dollars in less than a year in giving them paid speeches. Now I don't think I'd want a judge with those type of connections to that law firm presiding over a case that I'm involved in. And if that's not a strong case for a recusal, I don't know what is. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 6/3/16]
Hannity Then Answered Trump’s Call To Attack Critics Of Trump’s Racist Attacks. A day after Trump ordered his surrogates to “go after” critics of his racist attacks against the federal judge overhearing the Trump U. case, Hannity took to his radio show and attacked Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for their “willingness” to criticize Trump for his comments about the judge while being “too weak, too timid, too afraid” to criticize President Obama. From the June 7 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): OK I don't want to hear it, I can't stand hearing people that are ignorant like that. I just can't. So, there's a lot of political conflicts galore here. You got a judge, anyway, the federal judge here who actually takes this thing to class action, this is a judge that probably should have recused himself. This is a judge who is part of a radical, or at least associated with the radical wing of La Raza and I think Trump's mistake was making it not about what it was, which was politics. I think that’s what it should have been about from the beginning. And he pretty much said as much and it’s time to move on. But not in the minds of Republicans. Republicans want to hit the self-destruct button. Republicans want to teach we, you, the people a lesson because you didn't vote for any of the candidates of their choice. So they’re just jumping on the bandwagon, admitting as quickly as possible things they'd never do against Obama.
HANNITY: I see more willingness to fight Trump by Republican leaders than I do in their willingness , in any of the eight years Obama has been in office now, to fight and stop Obama’s radical agenda. Starting with the campaign in ‘07 and ‘08. They were too timid, and too weak, too afraid to bring up anything involving Obama's radical past. Well, you know what? What's worse? Trump's comments about this judge, which was obviously inarticulate, I didn't hear Paul Ryan talk about Reverend Wright being racist, I didn’t hear Paul Ryan making the case that somebody that hangs out with, gave speeches with, sits on boards with and starts his political career in the home of a domestic -- unrepentant domestic terrorist isn't fit for the job. I didn’t hear Lindsey Graham make that case either and it was his buddy John McCain running at the time. [Media Matters, 6/7/16]
Hannity Defended Trump’s Attack On A Muslim Gold Star Family
Hannity Attacked Father Of Fallen Muslim U.S. Soldier After Speaking At Democratic National Convention. After Khizr Khan, father of fallen U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan, criticized Trump’s policies and statements about Muslims in a speech at the Democratic National Convention, Hannity attacked Khizr Khan. Hannity claimed that Khan’s comments are part of “a political agenda” and that his employment as an immigration lawyer means “he has a political grievance with Donald Trump.” From the August 1 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): What this really seems to be about is politics and a political agenda and a media that is running with it. And he pulls out his Constitution and he tells Donald Trump to read it. You know, this guy is an immigration lawyer. Does anybody know that? So I assume, on issues involving the vetting of refugees and Trump's general comments about radical Islam -- not Islam, radical Islam -- and vetting refugees, and building a wall, and immigration, and people that want to come to this country, he has a political grievance with Donald Trump. And in that sense, he specifically focused on EB visas, a special category in which rich foreigners can essentially buy a visa by promising to invest a certain amount of money, so is it possible that this is all about politics here? [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 8/1/16]
Hannity Later Expanded His Attack To Suggest That Trump Is Being “Targeted” By The Khan Family. The same day Hannity attacked Khan on his radio program, Hannity invited Trump onto his Fox News show to ask him, “Why do you think you’re being targeted” after praising Trump for talking about “people coming from countries that practice Sharia ... and whose values under Sharia are the antithesis of our constitutional values.” From the August 1 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): You know, ISIS is involved in an attack every 84 hours. That came out last week. We know in the U.S. from our FBI director that all 50 states, there's over 1,000 ISIS investigations going on in the country. It sounds like the media wants one narrative. You're talking about protecting the homeland. And I want to ask why do you think Mr. Khan is going after you when you talk about specifically people coming from countries that practice Sharia, which discriminate against Christians and Jews and women and gays and lesbians, and whose values under Sharia are the antithesis of our constitutional values, and Hillary voted for the war and voted to pull out early? Why do you think you're being targeted?
TRUMP: Well, I have no idea, but I watched him at the Democratic National Convention, and he was really going after me. There's no question about it. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/1/16]
Hannity Defended Trump’s Birther Conspiracy Theory
Hannity Decried Criticism Of Trump’s And Others’ False and Racist Claims That President Obama Is Not A U.S.- Born Citizen. Interviewing WorldNetDaily editor and CEO Joseph Farah on the March 24, 2011, edition of his radio show, Hannity said that Farah and Trump had “been beaten up so badly in the press” for pursuing the birther issue. He suggested birthers have unfairly been “crucified and beaten up and smeared and besmirched” and lamented that “it was even suggested in that exchange [Trump’s] racist somehow.” From the March 24, 2011, edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): All right. Now, Joseph, you've done the most work of anybody that I know here on the issue, and we heard Donald Trump -- if you ask the question, “All right, well, why not just show us the certificate?” “Ah, you're a birther. You're a birther, that's what you are.” It's not been my number one issue, but I've been following it, and I've been saying, why are all these people that just ask to see it, why are they crucified and beaten up and smeared and besmirched the way they are?
HANNITY: But you know something? It seems to me that this is -- Donald Trump is right in the sense that this is simple. This is basic. Now, if I wanted -- I know I was born in Metropolitan Hospital in New York, December 30, 1961. By the way, I was born to be a conservative because I was a tax deduction for that year, Stanley. But in all seriousness, Joe, I don't understand why they just don't put the issue to rest, why -- I know this has been important because you want to constitutionally get an answer. I don't know why you have been beaten up so badly in the press. I'm sure when Corsi's book comes out, it's going to be a huge controversy. Donald Trump is under fire, and he just asked a simple question, and it was even suggested in that exchange he's racist somehow. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 3/24/11]
Hannity Defended Trump’s Call For Mass Deportation
Hannity Defended Trump's Plan For Mass Deportation, Dismissed Concern About Impacts As An “Emotional Argument.” After Trump unveiled a plan to deport 11 million undocumented migrants from the United States, Hannity dismissed Univision anchor Jorge Ramos’ humanitarian, economic, and logistical concerns as an “emotional argument” and told Ramos “you don’t believe in the rule of law” on the August 17, 2015, edition of his Fox News show. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/17/11]
Hannity Supported Trump’s Call To Get Rid Of Birthright Citizenship
Hannity: “Trump Was Right” To Call For An End To Birthright Citizenship. In a discussion on constitutional law and immigration with conservative radio show host Mark Levin, Hannity praised Trump for being “right” by “saying no” to “people that enter this country illegally” whose “children are born here.” From the August 19, 2015, edition of Fox News' Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Rand Paul was right on this, Trump was right on this, Cruz is right on this, Walker's right on this.
HANNITY: Well this is important. Because you're talking about Article 1, Section 8, you're right, it gives the broadest possible power to the Congress to establish the uniform rule of naturalization. This should not be even in debate. And what we're talking about here, are people that enter this country illegally, so-called anchor babies, their children are born here, and people on the left want them to automatically gain citizenship. Part of Trump's deal, and Ted Cruz, and Scott Walker, Rand Paul, they're saying no. They're right, you're right, and these other people, obviously don't know history. I don't know, so I guess this is going to be a big debate. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/19/15]
Hannity Encouraged Trump’s Use Of “Anchor Baby” Slur
Hannity Supported Trump's Use Of The “Anchor Baby” Slur, Saying, “There Is No Other Term To Use.” On the August 20, 2015, edition of Fox News' Hannity, Hannity played a political advertisement of Trump defending his use of the term “anchor baby,” after which Hannity told guest Charles Hurt that “there is no other term to use” and called it “a justifiable term.” [Fox News, Hannity, 8/20/15]