On Hannity's America, Sean Hannity falsely asserted that the minister of Sen. Barack Obama's church "honored [Louis] Farrakhan for lifetime achievement, saying, quote, 'He truly epitomized greatness.' " In fact, the managing editor of a magazine founded by the church wrote those words, not the minister. Hannity also stated that Michelle Obama "wrote in her [undergraduate] thesis that we see at Princeton, you know, the belief -- 'because of the belief that blacks must join in solidarity to combat a white oppressor.' " However, as the full context of the passage makes clear, she was discussing views that black students who attended Princeton in the 1970s may have held, not asserting her own views.
On the March 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America, host Sean Hannity asserted, "As more is learned about Barack Obama's positions, his past, and his affiliations, it seems that the 'change' candidate has all the same problems with race as those before him," and later added, "It's only fair to ask: Do the Obamas have a race problem of their own?"
During the segment, Hannity referred to an award given to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan by Trumpet Newsmagazine, a publication founded by Obama's church, and falsely asserted that the then-minister of Obama's church and CEO of the magazine, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, "honored Farrakhan for lifetime achievement, saying, quote, 'He truly epitomized greatness.' " Contrary to Hannity's assertion, it was not Wright who said Farrakhan "epitomized greatness." Rather, in the article in which Trumpet discussed its presentation of the award to Farrakhan, it was managing editor Rhoda McKinney-Jones who wrote, "I could not help but think, the Minister, the man with whom I had been so casually speaking, truly epitomized greatness." Further, Hannity did not mention the fact that the Obama campaign issued a statement disagreeing with the magazine's decision to give Farrakhan the award and condemning Farrakhan's anti-Semitic statements.
Additionally, during the following segment featuring Democratic strategist Jacques DeGraff, Hannity continued to distort what Obama's wife, Michelle, wrote in her undergraduate thesis, asserting: "She wrote in her thesis that we see at Princeton, you know, the belief -- 'because of the belief that blacks must join in solidarity to combat a white oppressor.' " However, as Media Matters for America has noted, the context from which Hannity took those words makes clear that she was discussing views that black students who attended Princeton in the 1970s may have held, not asserting her own views.
Moreover, despite the fact that Michelle Obama wrote her thesis more than 20 years ago, Hannity asserted that "this was on the heels of her saying for the first time in her life, adult life, she was proud to be an American." Indeed, as DeGraff pointed out in response: "[T]he questions are on the heels. But the two points are actually 23 years apart."
From the March 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity's America:
HANNITY: They have the potential to go down in history as the country's first African-American family to occupy the White House. But if Barack Obama wins, will his legacy be positive or a negative one? And who will be the one to blame for that?
[begin video clip]
HANNITY: For both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, this has been one of the ugliest primary seasons in recent memory. Both sides have been accused of using the race card, turning what could have been a season of coming together for the Democrats into a nasty free-for-all. And while much of the attention for racial politics has been focused on the Clinton campaign, Barack Obama has waded into his own problems.
As more is learned about Barack Obama's positions, his past, and his affiliations, it seems that the "change" candidate has all the same problems with race as those before him.
Let's start off with the recent endorsement given to Barack Obama by the Nation of Islam's head, Louis Farrakhan. Now, while Obama has refused Farrakhan's support and has condemned his past anti-Semitic statements, it wasn't until Tuesday night's debate that he went as far as some would have liked in distancing himself from the man who once referred to Judaism as a gutter religion.
OBAMA: I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments. I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible. I did not solicit this support.
HANNITY: And of course, we can't forget the connection that Farrakhan has to Obama's own Trinity United Church of Christ. Their minister and Obama's spiritual adviser, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, honored Farrakhan for lifetime achievement saying, quote, "He truly epitomized greatness." Now, that's in reference to the same Louis Farrakhan who once referred to the white man as the skunk of the planet Earth. So how can someone who has verbally expressed such hate for others receive such an honor? Now, this wasn't a problem created by a nasty campaign ad. Barack Obama did this to himself.
Then, there is Michelle Obama's senior thesis from Princeton University. It was 1985 and written under her maiden name, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson. The title of the paper is, quote, "Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community." And it runs more than 60 pages long.
Michelle Obama talks about the struggle that African-Americans face integrating themselves into white society. She writes, quote, "I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong. Regardless of the circumstances under which I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if to them I will always be black first and a student second." End quote.
She later goes on to say, quote, "Further integration and/or assimilation into a white cultural and social structure that will only allow me to remain on the periphery of society, never becoming a full participant," end quote.
Taken in conjunction with the teachings of the Trinity United Baptist [sic] Church that some critics label as black separatist, a pattern begins to emerge. It's only fair to ask: Do the Obamas have a race problem of their own?
[end video clip]
HANNITY: And joining me now is Democratic strategist Jacques DeGraff is with us. Jacques, how are you doing, man? Good to see you. We appreciate you being here. Thank you very much.
DeGRAFF: Good to be back. Thank you.
HANNITY: All right. There's concerns now that are coming up about Barack Obama. Number one, should it matter to people that Louis Farrakhan -- you know, his newspaper referred to the white man as the skunk of planet Earth, and Judaism a gutter religion -- that Barack Obama's church and pastor bestows a prestigious award on Farrakhan? Should people not be concerned about that?
DeGRAFF: They should be concerned and they should do the investigation. And when they do, they'll find that he's not soft on anti-Semitism. No one is saying that. He's denounced and rejected his endorsement. He has a record of support for Israel. He has a lot of support in the Jewish community.
HANNITY: I interviewed Dr. Jeremiah Wright. And I asked him about, you know, what they have adopted at the church, the Black Value System. And that is that, you know, commitment to the black community, the black family, the black work ethic, you know, pledge to make the fruits of developing and acquired skills available to the black community. And it goes on and on. You would admit if it was white instead of black, that that would be considered racist.
DeGRAFF: Well, no, because you can still go across America today and find segregation every Sunday morning.
HANNITY: You think that if a presidential candidate belonged to a church that had adherence to the white value system that that wouldn't be viewed as racist?
DeGRAFF: Racist means you're putting somebody down or excluding someone. There's no evidence that a white person has ever been turned away by Barack's church. In fact, the denomination that he's a part of has many white members.
HANNITY: Well, it raises other questions, too. Because the issue came up, as we all know, when we discussed about Michelle Obama. She wrote in her thesis that we see at Princeton, you know, the belief -- "because of the belief that blacks must join in solidarity to combat a white oppressor." Now, this was on the heels of her saying for the first time in her life, adult life, she was proud to be an American.
DeGRAFF: No, it's not only -- the questions are on the heels. But the two points are actually 23 years apart.
HANNITY: A lot of people say, wait a minute -- what is the thought process behind, you know, these comments and this church and this value system? Why didn't he speak out against his pastor for giving Farrakhan an award?