While discussing Reverend Jesse Jackson's efforts to investigate failures in Ohio's presidential election voting process, Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson attacked Jackson and other liberals for trying to "keep black Americans angry in order to keep them on the plantation of the Democratic Party." In addition to condemning liberals as "racist towards black Americans," Peterson also falsely claimed that no blacks were disenfranchised in the 2000 election and erroneously suggested that Senator John Kerry supported reparations for slavery in the 2004 presidential campaign. Peterson's comments came during an appearance on the November 29 edition of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes.
Peterson has made a career out of attacking Jackson. As founder and president of Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND), Peterson has organized the "National Day of Repudiation of Jesse Jackson" for the past five years. In an August 14, 2000, column in the conservative New American magazine, Peterson labeled Jackson a "'problem profiteer' ... who makes millions by exploiting and exacerbating racial tensions." Peterson also wrote the book Scam: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America (Nelson Current, October 2003), in which he attacked Jackson, Reverend Al Sharpton, and other black civil rights leaders. In 2002, Peterson sued Jackson for assault and civil rights violations after an alleged incident at a December 10, 2001, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition event in Los Angeles. The case has not yet been decided.
During his Hannity & Colmes appearance, Peterson remarked on the 2000 presidential election: "Four years ago, they lied and said the blacks were disenfranchised. That was proven to be a lie. And yet the liberals were upset about that." But as Media Matters for America has noted, a June 2001 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report documented the widespread disenfranchisement of black Florida voters in that election. The report found that a disproportionate number of spoiled ballots originated from black voters and that the misuse of felon purge lists had a similarly disproportionate impact on black voters.
Peterson then incorrectly suggested that Kerry had told black voters during the campaign: "'I'll make sure you get reparations. All you have to do is vote for me.'" In fact, according to a May 19, 2004, article in The Boston Globe, at a campaign event, Kerry "rejected a call by one voter to support reparations for slavery," but pledged to "meet with a leading advocate for reparations, Representative John Conyers Jr., to discuss ways to 'heal America's wounds in the past if they exist.'"
Hannity & Colmes co-host Sean Hannity interviewed Peterson; Hannity is a strong supporter of Peterson and a member of BOND's advisory board. On the BOND website, Hannity is quoted as saying Peterson is "a great American. He is a man of conscience with a bold prescription to make America a better place." According to the website, Hannity also claimed that BOND "continues to fight the good fight standing for the values of God, family, and country, and are deserving of our support."
Peterson and BOND have led a boycott of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), claiming the organization is "a tool of the liberal elite socialist wing of the Democratic Party." And after some members of the Congressional Black Caucus accused the Bush administration of forcing former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to resign, BOND asked the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to investigate the relationship between Aristide and the Congressional Black Caucus.
Peterson's book Scam was published by WND Books, a now-defunct joint publishing venture between right-wing news website WorldNetDaily.com and Christian book publisher Thomas Nelson (books published under the venture are now under the Nelson Current imprint; the WND Books imprint will move to Cumberland House Publishing). Peterson is also listed among WorldNetDaily's "cadre of inspiring, knowledgeable speakers."