On Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity declared that Louis Farrakhan "had nice things to say" about Sen. Barack Obama, but did not mention that Obama responded to Farrakhan's remarks with a statement noting that "I have been ... a consistent denunciator of Louis Farrakhan."
On the February 25 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity declared that Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan "had nice things to say" about Sen. Barack Obama, but did not mention that Obama responded to Farrakhan's remarks with a statement noting that "I have been ... a consistent denunciator of Louis Farrakhan." Hannity also referenced an award given to Farrakhan by Trumpet Newsmagazine, a publication founded by Obama's church, but did not note that the Obama campaign provided a statement criticizing Farrakhan and disagreeing with the magazine's decision to give him the award.
During a segment featuring columnist and Fox News contributor Dick Morris, Hannity asserted that "Louis Farrakhan had nice things to say about him [Obama] this weekend." Later, co-host Alan Colmes said to Morris: "But I want to ask you about something that Sean brought up, which has to do with a support from Louis Farrakhan. Are we going to smear Barack Obama because Louis Farrakhan likes him as a candidate? Is that something that's even -- should even be on the radar screen?" Then, during a segment featuring Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor Bob Beckel, Republican strategist Pete Snyder, and Human Events columnist Michelle Oddis, Hannity said to Beckel: "Would it matter to you, Bob Beckel, if, in fact -- because the church that Barack Obama goes to honored the Minister Louis Farrakhan. Honored him. A man that refers to the white man as the skunk of the planet Earth and Judaism is a gutter religion. Should that -- should he be asked about that? Is that fair?"
Following Farrakhan's endorsement of Obama, Obama gave a speech at a Jewish community meeting in Cleveland in which he stated:
OBAMA: It is true that my Pastor, Jeremiah Wright, who will be retiring this month, is somebody who on occasion can say controversial things. ... He does not have a close relationship with Louis Farrakhan. Louis Farrakhan is a resident of Chicago and as a consequence he has been active in a range of community activities, particularly around ex-offenders and dealing with them. I have been a consistent, before I go any further, a consistent denunciator of Louis Farrakhan, nobody challenges that. And what is true is that, recently this is probably, I guess last year. An award was given to Farrakhan for his work on behave of ex-offenders completely unrelated to his controversial statements. And I believe that was a mistake and showed a lack of sensitivity to [the] Jewish community and I said so.
As Obama noted in the speech, after Trumpet Newsmagazine gave the award to Farrakhan, the Obama campaign released the following statement, as the washingtonpost.com blog The Trail reported:
"I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan," Obama said in the statement. "I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree."
As Media Matters for America documented, Hannity has previously referenced the Trumpet award as evidence that Obama "associated" himself with Farrakhan, without noting Obama's condemnation of Farrakhan.
From the February 25 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: Let me ask you if you think the issue of race is going to be a bigger part in this campaign than it's been to now. Now, we had Barack Obama's pastor on this very show. And he has, for example, the Black Value System that he wants his congregants to commit to. You know, the black family, the black community, the black work ethic, on and on and on.
Louis Farrakhan had nice things to say about him this weekend. And then we discovered that Michelle Obama, who made this comment last week when she said she felt proud of her country for the first time in her life, she, in her thesis at Princeton, wrote the following talking about -- she said "because of the belief that blacks must join in solidarity to combat a white oppressor," she talked about why African-Americans joined together at Princeton. Is race going to now be an issue for them?
MORRIS: No, I think once you carry Utah and Idaho and North Carolina, you basically have proven that you're going to get white votes. I think there'll be attempts to raise race. But I think, like I said on your show last week, it's a fundamental mistake to go after the wife. She's not running for president. I mean, my goodness, if you could defeat a husband by defeating his wife, Bill Clinton never would have been president.
COLMES: But I want to ask you about something that Sean brought up, which has to do with a support from Louis Farrakhan. Are we going to smear Barack Obama because Louis Farrakhan likes him as a candidate? Is that something that's even -- should even be on the radar screen?
MORRIS: It shouldn't be at all. I mean, I think the important thing about Obama is that he ran -- he's been running really like a Republican black candidate, liberal on the issues, but running without any reference to race at all. He doesn't say, "Elect a black man," any more than another guy would say, "Elect a bald man." He simply is a candidate who happens to be black, and I think that's what people find really refreshing about him.
But the fascinating thing to me about Hillary's campaign is she simply can't get any traction on any issue. That big speech you had her giving about, "Shame on you, Barack Obama" -- what Obama did was he said that Hillary wants to force people who don't have health insurance and don't want health insurance to buy health insurance. And Hillary says that's below the belt as a shot.
But if you're for universal health insurance, the only way you're going to enforce it is to garnish wages or have fines on people, so he's exactly right.
COLMES: Pete Snyder, is it fair to talk about where Barack Obama goes to church, who his pastor associates with, whether his pastor has a relationship with Louis Farrakhan, having nothing to do with Barack Obama? Is that fair game?
SNYDER: Alan, you know, when you have a candidate like Barack Obama and you have a candidate like John McCain, I think John McCain's going to take him straight on, on the issues. I mean, John McCain wants to win in Iraq. Barack Obama wants to pull out immediately. Barack Obama wants to raise taxes. John McCain doesn't want to raise taxes.
COLMES: No, rescind the tax cuts for the rich. Those are fair debates, though. But I'm talking about other issues that have -- keep coming up about the Obamas.
SNYDER: They're very fair debates. And when you can win on the issues, when you're going against the most liberal senator in the entire Senate -- he makes Hillary look right of center -- they're going to hit him on the issues.
COLMES: They're going to play that game, Bob Beckel: liberal, liberal, liberal.
HANNITY: How about fundamental fairness? Would it matter to you, Bob Beckel, if, in fact -- because the church that Barack Obama goes to honored the Minister Louis Farrakhan. Honored him.
BECKEL: I don't care what it did.
HANNITY: A man that refers to the white man as the skunk of the planet Earth and Judaism is a gutter religion. Should that -- should he be asked about that?
BECKEL: Who cares?
HANNITY: Is that fair?
BECKEL: Should he be -- no, I don't think it should be asked about it. It's his own church. But let me --
HANNITY: Why not?
BECKEL: Who cares?
HANNITY: It's his church has a Black Value System, the black family, the black community, the black adherence to the --
BECKEL: Is that going to put health insurance in people's pocket?
HANNITY: No, but if a Republican did it, Bob Beckel, I bet you and your --
BECKEL: If a Republican did what?
HANNITY: -- Democratic friends would be out there, just like we saw the James Byrd ad --
BECKEL: If they did what?
HANNITY: -- the Missouri radio ad in 1998 --
BECKEL: Wait, wait, excuse me. If they did what?
HANNITY: -- saying black churches would burn if Republicans are elected.