Misrepresenting Obama's audiobook, Hannity claimed Obama said, "White folks' greed runs a world in need"
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On his radio show, Sean Hannity falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama had "openly complained about 'white folks' greed.' " Hannity played a clip from the audiobook version of Obama's memoir in which Obama says, "White folks' greed runs a world in need." However, the clip is taken from a passage in which Obama is quoting from a sermon by Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In fact, Hannity himself acknowledged as much on Hannity & Colmes in March, saying, "Even the 'Audacity of Hope' speech or sermon had, you know, 'white greed' in there."
On the August 15 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Sean Hannity falsely asserted that Sen. Barack Obama had "openly complained about 'white folks' greed.' " To illustrate the claim, Hannity then played audio in which Obama says, "White folks' greed runs a world in need." However, Hannity did not note that the sound bite came from the audiobook version of Obama's memoir, Dreams From My Father (Crown, 1995), in a passage in which Obama recites lines from a sermon by Rev. Jeremiah Wright. So, those words, which Hannity asserted "Obama himself has said," are a quote from Wright, a fact that Hannity has previously acknowledged.
Hannity brought up the quote in a discussion of the Obama campaign's refutation of the claims in Jerome Corsi's debunked and discredited book The Obama Nation. The response includes evidence contradicting several "factual inaccuracies" in Corsi's book and outlines Corsi's connections to conspiracy theorists who claim, among other things, that the U.S. government is covering up the "true" cause of the World Trade Center collapse on 9-11. The response also details Corsi's anti-Muslim and anti-Catholic statements and describes him as a "discredited, fringe bigot."
Hannity asserted: "[I]f I were Obama, I don't know if I'd be hurling around the word 'bigot,' given some of the things that Obama himself has said in the past. For example, if Corsi, the fringe bigot -- you know, what would you call a guy who openly complained about 'white folks' greed'?" Hannity then aired an audio clip of Obama saying, "White folks greed runs a world in need." Later in the broadcast, Hannity again commented that "I don't think [Obama] ought to be hurling around words like 'bigot,' given the things that he's said himself," and again aired the same audio clip. In neither instance did Hannity say that the audio clip is, in fact, Obama's quotation of Wright in his audiobook. From Page 292 of Dreams From My Father:
The title of Reverend Wright's sermon that morning was "The Audacity of Hope." He began with a passage from the Book of Samuel -- the story of Hannah, who, barren and taunted by her rivals, had wept and shaken in prayer before her God. The story reminded him, he said, of a sermon a fellow pastor had preached at a conference some years before, in which the pastor described going to a museum and being confronted by a painting titled Hope.
"The painting depicts a harpist," Reverend Wright explained, "a woman who at first glance appears to be sitting atop a great mountain. Until you take a closer look and see that the woman is bruised and bloodied, dressed in tattered rags, the harp reduced to a single frayed string. Your eye is then drawn down to the scene below, down to the valley below, where everywhere are the ravages of famine, the drumbeat of war, a world groaning under strife and deprivation.
"It is this world, a world where cruise ships throw away more food in a day than most residents of Port-au-Prince see in a year, where white folks' greed runs a world in need, apartheid in one hemisphere, apathy in another hemisphere ...That's the world! On which hope sits!"
Hannity falsely characterized these words as Obama's despite having previously noted that they were Wright's. On the March 28 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Hannity specifically referenced the quoted passage from Wright's "Audacity of Hope" sermon, noting that it was Wright's: "Now, there is some examination [of Obama's ties to Trinity United Church of Christ] going on, but there will be a full examination. What dates was he at the church? What sermons did he hear? Even the 'Audacity of Hope' speech or sermon had, you know, 'white greed' in there."
From the March 28 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:
HANNITY: Let me go to these numbers here, because they're pretty astounding here.
DOUG SCHOEN (Democratic pollster): Sure.
HANNITY: Rasmussen had a poll.
HANNITY: Fifty-six percent of Americans, now, as a result of this controversy are less likely to want to vote for Barack Obama. Pew poll, nearly 40 percent of people --
HANNITY: -- in that particular poll. Among Democrats, 17 percent of Democrats, Fox News poll --
HANNITY: -- think that he shares the views of his pastor, think that all those incendiary remarks. That's hemorrhaging and beyond.
SCHOEN: Well, I made it clear to Alan that it is. Here's the real problem that the numbers underscore. Obama's running a campaign of unity, yet he has not distanced himself completely from a minister who is divisive. He said that Reverend Wright has apologized. The Reverend Wright has in no way apologized.
HANNITY: That's right.
SCHOEN: And until Obama makes it clear that he will have nothing to do with the Reverend Wright and completely repudiates him, these numbers will be a problem for him.
HANNITY: And Michael Steele [GOPAC chairman], there's more to this, too, as I pointed out. Now, there is some examination going on, but there will be a full examination. What dates was he at the church? What sermons did he hear? Even the "Audacity of Hope" speech or sermon had, you know, "white greed" in there.
From the August 15 edition of ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
HANNITY: Anyway, part of the Obama attack against Jerome Corsi includes the allegation he's a, quote, "fringed bigot," based on criticism of the Catholic Church that Corsi posted on some websites during the priest sex-abuse scandal. And by the way, I'm a Catholic. So, I understand that there were people that really went over the line. And I'm not doubting any of this. And I even heard Corsi's going on some radical talk shows. I think that's a mistake.
But that doesn't take away from what is true or not true in the book. And if only the media would vet Obama the way they are Corsi, we might actually have a little knowledge about the candidate. But one has to wonder -- if I were Obama, I don't know if I'd be hurling around the word "bigot," given some of the things that Obama himself has said in the past.
For example, if Corsi, the fringe bigot -- you know, what would you call a guy who openly complained about "white folks' greed"?
OBAMA [audio clip]: White folks' greed runs a world in need.
HANNITY: You know, what would you call somebody who declared that his grandmother, who raised him, was prejudiced just like a, quote, "typical white person"?
HANNITY: And then we got Jerome Corsi. I'm -- this is hilarious. I mean, they're all -- Kerry and all the Obama people are doing -- his book's number one on Amazon right now. Go check it out.
And, you know -- and they're saying, "Oh, he's a fringe bigot." OK, but then we just went through a whole list of examples where Barack Obama I don't think ought to be hurling around words like "bigot," given the things that he's said himself.
OBAMA [audio clip]: White folks' greed runs a world in need.
HANNITY: Yeah. Or "the typical white person," talking about his own grandmother who raised him.