Hannity criticized Obama over comments that Hannity misleadingly cropped

››› ››› VARUN PIPLANI

On his radio show, Sean Hannity twice aired a cropped version of remarks that Sen. Barack Obama made in 2001 radio interview in which Obama stated, "There's a lot of change going on outside of the court that, you know, the judges have to essentially take judicial notice of. I mean, you've got World War II. You've got the doctrines of Nazism that we are fighting against that start looking uncomfortably similar to what's going on back here at home." But Hannity left out Obama's next sentence: "You've got African Americans who are returning from the war with certain expectations in terms of, 'Why is it that I'm now in uniform and yet am denied more freedom here than I was in France or Italy?' "

On the October 28 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Sean Hannity twice aired a cropped version of remarks that Sen. Barack Obama made in a January 18, 2001, WBEZ Chicago Public Radio interview in which Obama stated, "There's a lot of change going on outside of the court that, you know, the judges have to essentially take judicial notice of. I mean, you've got World War II. You've got the doctrines of Nazism that we are fighting against that start looking uncomfortably similar to what's going on back here at home." But Hannity left out Obama's next sentence, in which Obama made clear that he was not comparing modern-day America to the doctrines of Nazism and that he was referring to the racial discrimination faced by African-American soldiers when they came home after fighting Nazi Germany during World War II.

Hannity played a clip of Obama stating:

There's a lot of change going on outside of the court that, you know, the judges have to essentially take judicial notice of. I mean, you've got World War II. You've got the doctrines of Nazism that we are fighting against that start looking uncomfortably similar to what's going on back here at home.

Hannity then asked that the clip be played again "because some of the blogs have picked up that 'Obama comparing the U.S. to Nazi Germany' story."

But Hannity left out the next sentence:

[T]here's a lot of change going on outside of the court that, you know, the judges have to essentially take judicial notice of. I mean, you've got World War II. You've got the doctrines of Nazism that we are fighting against that start looking uncomfortably similar to what's going on back here at home. You've got African Americans who are returning from the war with certain expectations in terms of, "Why is it that I'm now in uniform and yet am denied more freedom here than I was in France or Italy?"

After airing the cropped version for the second time, Hannity stated: "He's comparing -- looking similar to what Nazism is back here at home? Has anybody picked up on this in the media?"

From the October 28 broadcast of ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:

HANNITY: Now, by the way, as part of this, I found here -- Greg, do you have that other tape that we hear comparing Americans -- I want you -- do you have that? All right, why don't you play this tape, and I want people to hear this.

OBAMA [video clip]: There's a lot of change going on outside of the court that, you know, the judges have to essentially take judicial notice of. I mean, you've got World War II. You've got the doctrines of Nazism that we are fighting against that start looking uncomfortably similar to what's going on back here at home.

HANNITY: Play the rest of that, Greg. Now, I'm trying to understand here -- play it one more time here, because some of the blogs have picked up that "Obama comparing the U.S. to Nazi Germany" story. Did you -- is that in the clip?

OBAMA [video clip]: There's a lot of change going on outside of the court that, you know, the judges have to essentially take judicial notice of. I mean, you've got World War II. You've got the doctrines of Nazism that we are fighting against that start looking uncomfortably similar to what's going on back here at home.

HANNITY: He's comparing -- looking similar to what Nazism is back here at home? Has anybody picked up on this in the media? That was in the same tape that we were playing all the redistribution of wealth stuff from. Has anybody in the media decided maybe that's relevant to ask Barack Obama?

From the January 18, 2001, broadcast of the WBEZ's Odyssey program, "The Court and Civil Rights":

GRETCHEN HELFRICH (host): And this, I think, is part of what many academics and others are having so much trouble with today. Because now we have what I would argue, and -- excuse me -- what many would argue, is an activist court intervening in a number of areas like the commerce clause, for example, that it hadn't intervened in for many, many years after the New Deal. And we have people who were so supportive of the Warren court now asking that same question -- is it really the intervention or is it the content, and do we have a right to protest what we take to be a very anti-progressive or a content that's not protective of individual rights, when during the Warren era, we were all for federal intervention?

DENNIS HUTCHINSON (University of Chicago law professor): Well, let me give you an example of how hard it is to separate the questions of intervention and content. If you look at the first quarter-century of interpretation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, in other words, late 1860s to the turn of the century, I think there was pretty conventional agreement amongst those who supported the equal protection clause and a majority of the Supreme Court that if a state passed a law saying that a black can't serve on a jury, that's unconstitutional. And the reason is that that's a denial of civic equality. That was the 19th-century concept.

Whereas, telling a black that he or she can't sit in a theater stall with whites or can't sit in the same railroad carriage with whites is social equality. And it's only Justice [John] Harlan, in his famous dissent in Plessy versus Ferguson, who says there's no real difference, racial discrimination is racial discrimination. But, you know, to the 19th-century mind -- you remember, you watch the movie the Amistad, a lot of the abolitionists were real racist. And Lincoln himself was prepared to consider repatriation and colonization as late as early 1863, you know, to solve "the color problem" and all that sort of thing.

So our concept of what equality is and our concept of what is discrimination and invidious discrimination has changed socially and politically over time, and that's tied up in the question of intervention. Do you intervene when it's social inequality? Why, no. There will always be differences between the races and the genders and all that sort of thing. Well, socially, we've changed our view about that in the last 50 years, the last 100 years.

HELFRICH: And do you think that that -- would you link that to the way the court decided those cases, or some of them?

HUTCHINSON: I would say that that is an element. But in my own view is that what spurs the court, the Supreme Court of the United States, to greater intervention against the states in what they're doing is not the debate over child labor that Susan [Bandes, DePaul University law professor] brings up or minimum wages and maximum hours, but it's what happens between the wars, and it's what happens between the wars with respect to Southern justice.

The Supreme Court gets case after case in the 1920s and the 1930s of the most grotesque brutality against blacks meted out by Southern sheriffs and Southern justice and all that sort of thing -- the Scottsboro boys cases. There are a bunch of cases that, for professional listeners, I could list -- like Brown in Mississippi and Chambers in Florida and all that sort of thing -- where sheriffs say on the witness stand, "Well, we beat him several times, but he did confess." As if that doesn't violate any prescript of the Constitution.

Well, if you're revulsed enough as a lawyer and a judge, you don't worry too much about the nicety. Is it equal protection or due process that's being violated? You say, "This is just inconsistent with the constitutional design." I think that's the way a lot of the reasoning starts. And then after World War II, it really begins to take off, and it takes off as those decisions are developed and as the NAACP mounts a serious and sustained campaign, led by Thurgood Marshall, to attack Jim Crow, mainly in the public schools.

OBAMA: Right. And one of the things that, you know, should be pointed out -- a) The NAACP mounts a very systematic, thoughtful strategy to lay bare the contradictions that are already embodied in the doctrines and the ideological structures that the court is working with.

The second thing is, though -- just to take a sort of a realist perspective, is that there's a lot of change going on outside of the court that, you know, the judges have to essentially take judicial notice of. I mean, you've got World War II. You've got the doctrines of Nazism that we are fighting against that start looking uncomfortably similar to what's going on back here at home. You've got African Americans who are returning from the war with certain expectations in terms of, "Why is it that I'm now in uniform and yet am denied more freedom here than I was in France or Italy?"

And so you have a whole host of, I think, social conditions that are -- you know, that the court inevitably is influenced by. And I think it's important for us to realize that although Brown versus Board of Education may be one of those rare circumstances where the court is willing to get slightly beyond conventional opinion and sort of stake a place beyond sort of the political mainstream --

HELFRICH: Conventional social opinion.

OBAMA: Social opinion.

HELFRICH: OK.

OBAMA: But that's very rare. And even in the case of Brown, I think that there were a lot of social changes -- attitudinal changes of the sort that Dennis talked about, in terms of the distinction between political equality and social equality -- a lot of that baggage has to be eliminated before you see the Supreme Court being willing to venture out, you know, into the areas that it did.

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Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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