The folks over at NewsHounds have been watching their Fox News Channel quarry dither over Senator Barack Obama's associations with pastor Jeremiah Wright, and noted Fox's own Sean Hannity getting himself tripped up in the guilt-by-association tango. Seems that one of Hannity's former close chums is a neo-Nazi named Hal Turner who used to be a radio host, is apparently the top man in Bergen, NJ white-supremacist circles, and probably spends a lot of his time in his basement with Star Wars action figures acting out Holocaust-denier versions of The Return of the Jedi. In short, just the sort of person with whom you'd imagine Sean Hannity spends a lot of formational time with.
Anyway, a few days ago, Hannity brought Malik Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party on the show. Shabazz and his organization had previously chosen to endorse Barack Obama, who subsequently rejected the endorsement. It was up to Hannity to make some hay out of this, but the tables got turned very quickly. From NewsHounds:
Hannity added, "What I don't think you're understanding here, Malik, is that when you hear the minister of him for 20 years, when you hear the associations with Louis Farrakhan, one of the biggest racists and anti-Semites in the country, what you're not understanding is, America hears extremism at its worst."
Shabazz responded, "Let me ask you this. Are you to be judged by your promotion and association with Hal Turner?"
Hannity waved his arm around. "I don't know anybody named - this is nonsense. I don't..." Then Hannity changed his tune. "Sir, sir... That was a man that was banned from my radio show ten years ago, that ran a Senate campaign in New Jersey."
Then, as Shabazz refused to stop talking or back down, Hannity, in a tacit admission, said, "I'm not running for president."
"A neo Nazi, you backed his career," Shabazz said.
Hannity answered, "That is an absolute, positive, lie and you've been reading the wrong websites..., my friend. Good try."
Well, there's plenty of evidence to the contrary (Max Blumenthal's piece in Nation is good for a start), but it hardly matters, because don't you know, days later, Turner himself was doing his pal a total solid by coming out and stating, "Oh, yeah! We're best of buds!"
I was quite disappointed when Sean Hannity at first tried to say he didn't know me and then went on to say that I ran some senate campaign in New Jersey. In fact, Sean Hannity does know me and we were quite friendly a number of years ago.
When Hannity took over Bob Grant's spot on 77 WABC in New York City, I was a well-known, regular and welcome caller to his show. Through those calls, Sean and I got to know each other a bit and at some point, I can't remember exactly when, Sean gave me the secret "Guest call-in number" at WABC so that my calls could always get on the air.
I mean, Hannity gave Turner his Super Secret Little Anti-Semite Annie Decoder Ring so he could call him up whenever he wanted to! If the two men had been younger - and mentally eligible for a high school education - they surely would have gone to prom together!
Anyway, Turner and Hannity have a nice, long, intimate, chummy history, and Turner offers the essential blow-by-blow. "I can tell you from my firsthand, personal experience that Sean Hannity does, in fact, agree with many of my political and social views. I can also tell you that Sean Hannity disagrees with some of my political and social views. I won't go subject-by-subject to say which he agrees with and which he disagrees with. You can figure that out easy enough on your own!" Can we? What if we're not enthusiastic fans of the thought processes of nimrods, though?
Naturally, Turner has got a blustery warning for us all: "Another big difference is that I am perfectly willing to use force and violence against my enemies while Sean Hannity and others are not. Those using me as a prop to attack Sean Hannity would do well to remember this fact. Rest assured I will remember them when the opportunity presents itself; especially as it pertains to that douche bag sodomite Max Blumenthal for the falsehoods and total trash he wrote about me in 'The Nation' magazine."
Update: Newhounds has updated its Hannity/Turner post, pointing out a comment signed by Phil Boyce, Program Director of WABC, Hannity's radio station, disputing many of the facts, especially the dates, in Turner's account (Boyce's comment has been posted here as well. See first comment below). Newshounds responded to Boyce's criticisms, saying: "the real issue is what was Turner allowed to say on the air, how often and what was Hannity's reaction? We have an article in a national magazine plus one of the parties involved who say that Hannity was a welcoming, friendly and encouraging host for Turner's views for a good while. Neither Boyce nor Hannity has specifically denied that."