Fox News' 'Hannity' Pannel On Black Conservatives Goes Bad
On Monday night's Hannity, the Fox News host convened a group of 23 prominent black conservatives to discuss the trials and tribulations of being an ideological minority within a minority. Ironically, the panel of well-known black conservative voices was intended to discuss Hannity's earlier assertion in the show that, "there is no freedom of speech for black conservatives right now in America." The panel began with a series of moderate opinions before taking a sharp turn toward conspiracy mongering.
Among the panelists were recognizable figures such as Star Parker, David Webb, Ron Christie, Jesse Peterson, Kevin Jackson, Deneen Borelli, Crystal Wright, Reginald Jones, and Jason Riley. Together, the collection of writers, political leaders, and radio hosts echoed and expanded on Hannity's sentiments.
The tone of the panel consistently escalated as time passed. Early in the show, Hannity began with an innocuous question of whether any member of the group had endured petty insults due to their political positions. Unanimously, the members raised their hands, affirming that their political positions had garnered some criticism.
With exit polling from the 2012 election showing that Obama carried 93% of the black vote, it is not unreasonable to suggest that black conservatives are a small part of the electorate. However, like any American exercising their freedom of speech to express their opinions, that they should come under criticism — even suffer petty insults — is nothing atypical.
On a deeper level, Jason Riley, member of the prestigious Wall Street Journal's editorial board, lamented that being a black conservative meant that he was consistently described as "self-hating," in an attempt to, what he described as, delegitimize him.
While Riley's critique rings true, that his race and his political views are not inherently incompatible and should not be treated as such, the conservative movement as championed by Republicans has not always been kind to black voters. This point is made salient in a time where record wait times in Florida discouraged some 201,000 voters, a plan which Republican leadership has openly acknowledged was to discourage democratic voting blocks.
However, by the end of the show, the panel shifted to an extreme position as Reginald Jones, a member of the black conservative public policy group known as Project 21, made the argument that liberals "believe that they own black America." Taking the position even further, radio host and self-labeled patriot David Webb implied that, at the heart of the matter, was the intent of Democrats to control the will of other African-Americans.
Hannity did not directly address whether he believed liberals aim to control or manipulate black constituents, nor did he feature a dissenting voice from the panel. However, Hannity seemed to play up the theme to carry it into the next discussion, telling the group he intended to ask them why black constituents were still voting for Obama despite disproportionately suffering in this economic downturn — a question which, in context, has few other conclusions than what Webb and Jones offered.