In his first media interview, George Zimmerman — who is on trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin — told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he has “no regrets,” and that the incident was part of “God’s plan.”
Barbara Walters was supposed to interview Zimmerman as well, but had rejected his demands, which included a request that ABC pay for his hotel room for a month.
Hannity did much of the speaking in the televised interview, and given his claims of a rush to judgment in the case, it appears the Fox host is involved in a campaign to clear Zimmerman’s name. But this is not the first time that Hannity has come to the defense of people accused of racially insensitive brutality such as Zimmerman. In fact, Hannity has a long record of aiding others for their alleged racially motivated actions and statements. Described as a one-man clean-up crew by Media Matters, Hannity has often helped rehabilitate right-wing figures plagued with troubles through the use of the softball interview. There’s even a term for what he does: Hannitization.
Following the 1997 sodomization of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima with a wooden stick in a New York police station, Hannity targeted the victim. Calling him “lying Louima,” he claimed Louima had received the injuries through a “gay sex act” as opposed to an act of police brutality. On his WABC talk radio show, Hannity sang a parody of the Commodores song “Three Times A Lady” with the words “you’re once, twice, three times a liar.” Further, as FAIR reported, during the trial, the father of defendant Justin Volpe, one of the defendants who later confessed to sodomizing Louima, appeared regularly on Hannity’s program.
On the June 23rd broadcast of Hannity & Colmes, former LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman — who himself was accused of racism in the O.J. Simpson case — discussed a videotaped beating of a black man by white LAPD officers that was compared to the Rodney King beating. Hannity and Fuhrman accused critics of the police of a “rush to judgment.” Regarding the object used to beat the man, Hannity said “we’re not talking about a big stick. We’re talking about a flashlight here.” He added, “I have to believe something is going on here that we’re not quite getting.”
Meanwhile, Hal Turner, a neo-Nazi and anti-Semite who has threatened judges and threatened to attack the Obama inauguration with explosives, was a regular caller and an apparent friend of Hannity. In 2009, the white supremacist was arrested for threatening to “take up arms” against two Connecticut lawmakers.
Hannity defended Don Imus for calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy headed hos,” typically by changing the subject and lodging verbal attacks against black men such as Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.