CNN media critic Howard Kurtz on Sunday said that Fox News host Sean Hannity had "surrendered the high ground" when he followed up an explosive interview with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) by comparing the African-American congressman to a white supremacist hate group.
In an interview last week, Ellison had appeared on Hannity's show and blasted the Fox News host for being "the worst excuse for a journalist I’ve ever seen.”
Hannity responded two days later by linking Ellison to the controversial Nation of Islam and black militant Khalid Muhammad, whom he said wanted to “kill the women, everything white that’s in sight — kill the women, kill the babies, kill the children, kill the old people.”
The conservative host continued by saying that the Democratic lawmaker was the "equivalent" of the Ku Klux Klan.
“Do we have somebody then in Congress that is the equivalent on one side what the Klan is?” Hannity asked. “Because I view the rabid rantings of Khalid Muhammad as frightening.”
On Sunday, Kurtz noted that Ellison had made a mistake because "Hannity's not a journalist, he's a conservative commentator."
"What was troubling here was Ellison accepted the invitation to come on and then seemed only interested in attacking Hannity," the CNN host argued. "But I do have to deduct points over what Hannity did later in the week: He attacked Ellison, who is Muslim, for having written two papers supporting [Nation of Islam leader] Louis Farrakhan as a law student and suggesting that Ellison might be the -- quote -- 'equivalent' of the Ku Klux Klan."
"Even Hannity had to allude the fact that the congressman apologized a half dozen years ago for once having supported Farrakhan," Kurtz pointed out.
"And with that, Hannity surrendered the high ground."