[h/t Heather at Videocafe]
In 1990, Barack Obama gave a speech at Harvard in support of the first tenured African-American Harvard Law School professor Derrick Bell. Video of the speech has been available for years. But Sean Hannity, Mediaite's Frances Martel and Breitbart acolytes have decided it's time to make a new bogeyman of Professor Derrick Bell, and by extension, President Obama. The video here is the full video of his speech as recorded by a local NBC affiliate at the time.
Before Andrew Breitbart's death, he was promising earthshattering video that would destroy President Obama. This is, apparently, that video. They needed a new Jeremiah Wright and figured Bell, being dead and all, might be just the person to fill the bill.
Of course, they did not publish the video in its entirety. Buzzfeed published a 77-second excerpt Tuesday morning, which Breitbart.com claims is heavily edited. PBS notes that the editing was likely done by the station itself at the time it was aired in 1991, and Buzzfeed licensed the clip for publication, as is.
Breitbart TV, on the other hand, aired a tiny little clip shown during a lecture by Professor Charles Ogletree which purports to have Ogletree claiming they hid the clip in 2008. Except the clip was not hidden at all, as PBS explains. In fact, part of the video was used in their documentary The Choice, which has been available on the Frontline site and on YouTube since it was aired.
Breitbart's heirs can't resist characterizing a man whose entire career was devoted to fighting for equality and civil rights for black people as a "racialist" as a way of once again emphasizing Obama's "otherness" to viewers and faithful conservatives everywhere. Racialism has several definitions, but is most often associated with racist, supremacist, or separatist views.
That is not who Derrick Bell was. In essence, Derrick Bell argued that it wasn't enough to say blacks were equal, but that equality was more than saying. It was doing. Here's an excerpt from his bio on the Visionary Project:
Bell's scholarly writings have placed him in the forefront of Critical Race Theory (CRT), a new jurisprudence that explores the influences of society's racism and sexism in the law's policies and precedents. CRT is the theory that race lies at the center of American life. It challenges people to consider in all things the relationship that exists between race, the justice system, and society.
Turning to Hannity's Foxification of then-Harvard Law Review President Barack Obama's speech in defense of Professor Bell, we begin with two wet-behind-the-ears kids who clearly need to study some history and maybe the definition of humility before swaggering onto Hannity's set -- Ben Shapiro, editor-at-large of Breitbart.com and Joel Pollak, failed Skokie Congressional candidate and Breitbart.com Editor-in-Chief.
Hannity's segment begins with Breitbart announcing at CPAC that racial division and class warfare were "central to what hope and change was all about" in 2008. Funny, that. The only folks who seem to want racial division are the Breitbots and Hannitys, those who want to paint Barack Obama as an "other." Those who want to scare their audience and tell people who fear others that don't look like them that they have a reason to be afraid. Those people are not Barack Obama.
Next, Hannity shows the Buzzfeed clip released Tuesday morning. In the interests of time and because I've posted the full unedited video, we edited that part out, but you can see the clip here.
So, are you ready for the deep dark hidden secret? Brace yourselves. Here it is: At the end of Obama's introduction, he embraces Professor Bell. Horrors! Angry Black Lady puts the shock and awe into understandable terms:
Apparently, Negroes hugging is the lesser known fifth horseman of the apocalypse.
I'm sure to these three yahoos, it's more like the lesser known three-fifths horseman of the apocalypse.
Much is also made of Ogletree's introduction and statement that they hid the video in 2008. As I've already pointed out, the video was not hidden. And I'm curious to know why Breitbart & Co. thinks this is such a secret. After all, Ogletree's lectures have been posted online and were covered in the Harvard Crimson, including that specific quote from him as far back as November, 2011. I'm not sure if it was sarcasm or something else, but it wasn't some deep plot, for heavens' sake.
The best part of this Hannity segment is when these Harvard-educated intrepid "editors-in-chief" and lawyers admit that this video footage has been in the public square forever. So while Hannity and Co. claim that Obama wasn't vetted properly in 2008, they've produced some video that's been easily obtained by anyone who cared. If Hannity and his neocon "journalist" brothers cared so much, why are they just "discovering" it now? (Hint: The Fox Effect applies here)
No matter how hard Hannity whips this thing, it's going nowhere. There's just no there, there. It's a southern strategy that will appeal to the hard-core haters, but they were haters before this video was aired and they'll be haters afterward. For the rest, it's a big, giant ho-hum.
Here's what I take away from the unedited video, and what Hannity forgot to mention. First, that speech was given without a TelePrompter anywhere in sight. And second, he was just as gifted at giving a speech then as he is today. In fact, that video could just as easily have been shot yesterday as twenty years ago.
Hannity just proved the old saw about the wisdom of keeping one's mouth shut and being thought a fool. He has now removed all doubt. That won't stop Roger Ailes and Fox from ginning it up, and then asking why other media outlets aren't covering it, and then making an even bigger deal of it. Only this time, it won't stick. We're onto them.