Sean Hannity, Pat Buchanan Give White Supremacists ‘Rational Justification’?

On Thursday’s edition of Democracy Now on the radical-left Pacifica Radio network, co-hosts Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman discussed the Holocaust Museum shooting with Leonard Zeskind, author of the book Blood and Politics: The History of the White Nationalist Movement from the Margins to the Mainstream. But Gonzalez wanted Zeskind to connect dots from the racist fringe to Sean Hannity and Pat Buchanan and Rush Limbaugh:

JUAN GONZALEZ: And when you talk about the mainstream part of the movement, the mainstreamers, what role does television, shows like Sean Hannity and the impact of Pat Buchanan and other right-wing populists who are always on a lot of the cable shows and on radio, the Limbaughs of the world—how does this affect the ability of the right wing, of this most extreme right-wing movement, to win sympathizers and supporters?

LEONARD ZESKIND: ....What the ordinary white nationalist sees when they see Pat Buchanan or Sean Hannity on the television, they see somebody that justifies their beliefs. I’m not sure, and I’ve not seen any evidence, that they actually draw people into the movement. I think what they do is take people that already have those kinds of ideas and give them a sense of rational justification.

Earlier in the interview, Goodman ran a clip of Hannity and James Dobson mocking Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for the DHS report on the threat of right-wing domestic terrorism, and Zeskind boldly declared that Hannity was an "apologist" for the recent shooters:

SEAN HANNITY: [The Department of Homeland Security, Dr. Dobson, is warning law enforcement officials] about the rise in right-wing extremist activity. Now, some of—for example, they would define it as people that maybe think we’re not controlling our borders, people that have pro-life bumper stickers. I’m not Ron Paul’s biggest fan, but if you have a Ron Paul bumper sticker, you might be viewed as a radical by the government.

And I’m thinking, what do you think of that interpretation, especially coming from a guy that started his political career in the home of an unrepentant terrorist who bombed our Pentagon and Capitol and sat in Reverend Wright’s church for twenty years?

JAMES DOBSON: Isn’t it interesting that the media has jumped all over this, when there aren’t any examples of it? There are no Timothy McVeighs out there right now. They’re making a big deal out of something that hasn’t happened and may not happen.

Goodman continued:

AMY GOODMAN: Leonard Zeskind, can you respond? I mean, ultimately, the pressure led to the Justice Department taking back the report.

LEONARD ZESKIND: Well, I had my own criticisms of the report, which was that the Department of Homeland Security did not make an analytical distinction between the types of white nationalists, like David Duke, who are going to run for office, and Willis Carto, who are going to seek a broader majority, and the followers of William Pierce, the people that are going to be shooters. And that analytical failure led to, in my mind, an incomplete report.

I think we can say that every time the government pinpoints the problem of racist, anti-Semitic, anti-choice violence, the perpetrators of it all scream, and the apologists for it all scream. So, that’s to be expected.

Based on what evidence do these people assert that conservatives like Hannity are "apologists" for murderers?

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis