Last night on his Fox News show, Sean Hannity “debuted” video of Obama in college. I use quotes because the video has actually been in the media since 2008. Breitbart had been hyping these videos since the last CPAC and Hannity was promoting them all of yesterday like they would change the world. It sounded pretty scandalous too – the Obama college tapes, this had to be good. Anyone’s “college tapes” have got to be scandalous, so speculation started swirling, would it show Obama smoking weed? passed out drunk on the floor? maybe he even kisses a white woman in them. But what did the tapes show? Obama speaking at a rally for a professor supporting racial diversity.
There are so many ways to go with this story: right-wing perceptions of academia, the boogeymen now created yearly by right-wing radio, academic freedom vs. public discourse, and so on and so on. I might come back to these topics as they are all worth further explanation, but for now I’ll just make these points.
Are we supposed to be surprised that the now-President was politcally active in college?
Are we supposed to be surprised that a well-respected black student at a mostly-white institution was for more racial diversity in the faculty?
Does the right think that anything other than ultra-jingoistic free-market praise is controversial?
Hannity and Breitbart’s flying monkeys rest their argument on 2 other things. First, that Obama embraced the professor he was talking up at the rally. They claim it was edited out of the video for some nefarious reason (maybe because that’s when the speech ends). Praising the professor publicly is one thing, but hugging him, that’s the first sign of a race war. Second, they claim the video was hidden from the public, by showing a professor saying that he hid it from the media during the 2008 campaign. However then the video immediately cuts and we’re left with no reason why it should be hidden, altho from the very brief clip, the professor makes it sound like he didn’t show it because Hannity would turn it into a weeklong special. What Obama said in 1991 might be shocking to Hannity’s audience, but to the real world it just becomes laughable. Congrats Hannity and Breitbart.com, you have finally proven that Obama is not a Republican.