"It's a bombshell video that you will only see tonight on 'Hannity,' and it's one that could dramatically impact the race for the White House."
Well ... maybe not.
The video of Barack Obama speaking at a 2007 event wasn't exactly a "bombshell" -- it was open to the press and portions of it were covered by everyone from the AP to CNN to Fox News. Viewers didn't only see it on "Hannity," since it was also posted to the Daily Caller. They did get the exclusive sight of Sean Hannity and Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson decrying the speech.
And, judging by the reaction, it seems unlikely that the video will "dramatically impact the race." Though many conservatives blasted Obama's rhetoric and his comments, news of the footage failed to jump to broader media circles -- something that will no doubt be interpreted on the right as another sign of pro-Obama bias.
More problematic for Hannity was the reaction of Tea Party-backed congressman Allen West. "I don't think it's going to really go anywhere," he told Greta Van Susteren, saying there was no apparent "so-what" moment in the speech.
What did seem to attract the most attention was Hannity and Carlson's fixation on the accent Obama used during the speech, given before a heavily black audience.
"Did you notice the change in the way he delivered the speech, before a predominantly African American audience?" Hannity asked Carlson. He then played footage of Obama's famed speech on race in 2008 on a split-screen with the 2007 speech, just to show the difference.
"They're speaking different languages," Carlson said of the two Obamas. "Different cadences, different accents, different gestures -- I mean, the falseness here is overwhelming."
Hannity even dropped into an impersonation of what he called the "preacher mode" that politicians like Al Gore would adopt when speaking to certain crowds, implying that Obama was doing the same.
"I shouldn't be, but I am surprised Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity don't know black folks use different speech patterns among each other," television critic Eric Deggans tweeted while watching.
Hannity's day-long hyping of the video drew a rebuke from guest Juan Williams later in his show.
"I love coming on your show Sean, because I've been here now for all these conspiracy theories," Williams said. Hannity said there was no conspiracy, that Obama was pushing racial divisiveness by talking about the federal response to Hurricane Katrina and the lack of federal money for black-owned business, and that he seemed like a different person because of his accent.
"He was speaking to an elite audience of young black people," Williams said. "He was relating to them directly ... politicians do this repeatedly.
"You guys are playing a race card now," he said.
"Why are you protecting what should be condemned by everybody?" Hannity asked.
"Are you kidding me? I would condemn it in a second if I saw it in the way you are describing," Williams said. "When I see that you guys throw dirt and see what will stick. All you do is hope something's going to stick this time."
"You guys?" Hannity said.
Williams pointed out that George W. Bush himself had said that Katrina was rooted partially in racial discrimination.
(Video via Media Matters)
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