Republicans have not gone after Barack Obama during the first two days of the Republican convention. What criticisms have been made have pretty tame--on the order of Joe Lieberman condescendingly calling him a “gifted and eloquent young man.”  But this morning, the Republicans began firing. At a standing room only breakfast meeting of the Ohio delegation at the Radisson Hotel in Minneapolis, Fox News employee Sean Hannity lit into Obama. Hannity’s attacks on Obama came in the wake of the “truce” that Fox News chairman Roger Ailes brokered with Obama. Obama has now reportedly agreed to appear Thursday night on Fox’s “O’Reilly Factor.”


Hannity claimed that the media had been soft on Obama. "We are going to look back at 2008 as the year that journalism in America was put on life support and died.” The media, Hannity charged, had failed to report on Obama’s relationship with former Weatherman William Ayers. “Why has it asked more questions about Sarah Palin’s 17-year-old daughter than about Barack Obama’s relationship with an unrepentant terrorist?” Hannity asked. Hannity also criticized Obama for attending Pastor Jeremiah Wright’s church. And he went further than this, attributing Wright’s views to Obama. “We know he adopted the black liberation theology--the black church, the black family,” Hannity said. “I’m a Christian, and the Bible says that Jesus died for our sins regardless of skin color.”


Hannity criticized Obama’s policies as an afterthought. The main point he wanted to make was that Obama favored terrorism and black theology. Was Hannity’s presentation--speeches to the delegates are cleared through the RNC--part of the “independent” campaign that McCain forces will wage on Obama--one centered on his reputed associations and race?  And what about Obama’s truce with Fox? Former Ohio Congressman Jon Kasich introduced O’Reilly as a “Republican.” Speaking to these state conclaves is about as partisan an act as anyone can perform. Hannity's participation in this forum is a far better indication than the media’s treatment of Obama that journalism in 2008 is on “life support.” 


 --John B. Judis