Fox News host Sean Hannity brought activist Adam Jackson and Baltimore City Councilman Brandon Scott onto his program to talk about Baltimore’s recent spike in violent crime.
As you might expect, it was a contentious discussion, with Hannity attempting to take racism off the list of contributing factors and his guests attempting finish a sentence (and for a minute or two succeeding).
Hannity first issued a bizarre challenge to Scott to “give [him] the names of any of the nine people” who were killed in Baltimore over Memorial Day weekend. When Scott explained that he did in fact know the names of victims, Hannity pressed further: “You know all the victims’ names?” Scott replied that he knew “some” of the victims’ names and that he knew some of them personally. Hannity repeated (damningly?), “You know some of them.”
I guess that took care of Scott, because Hannity moved to Jackson, CEO of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, a group dedicated to “grassroots political advocacy and youth leadership.” Asked for his reaction to Baltimore’s “deadliest month in 16 years,” Jackson spoke about “racist subterfuge” plaguing the news coverage. “To talk about the violence that’s going on in Baltimore,” he began, “and not talk about the systemic inequalities and racist policing practices that have led us to this point, it posits a situation where we’re talking about either high violence in our communities or racist police. The task should be to fix both.”
Hannity challenged that view: “In your city, almost 50 percent of the officers are black — as I understand it, a black police chief. You have, in the case of Freddie Gray, three minority officers and three white officers. What evidence do you have that that was racist?”
“See, that’s the problem,” Jackson responded. “You’re talking about individual people. I’m talking about the sophistication of racism and white supremacy.”
Hannity asked point blank whether he was to understand that Baltimore’s violent month and beyond “is all the result of racism.” Scott shakes his head and starts mumbling to himself, while Jackson soldiers on in his attempt to distinguish between the racism of individual bad actors and the racism of a system. And then it ends.