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Activists Confront Sean Hannity and the Far Right at Local Book-Signing

By Sander Hicks & Daryle Lamont Jenkins


A patron of the Book Revue made an observant remark an hour before right-wing media darling Sean Hannity made his appearance, "How appropriate is it that this guy is going to be speaking in the Fiction section?"

Although the Sean Hannity event drew a capacity crowd, approximately ten anti-racist and progressive activists gathered to counter Hannity's far-right agenda. Daryle Lamont Jenkins of anti-racist website One People's Project used the opportunity to raise awareness of Hannity's connection with New Jersey white supremacist Hal Turner. Turner ran for Congress in year 2000 and Hannity promoted Turner on his radio show.

In Hannity's capacity crowd the only black person visible was Jenkins, who went on to discover more links between Hannity and the far Right. While discussing Hannity's support of Hal Turner, and Turner's own connections to white supremacist organizations, two fans of Hannity crumpled up copies of the activists' literature and vociferously defended the neo-nazi group National Alliance, to Jenkins. They claimed the Alliance was a "white separatist" group, not a "white supremacist" group.

Local media activist Sander Hicks handed out 150 copies of a pamphlet that directly addressed Hannity. Hicks outlined the "stories that Fox News is ignoring" including the full implications of the Enron scandal, Bush's links to neo-fascism, and the unreported side of the story on the War on Terrorism. Hicks found many in the crowd receptive to an alternative view of Hannity's politics and biased reporting, and spoke civilly with conservative book buyers who stopped to debate points. However, Hicks also experienced the more typical side of far right politics: he was called a "faggot" by a young Hannityite who ran into the safety of the crowded bookstore. To promote the event, a female Hannity flunky was stationed at the door as the Statue of Liberty, with a lit candle torch. A living definition of bourgeois "freedom," Lady Liberty demanded a copy of Hicks' pamphlet "so I can burn it" she told him.

Nick Ray, 18 year old progressive activist from Farmingville reported similar reception: "My friend and I were just giving out flyers, and some bigot had the nerve to look at me and screamed 'what are you the Taliban?'" He said. "It was an obvious racial profiling because I have black hair and a dark complexion. I replied with 'Stop the racism. Get hatred out of the media.'"

"My flyer was a simple call for people to learn about the issues themselves instead of relying on sensationalists to feed opinion to them, and included links to Indymedia sites," Ray continued. "We definitely turned some heads with our message."

Sander Hicks was outside when Sean Hannity arrived, and attempted to give him a copy of the pamphlet addressed to him. However, Hannity was sheltered by several layers of producers and publicists, who grabbed him off the sidewalk with Hicks and swiftly ushered him into the bookstore the back way. Hannity read from his book and joked with the crowd, half of whom couldn't hear him because of the small size of the venue and the large size of the crowd. Several in the crowd were observed reading Hicks' pamphlet instead since they couldn't hear Hannity.

Both Jenkins and Hicks expected a presence from the far right, particularly from the white power circles. Hicks, because of a report he had written about his involvement in the counter-demonstration against the National Alliance in Washington DC last month, became the focus of a series of threats, including one that involved posting an address to a different Sander Hicks. But not only were there not any incidents, the three skinheads that did attend turned out to be friendly, Jewish skins from the local area.

On his way out, the beleaguered staff at the Book Revue were happy to receive the last few copies of Hicks' pamphlet. With a look of relief amid the crush of heavy sales, cashiers commended the activists for coming and presenting an alternative view.



By Sander Hicks & Daryle Lamont Jenkins

Full Text of Hicks' Open Pamphlet to Hannity Here

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