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Did Journalists Plot to Protect Obama's Candidacy in 2008?

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," July 20, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Obama's relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright at one point threatened to derail his presidential campaign. But documents unearthed by The Daily Caller reveal the extent to which the mainstream media went to hide the pair's relationship.

Now e-mails exchanged on a liberal list serve showed that Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to pick an Obama critic and, quote, "call them racist" in order to deflect attention from the Wright story.

Now following a debate during which George Stephanopoulos questioned Obama about his relationship with Wright, The Guardian's Michael Tomasky wrote to the group, quote, "Listen, folks, in my opinion we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy in whatever venues we have."

Now days later The Nation's Chris Hayes asked colleagues who worked for outlets, quote, "in the ostensible mainstream media," to ignore candidate Obama's relationship with the Reverend Wright.

Now despite the efforts of these liberal journalists, some of us did report on the story. Remember this? Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "HANNITY & COLMES" ON MARCH 1, 2007)

REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT: I'm asking you a question.

HANNITY: Barack Obama goes — sir, Barack Obama goes to your church.

WRIGHT: You haven't answered my question.

HANNITY: And you — it seems to be, when you say, the black community, black work ethic, black community —

WRIGHT: Key word is seems — key word is seems. Its seems. It seems to an arrogant ignorant person.

HANNITY: Sir. Sir.

WRIGHT: I'm asking you, have you answered me? How many (INAUDIBLE) have you read?

HANNITY: Sir, I'm going to say this whether you like it or not. I'm going to get my words in. And I'm going to tell you right now.

WRIGHT: I don't care — it is not about liking. I asked you a simple question, sir. Have you —

HANNITY: I think as a Christian, sir. I think as a Christian you should not separate by race in this day and age and that's why a lot of people are going to look at that and say, we're all supposed to be united under Christ, aren't we?

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And joining me now with reaction to all of this is the editor of The Daily Caller which broke the story, Fox News contributor, Tucker Carlson is back with us.

Tucker, welcome back.

TUCKER CARLSON, THE DAILY CALLER: Sean, we should have known looking at that tape, that was a full year, by the way —

HANNITY: That was —

CARLSON: — before the Reverend Wright story broke.

HANNITY: Yes. March of '07.

CARLSON: Came to everyone's attention. That's right.

HANNITY: And then we started investigating black liberation theology. Then we started asking a lot of questions. It was a full year later before the media caught up with the story which leads us to where — what you have discovered. Why don't you explain in some detail what you found out here?

CARLSON: Well, Journolist was — it went defunct a couple of weeks ago was an online gathering place for liberal journal lists and academics to talk essentially and mostly about politics. And we discovered that at this pivotal moment in the presidential campaign — this really was the moment that Barack Obama could have lost to Hillary Clinton during the primaries.

A group of liberal journalists decided to subvert the news, to lie in order to help him overcome this scandal, the — his affiliation with Jeremiah Wright which as you know was intimate. It was — they were not just friends. This was a mentor relationship that the president had with Jeremiah Wright.

And these journalists decided this was such a devastating story potentially that they needed to draw attention away from it. In the words of Spencer Ackerman, up to and including calling conservatives racist simply to draw attention away from the story.

Here's what was a shock to me. Look, these are liberal journalists, it turns out they're liberal. I mean no surprise there. And by the way, there is nothing wrong with that. I've made a decent living giving my opinion on television. There's nothing dishonorable about that.

They crossed the line, however, from journalism, which is disseminating facts and information and yes, opinion, to coordinating a political message and lying in doing so. They were not acting as journalists. They were acting as political hacks as consultants essentially on behalf of Barack Obama. Unpaid but working for Barack Obama. And that's dishonest by its nature.

HANNITY: All right. Now I understand there's going to be more to the story that The Daily Caller is investigating here.

CARLSON: That's right.

HANNITY: And that is specifically against the Fox News Channel. And you found out?

CARLSON: Well, we're breaking a story tomorrow — tonight at midnight actually on The Daily Caller that contains exchanges between members of Journolist in which some suggest that the federal government shut down Fox. Now these are in one case a law professor, in another case, it's a fairly known journalist.

People saying you know what? Let's — why doesn't the government, why doesn't the FCC just yank their license? Fox is so annoying, we don't think they have a right to be heard, and we think that the power of government ought to be used to squelch their voice.

Now look, you don't have to be a Fox viewer or like Fox to recognize that's authoritarian. That's sick actually. It's totally un-American and they were espousing it in public on the site.

HANNITY: Look, I can tell you because I was in the middle of this almost from the very beginning. And I thought this of grave importance because I thought it was a window into who the person Barack Obama was.

CARLSON: Yes.

HANNITY: A 20-year association —

CARLSON: That's right.

HANNITY: — which led to the statement even after the release of GD America, and all this, I can no longer disown Reverend Wright than I can the black community. Between that and Reverend Ayers and Father Pfleger, and I always question whether or not there was a relationship with Louis Farrakhan.

I thought these were the most radical elements that anybody could be associated with and I was stunned by the media's lack of interest in the story. And there was —

CARLSON: Well, they were interested. They were interested. They were profoundly interested because the supporters of Obama within the press, and that was I think most journalists understood this was his Achilles' heel. If any issue was going to crush his candidacy it was Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

The guy is a smooth talked. You know he did everything right. But this one story during those primaries had the capacity to kill his candidacy dead and that's why they decided to lie about it.

HANNITY: You know, I — that interview that I did within the March of '07 as far as I know was the last interview that he did all the way through the rest of '07 and '08 leading up to the campaign. So —

CARLSON: Which itself — it's a travesty. Why weren't reporters camp outside of his house every single day? I mean flip it around. Had this been a white Republican consorting with the Grand Dragon I mean there would have been a "60 Minutes" stakeout.

This guy wouldn't had been able to go to the men's room without a camera crew. All right? So the press pulled back.

HANNITY: All right. I declared all throughout 2008 journalism as we know it in America died.

CARLSON: Yes.

HANNITY: And I think if we have the Obama media now plotting to kill the Jeremiah Wright story and attack those of us that had the courage to investigate what I think is a very important story, and label them racist or shut them down, as you're now going to break this on The Daily Caller tonight, what does that say about freedom in America more than anything else?

CARLSON: Well, these are not people who are interested in the free exchange of ideas, which of course forms the basis of journalism. The basis of journalism is the idea that the more information — accurate, honest information the better people can form their own opinions.

These are not people who believe that. They are not by temperament journalists. They're authoritarians. Anybody who would suggest shutting down a television network using government power, to close it, to shutter it, because they disagree with its point of view, that person can't call himself a journalist. And yet they do and they get away with is. And that's wrong.

HANNITY: All right. So the extent, it was very interesting. When George Stephanopoulos was — he was on my radio show, prior to one of the debates when he actually brought up the question of Bill Ayers — George, he's just a guy in the neighborhood.

He got away with that. Bill Ayers he sat on boards with, he gave speeches with. He started his campaign in Bill Ayers' and Bernardine Dohrn's home.

CARLSON: Yes.

HANNITY: The guy was part of a group, the Weather Underground, that bombed the Pentagon, the capital, and New York City police headquarters. And then George asked the question — to his credit — and people said well, he's taking questions from Sean Hannity, and they excoriated him.

So any effort, as evidenced by this, do you think this is all connected of any journalist to ask any probing question was met with fierce resistance and criticism. So is this now the future of journalism, I guess, is my question now in the future.

CARLSON: Well, sure. I mean Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos who led that debate, that famous debate during the primaries, neither of whom is known as an avid right-winger, but they gave a pretty straight I thought performance and asked some tough questions of the candidates, and they were savaged by members of journalists on this list and really personally attacked and sort of read the riot act.

The idea was, let's do all we can to undermine them because they weren't useful to the Obama campaign. I mean these are hard partisans working on behalf of candidate Barack Obama. That's how we wound up with him as president. Make no mistake. This is how it happened.

HANNITY: I can tell you, that's a great investigative piece. I'll be looking forward to reading the full piece that you put out tonight on — at midnight on The Daily Caller. But I can tell you this personally, is that when I investigated both the Ayers and the Wright story, and I've been under fire my whole career, and I'm open to criticism because I give opinions every day, it was never this vicious.

I mean I was called every name in the book. And it now appears that it could have been part of an orchestrated effort, is what you're saying?

CARLSON: Yes. And I suspect, Sean, in the coming days we will be getting to the Sean Hannity part of Journolists. So it may have been more vicious than you realize. But we'll let you know.

HANNITY: Is that a definite or could I expect — is that a promise or a threat? I don't know which way to think.

All right, Tucker.

CARLSON: I suspect you're on their radar screens. Thanks.

HANNITY: All right. Tucker Carlson, great investigative work. Thank you for being with us.

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