Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday night made the dubious claim that Harvard law professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., a former mentor of President Barack Obama, purposefully hid footage from the media in 2008.
But Ogletree could not have suppressed the footage even if he wanted to. Local news station WGBH confirmed to Raw Story that it owns the footage and controls its distribution.
On his show, Hannity said he revealed a video that “by their very own admission, friends of Barack Obama have been keeping under lock and key.” Hannity later claimed that the footage “was intentionally covered up according to a close confidant of the president, and that’s Harvard professor Charles Ogletree.”
“It is not hidden,” Jeanne Hopkins, vice president of WGBH Communications & Government Relations, said in an email.
PBS Frontline included the footage in their election special The Choice 2008.
In the video from 1990, Obama is seen encouraging students to “open up your hearts and minds to the words of Professor Bell” and then hugging the Harvard law professor.
Breitbart.com and Hannity accused Olgetree of intentionally covering up the video because of a lecture he gave about Obama in 2011.
“In 1990, [Bell] held his first demonstration,” Ogletree explained. “He said I am going to take an unpaid leave until Harvard hires some more diverse faculty members. What’s interesting is that you can see from this I’m sure in a second that there was a huge rally here at Harvard in 1990… but many people forget that the person who introduced Derrick Bell that day was Barack Obama. And it is interesting because you can see in the way in which he is a hero of people, but he is not afraid to talk about race, about how much he’s learned from Bell without even being in Bell’s classroom, which reinforces the sense that he is paying attention even when he is not the subject of the discussion.”
“We hid this throughout the 2008 campaign — I don’t care if they find it now,” Olgetree said with a chuckle after playing the footage.
He appeared to be joking.
Olgetree ironically noted near the end of his lecture that he had to be careful with his words, because they could be used by Obama’s opponents.
“The only reason I am pausing is because there is an election in 2012 and I know that what I say will be quoted as in some way an Obama policy,” he said.
Watch video of Hannity, broadcast March 7, 2012, on Fox News, below: