Jack Hunter (radio host)

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Jack Hunter
Jack Hunter by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Hunter in February 2011.
Born (1974-06-01) June 1, 1974 (age 41)
Hanahan, South Carolina
Occupation Radio host, writer, blogger

Jack Hunter (born June 1, 1974) is an American radio host, political commentator and Politics Editor for Rare.us, a Washington, D.C.-based news website. He began his career in the late 1990s on alternative rock station WAVF 96.1 FM using the moniker "Southern Avenger", an anonymous pro wrestler/superhero-style character. In 2007, Hunter began appearing every Tuesday and Friday morning on WTMA News-Talk 1250 AM, and contributed to a weekly column to the Charleston City Paper.[1] Hunter was also an aide to U.S. Senator Rand Paul, whom Hunter helped write the book The Tea Party Goes to Washington.[2]

Hunter's reputation as a political operative was discredited following the Washington Free Beacon's revelation that he had repeatedly espoused racist views on a local South Carolina radio station under the Southern Avenger moniker, while in his early 30s. His racist comments included expressions of contempt for Hispanic immigrants, and a call for NAACP director Kweisi Mfume, whom he referred to as "NAACP Grand Wizard," to be tied to a tree and whipped.[3][4] Following these revelations, Hunter resigned from Rand Paul's staff in what the Senator called a "mutual decision." In a 2013 article for Politico, Hunter repudiated his former views, writing "I'm not a racist; I just played one on the radio."[citation needed]

Hunter is also a contributing editor to both Taki's Magazine and The American Conservative Magazine,[5][6] while often filling in for Constitutional conservative Sirius Radio talk show host Mike Church and appearing as a weekly guest on The Savage Nation.

Political views[edit]

Hunter is known for often providing commentary from libertarian and conservative viewpoints, with a particular focus on Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns as well as Senator Rand Paul’s influence within the Republican Party. Hunter has said he sees the liberal internationalism that is found in the Democratic Party and the neoconservatism prominent in the Republican Party to be ultimately indistinguishable from one another, which has led to criticism from both the mainstream left and the mainstream right.[citation needed]

Controversy over writings on race, American Civil War[edit]

Hunter became the center of controversy in 2013 when the Washington Free Beacon reported that he had once espoused racist views on a local South Carolina radio station under the Southern Avenger moniker, while in his early 30s. His comments included expressions of contempt for Hispanic immigrants, and a call for NAACP director Kweisi Mfume, whom he referred to as "NAACP Grand Wizard," to be tied to a tree and whipped.[7][8] Following these revelations, Hunter resigned from Rand Paul's staff in what the Senator called a "mutual decision."

On July 9, 2013, controversial remarks written by Hunter regarding race and the American Civil War were reported by numerous mainstream media outlets, after originally being uncovered by the Washington Free Beacon.[9] The Washington Post noted that Hunter had previously written that "Americans aren't wrong to deplore the millions of Hispanics coming here" and that "a non-white majority America would simply cease to be America." Hunter explained how the influence of Ron Paul began to change his mind on immigration in Politico, “Something else was happening to me around that time—as I listened to Paul, my worldview began to evolve. Paul was serious about border security, but unlike other Republicans, he didn’t seem angry or hateful. Libertarianism, after all, is based on the relationship between the state and the individual, often with little regard for culture or groups. I had always thought this was shortsighted, but I began to change my mind. Ron Paul blamed illegal immigration on government, not immigrants. ‘If we had a truly free-market economy, the illegal immigrants would not be the scapegoat,” Paul said at the third Republican debate in 2007. Not the scapegoat? Many conservatives, including me, had spent years scapegoating Hispanic immigrants themselves. Paul never went there. He attacked government, not people.”[citation needed]

The Free Beacon also noted that Hunter had previously written in support of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and formerly had served as a chairman of the League of the South, which advocates Southern secession and, according to the Anti-Defamation League, promotes the idea of a society dominated by whites.[10] Hunter was also criticized for suggesting that African-American director Spike Lee be tied to a tree and whipped for his critical comments about Mel Gibson's movie, The Patriot.[4]

In a statement written in response to the controversy, Hunter wrote that he was "embarrassed by some of the comments I made precisely because they do not represent me today."[11] He also expressed abhorrence of racism and criticized the Free Beacon article as "not accurately reflect[ing]" his character or views.[11] Later, Hunter defended himself by writing that he was "not a racist" but "just played one on radio."[citation needed]

Critics on the political left[12] and the political right[13] condemned Hunter for the past remarks, and some political analysts said that Senator Rand Paul's continuing association with Hunter would imperil Paul's prospects as a contender in the United States presidential election, 2016.[14]

On July 18, Hunter's former longtime editor at the Charleston City Paper, Chris Haire, wrote an article sharply critical of both Hunter and Paul, denouncing Hunter for having asked Haire, long before the current controversy had erupted, to remove from the internet dozens of past columns that Hunter said no longer reflected his views.[15] Haire called the request cowardly and said that Hunter had made it solely for appearances—to help Paul in the 2016 presidential campaign.[15] Noting controversial writings by Hunter "in support of racially profiling Hispanics, praising white supremacist Sam Francis, blast[ing] the House of Representative's apology for slavery" and calling upon black Americans to "apologize to white people for their high crime rates", Haire characterized Hunter as "the most common kind of racist, the one that doesn't realize that he is one".[15]

By July 21, less than two weeks after the original Washington Free Beacon article had been published, Hunter had resigned from his position on Paul's staff, saying he wanted to avoid being a distraction for the senator.[16] Hunter also said he would return to political commentary.[16] Paul called the resignation "a mutual decision," agreeing that Hunter's past views had become a distraction.[17]


On January 14, 2014, Hunter became a regular contributor to Rare, originally a conservative-leaning news website that would evolve into a more general interest site owned by Cox Media. Hunter was quickly promoted to Politics Editor, a role he continues. Slate’s David Weigel reported in August 2014, “Since leaving Paul-world, Hunter has become the creative force behind a thriving conservative news site. In April 2013, Cox Media launched the website Rare, hoping to create a libertarian news site along the lines of what the Huffington Post has done for liberal readers.”[18]

Forbes reported in December 2014, “Calling itself America’s News Feed, in its short existence, Rare.us has grown quickly and now generates approximately 35 million visits each month. Rare.us began around the idea of a conservative news destination, but has since evolved into a general interest site on a national scale site that reads like a mix of BuzzFeed and Huffington Post."[19]

Weigel would add of Hunter’s return to political commentary and his work at Rare, “On Jan. 20 (2014), Hunter returned to political commentary with a pair of posts that the Southern Avenger never would have written. One compared the NSA abuses revealed by Edward Snowden to the targeting of the civil rights movement. ‘As we remember Martin Luther King Jr. for his civil rights triumphs,’ wrote Hunter, ‘let us also remember his civil liberties lessons.’ [20] The other explained how Sen. Mike Lee and — yes — Sen. Rand Paul were battling the ‘new Jim Crow’ by working to reform drug laws. For Paul, wrote Hunter, ‘mandatory minimum sentencing reform has become a primary issue, and he has been outspoken about the inherent racism of the current system.' ”[21]

The Vice President of Strategy for Cox Media Group, Leon Levitt, told Weigel of Rare, “Initially we tried to be a lot of different things to different people … We made good and bad decisions, but truthfully, what we always wanted to represent was the liberty approach.”


  1. ^ http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/charleston/ArticleArchives?author=1072546 Jack Hunter at the Charleston City Paper
  2. ^ Carroll, James R.; Gerth, Joseph (June 9, 2013). "Rand Paul staffer expressed support for Lincoln assassination". USA Today. 
  3. ^ Goodman, Alana (July 22, 2013). "The Confederacy Loses Again." The Washington Free Beacon.
  4. ^ a b Hunter, Jack. "Confessions of a Right-Wing Shock Jock." Politico, November 25, 2013
  5. ^ http://www.takimag.com/blogs/jackhunter/ Jack Hunter at Takimag
  6. ^ http://www.amconmag.com/article/2008/jul/28/00010/ The Right Democrat
  7. ^ Goodman, Alana. "The Confederacy Loses Again". Free Beacon. The Washington Free Beacon. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ Hunter, Jack. "Confessions of a Right-Wing Shock Jock". Politico. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  9. ^ Glueck, Katie. "Rand Paul aide slammed after report". Politico. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  10. ^ Goodman, Alana (July 9, 2013). "Rebel Yell: Rand Paul aide has history of neo-Confederate sympathies, inflammatory statements". Washington Free Beacon. 
  11. ^ a b Hunter, Jack (July 9, 2013). "My statement on recent attacks". Southern Avenger (blog). Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  12. ^ "'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Tuesday, July 9, 2013". The Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC). July 10, 2013. 
  13. ^ Rubin, Jennifer (July 12, 2013). "Jack Hunter and Rand Paul 'playing the game'". Washington Post. 
  14. ^ Carroll, James R.; Gerth, Joseph (July 10, 2013). "Rand Paul staffer expressed support for Abraham Lincoln, wore Confederate mask". Louisville Courier-Journal. 
  15. ^ a b c Haire, Chris (July 18, 2013). "Former editor of Rand Pauls neo-confederate staffer talks about the Southern Avenger; Jack Hunter asked me to delete columns". Charleston City Paper. 
  16. ^ a b Antle III, W. James (July 22, 2013). "Jack Hunter leaves Rand Paul staff, returns to punditry". The Daily Caller. 
  17. ^ Brammer, Jack (July 22, 2013). "Sen. Rand Paul confirms departure of staffer who spoke fondly of Lincoln's assassination". Lexington Herald-Leader. 
  18. ^ Weigel, David. "The Avenger Without a Mask". Slate. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  19. ^ Lawrence, Jesse. "Rare.us And Fanbuzz Are Helping Cox Media Compete And Win In The Evolving News Media Landscape". Forbes. Retrieved December 23, 2014. 
  20. ^ Hunter, Jack. "MLK proved Edward Snowden right". Rare. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 
  21. ^ Hunter, Jack. "Tea party Republicans lead fight to end "new Jim Crow" Read more at http://rare.us/story/tea-party-republicans-lead-fight-to-end-new-jim-crow/#uxctHBbdLz2MsRBS.99". Rare. Retrieved January 20, 2014. 

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