Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Al Franken, Media Matters
With Colmes, Libs Have Love - Hate Relationship
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When it comes to television and radio talker Alan Colmes, lefties can't seem to live with him, nor can they live without him.
Paired with Sean Hannity on the FOX News Channel's Hannity and Colmes, the liberal co- host drives some on his side perfectly batty. An infamous critic is Al Franken, who blasted him in Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them and at least once had an angry public confrontation with the talker as well.
Some lefties see Colmes as soft and a mere punching bag for Hannity, to the point where a website exists for the sole purpose of demanding he be replaced with another "progressive" (this image comes from that site).
So why, then, is there renewed anger from the left, this time because he's not included in a new show featuring Hannity alone?
This one's a real mystery, coming to us courtesy of the serial FOX- bashing Media Matters For America site:
Despite touting Colmes as "balance," Hannity to host own Fox News show
On January 7, Fox News will premiere a new weekly show, Hannity's America, starring Sean Hannity, who currently co-hosts the Fox News show Hannity & Colmes along with Alan Colmes. Hannity and others have defended themselves against charges that Fox News leans conservative by pointing to the purported conservative/liberal balance represented by the co-hosts of Hannity & Colmes, but Colmes apparently will not be a co-host of Hannity's America.
According to a January 4 Hollywood Reporter article, Hannity's America will "blend the debate style that Hannity is noted for on TV and syndicated radio," featuring interviews and reports and a "debate component, called 'Hannity's Hot Seat,' [that] will feature a lightning round of five yes or no questions put to a liberal and then a debate."
Each show will also reportedly include "the naming of a 'Great American' ... 'people that on a daily basis make this a great country and never get noticed." According to a Fox News advertisement that aired during the January 2 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity's America will air every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET; Hannity will continue to co-host Hannity & Colmes and his daily ABC Radio Networks show.
As Media Matters for America has noted, several people, including Hannity himself, have previously defended Fox News against charges it skews to the right in part by pointing to the pairing of Hannity and Colmes on their show. For example:
* CNBC's The Tim Russert Show, August 7, 2004:
TIM RUSSERT [host and NBC News Washington bureau chief]: Do you think that Fox News Channel has a conservative spin to it?
O'REILLY: If you look at the Fox News commentators in prime time, starting with Hume and ending with Van Susteren, it comes right down the line, OK? Van Susteren is a liberal, Colmes is a liberal, Hannity is a conservative, I'm a traditionalist, Shepard Smith is really nothing and -- you know, he's just in -- a neutral guy, in the neutral zone, and Hume, I would say that he's slightly conservative, but certainly no bomb-thrower. All right?
PAUL KRUGMAN [New York Times columnist]: Unbelievable.
* Hannity & Colmes, February 17, 2003:
MIKE GALLAGHER [radio host]: But the problem with Alan, like most liberals, is they don't -- you guys don't use enough logic in your arguments. You want to say Republicans want to take away the seniors' health prescription. You know, George Bush wants to go to war just to satisfy his own personal gain.
COLMES: That's not my argument, Mike. Don't put my -- that's not what I'm saying. Gloria, go ahead.
GLORIA ALLRED [attorney]: Let me tell you about logic. You have Sean out there talking about how Hillary and Bill are behind this as though if they were that would be a terrible thing. I think it's great.
HANNITY: Wait a minute, Gloria. Hang on, Gloria.
ALLRED: He never mentions Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes behind the Fox News network, and they are well known conservatives. I have no problem with that.
HANNITY: What is Alan Colmes, a potted plant? Is [Newsweek contributing editor] Eleanor Clift and Ellen Ratner -- they're all on our payroll, Gloria. They're all liberals. They get paid here. Now let me move on to the more important --
ALLRED: The last time I checked, they were not hosts of a show.
HANNITY: They get paid. Alan is a -- we have a stopwatch in the control room. He gets half my time. It drives me nuts.
Great, so now the problem is that Hannity will get his own show and it won't feature Colmes? It's a weekend program, what's the big deal?
Somebody should get a reaction from Franken on that "potted plant" quote, by the way.
If balance is really such a major issue on cable talk shows, then where is Keith Olbermann's conservative co- host? How about a counterpoint to Chris Matthews? Or to CNN's entire programming schedule?
The fact is that because FOX is primarily conservative and successful, liberals are constantly looking for ways to undermine it. If even weekend scheduling changes are now worth protesting for "lack of balance", then the cable channel must be doing something right.
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