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Colmes Says "Outfoxed" Got Election Countdown Wrong. We Disagree.

Reported by Ellen - April 15, 2005

Last night on his radio show, Alan Colmes got a call from a listener who had just seen Outfoxed. Larry, from North Hampton, MA, said he found the movie "very informative, shocking at times, very thought-provoking." He didn't realize, he said, that Colmes was in it and asked for his thoughts. Colmes said he hasn't seen the film but that it got the election countdown on Hannity & Colmes wrong. "They'll have Sean saying 110 days left until George Bush gets re-elected president of the United States. But they leave out the fact that on alternate nights I'm the one saying 109 days left until John Kerry becomes the next president of the United States. So they painted a very one-sided picture. You saw the movie, I didn't, so correct me if I'm wrong."

Well, I'm not Larry from North Hampton but I think I can say with some authority that Colmes is wrong.

I believe what Colmes was going on was FOX News reporter Eric Shawn's 7/13/04 criticism of the movie for not including Colmes in the countdown. A few days later, the movie's producer, Jim Gilliam, prepared a spreadsheet and an analysis of the countdown segments from 1/13/04 through 7/9/04 compiled from Nexis transcripts. According to his compilation, the countdown was not done every night nor did it alternate between Hannity and Colmes.

For example, Jim's spreadsheet shows that Colmes did the countdown on April 14 and 15, Hannity did it the 16th, Colmes did the 19th, Hannity did 4/20 and 4/21 and there was none on 4/22.

More importantly, Jim's analysis shows that while Hannity did the countdown one time less than Colmes did during that six-month period, Hannity's comments were more partisan, more often.

For example, on 2/11/04 Hannity said, "It's 265 days until Americans cast their votes for George Bush, but the road to the White House hit a dead end for another candidate today." The next night, Colmes said, "Well, get ready. Election day is just 264 days away."

To quote from Jim in an email prepared July 19,2004 (and reprinted here with permission):

The first time Colmes counted the days until Kerry's election was
5/27, 9 days after we stopped monitoring full time. Only 2 times
before May 27th did he get partisan in the countdown: On 2/16/04 he
went anti-Bush: "decide that it's time to remove George W. Bush from
the Oval Office for the next four years," and ten days later on
2/26/04 he went pro-Democrat saying, "250 before the Democrats take
over." Twice out of the 33 times he did the countdown. That's 6%.

Contrast that with Hannity, who went pro-Bush *18* times between the
beginning of January and 5/27/04. Hannity did the countdown 32 times
predicting Bush's re-election in the countdown 56% of the time, or 9
times as often as Colmes.

From May 27th until July 9th, things have been a bit different.
Hannity (or his sit-in, Oliver North) predicted Bush's re-election in
the countdown to election segment 5 times, while Colmes predicted
Kerry's victory (or Bush's defeat) 8 times -- 6 of those while Hannity
was on vacation, and 5 since Outfoxed was announced.

When Eric Shawn aired his 7/13 report criticizing the film for leaving
out the Colmes countdown, he aired a clip of Sean Hannity from
February 13th. The clip he aired of Alan Colmes predicting a Kerry
victory came from July 2nd, 2 days after Outfoxed was released.

Disclaimer: I watched Hannity & Colmes only once during the movie monitoring process and I can't tell you if there was a countdown that night because I got so upset with the way Hannity treated one of the guests that I stormed off the treadmill at the gym where I was watching it and promptly put a note in their suggestion box asking that FOX News be removed from their TV system.

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