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On Hannity & Colmes, Only Democratic Scandals Matter

Reported by Ellen - June 1, 2006

Anybody who thinks that there is no bias on Hannity & Colmes because it’s an opinion show ought to consider last night’s ridiculous segment on the “scandal” surrounding Senator Harry Reid.

As my colleagues Janie, Marie Therese and Chrish have reported, as has Media Matters, there is no scandal. The smarmy way that FOX News is trying to cook one up is nothing less than shameful.

Even worse, Hannity opened the discussion by asking Democratic “strategist” and FOX News contributor Bob Beckel, “Here’s what I can’t figure out. I don’t know what is more corrupt. Cynthia McKinney’s hitting a cop in the face and not getting indicted, Patrick Kennedy (Hannity made quote marks with his hands) going for a vote at three a.m. in the morning (sic), hitting a wall and not getting a breathalyzer test, Harry Reid getting the free tickets or Congressman Jefferson putting $90,000 in his freezer and saying he did nothing wrong.”

There have been multiple discussions on Hannity & Colmes about all these “scandals” but none on Jack Abramoff, Randy “Duke” Cunningham, or Bob Ney and next to nothing on Tom DeLay and the CIA leak investigation. The allegations in those Republican scandals are far more serious and have far more impact on the public. So why hasn’t “fair and balanced” FOX News discussed THOSE scandals on H&C? Do those who defend FOX, like Susan Estrich, think it’s just a coincidence?

Beckel was hopelessly inept or worse. His response to Hannity was that Patrick Kennedy didn’t belong in that category because “he’s a sick fellow” who, Beckel quickly agreed, “absolutely” should have gotten a breathalyzer test. Then Beckel added “I hit out at Harry Reid today in the USA Today column.” Beckel’s defense of Reid amounted to “everybody does it.” “Every member of the committee, the Commerce Committee of the Senate, that would vote on something like this if it ever came up, which it’s not, took money from the gaming industry. This is the problem we’ve got here. People are taking money and they’re all impacted because they’re all gonna vote.”

Beckel later counted off the Republican scandals but he never named names nor the crimes involved. “There are, as far as I know now, one serving a long term sentence in prison, five who have pled guilty to felonies and will go to prison, two of them under indictment and will be at trial in the next two or three months. All of those I’ve just mentioned are Republicans.”

Alan Colmes also seemed to be deliberately refraining from going into too much detail about the bigger Republican scandals. Colmes first asked “Is this the same Republican party… who tried to change the ethics rules so if Tom DeLay got indicted he wouldn’t have to step down as leader?” Later, Colmes asked, “Where’s the left-wing liberal media on James Sensenbrenner who violated federal laws, possibly, by soliciting a trip to Germany and Lichtenstein from the International Management Development Institute. Almost no attention to that. You know, Bob Ney. We got Duke Cunningham. You want to complain about Harry Reid and some tickets?”

Nobody mentioned the two aides to former CIA head Porter Goss who are alleged to have been involved in poker parties, reportedly featuring prostitutes, thrown by corrupt defense contractor Brent Wilkes (implicated in the Duke Cunningham scandal). CIA employees at a poker party with prostitutes sounds like something that ought to be right up FOX News' alley. Perhaps Hannity was worried that it might sound too much like the Duke rape case and reflect badly on the Duke defendants.

At the end, as the music was playing, Beckel hinted at one of the larger issues. “Didn’t we cover this on our discussion about DeLay’s trip? Oh, that’s right, we didn’t do that one.”

Hannity ended the segment. “Coming up next, explosive new details emerging from a NEW WITNESS in the Duke alleged rape scandal. The accuser’s driver breaks his silence. We’ll tell you all about it.”

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