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Isn’t It Time For Democrats To Confront Hannity’s Partisan Posturing? An Open Letter To Senator Barbara Boxer

Reported by Ellen - January 15, 2007 -

Dear Senator Boxer,

On Friday night’s (1/14/07) Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity demanded that you come on FOX News and apologize for your now-famous comments to Condoleezza Rice last week. The News Hounds hope you take him up on the offer to appear but urge you to seek an apology of your own – from FOX News for having used your legitimate questions for their political posturing and as a convenient dodge from a “real journalism” discussion of the real issues facing our country. (video below)

Several of the News Hounds are single and/or childless women yet none of us was offended by your question to Secretary Rice. In fact, we unanimously found it a valid, important one. Even more important was Secretary Rice’s statement to you that she had no estimate of the number of casualties to be expected as the result of a surge in armed forces.

What DID offend us was the deliberate effort by Sean Hannity and “fair and balanced” FOX News to use you as a straw woman to deflect attention away from the unpopular troop surge. Instead of discussing the substance of your questions, Rice’s uninformed response or even the surge in general, Hannity and both guests, Republican Frank Luntz and Democrat Doug Schoen, focused on and criticized you for “the insult.” They were aided and abetted by the FOX News producers who put up a banner saying “Barbara Boxer Hits Below The Belt!”

Alan Colmes did address the substance of your question when he asked, “Isn’t the larger point that if politicians had a personal stake in war, meaning their own families would be sent, that they might have different war policies than the one this administration has?”

But isn’t the even more important issue how FOX News has deliberately diverted attention away from what the president calls “the struggle that will determine the direction on the global war on terror” and trivialized it into partisan politics?

At the end of the show, Hannity acknowledged you have “an obligation to do what (you believe) is right.”

Before he could finish, Schoen jumped in to add, “We want the rhetoric toned down,” as if that were the single most important matter at hand and, in the meanwhile, ignoring the efforts of FOX News to ramp up the bickering.

“Tell Boxer,” Hannity said.

“Absolutely,” Schoen assured him.

Hannity mugged into the camera, “Barbara Boxer, come on FOX News. Apologize. What you did was irresponsible, vicious and wrong.”

Senator Boxer, you undoubtedly know as well as we do that Hannity’s game is to demonize Democrats, not heighten the level of political discourse. While almost no Republican misdeed is worthy of attention – the disgraces of Tom DeLay, Randy “Duke” Cunningham, and Jack Abramoff (to name just a few) are never debated, no Democratic misstep is too insignificant to scrutinize. Cynthia McKinney’s tussle with a policeman, Patrick Kennedy’s car accident and John Kerry’s bad joke were the subject of numerous Hannity & Colmes debates. Funny, but Hannity didn’t seem to have a care in the world about the level of political discourse when, during a Hannity & Colmes discussion of Kerry’s faux pas, Tom DeLay stated that the left has “disdain for the military… They’re dangerous... trying to undermine the will of the American people."

It’s a shame that Schoen would not or could not address those issues. But we believe you can and that you should. Frankly, we are perplexed at the defensiveness and timidity of Democrats when dealing with the FOX News bullies. They make a charge, Hannity erupts in phony-baloney Hanctimony and more often than not, a Democratic guest will tapdance away from the “offender” in a misguided and futile effort to curry favor.Any kindergarten teacher can tell you that giving in to bullies never dissuades them. Nor does it convince one’s classmates or constituents that they will be tough in the face of other attacks. If Democrats want to persuade Americans they will be effective in combating terrorists, we believe they must demonstrate their effectiveness in combating the right wing bullying machine.

We know it’s not easy. But we think that your combination of charm and gumption make you the perfect candidate for the task.

We hope you’ll give it some consideration.

Also signed by Deborah, Marie Therese, Melanie

Below is partial video of the discussion. Unfortunately, I was unable to record the beginning of the discussion, in which Schoen repeatedly castigates Boxer.