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Smearing Patrick Kennedy While Pretending To Wish Him Well

Reported by Ellen - March 18, 2007 -

Rep. Patrick Kennedy is out of rehab and that means just one thing for the FOX News producers of Hannity & Colmes: an opportunity to rehash the scandal, drop a few smears and give everyone a chance to wish him well. With video.

Congressman Kennedy, you may recall, was the subject of at least two lengthy discussions last spring after he crashed a car and, according to FOX News, appeared to be intoxicated. This was deemed so newsworthy that Hannity & Colmes devoted 18 minutes of one show and the first 36 minutes of another for analysis of all the minutia. In other words, it was a long smear-fest that conveniently drew attention away from the burgeoning troubles of the Bush administration.

In recent weeks, Hannity & Colmes has largely ignored the scandal(s) surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Only one discussion has been devoted to it so far on Hannity & Colmes. That one discussion was centered around “Clinton did it, too. Is there a media bias?” rather than much of the substance of the scandal(s). There been not much on the Scooter Libby trial and nothing that I can recall on Jack Abramoff, Randy “Duke” Cunningham, Tom Ney, Bob Noe or any of a number of other serious Republican scandals. But FOX News not only had the nerve to dredge up the Kennedy “scandal” yet again, they did so while complaining about media bias in the coverage of scandals!

The Republican guest was the ever shrill and shrewish Karen Hanretty. She must have been worried that Patrick Kennedy might not be smeared enough if he had to share the limelight with Rush and the "liberal media." So she added that she thought Kennedy was covering up for his family physician. She provided no evidence for that accusation, other than the fact that Kennedy had not come forward with the name of his “enabler.” That omission, she claimed, also without offering any data to back up her assertion, was grounds to believe he was not sincere in his desire to remain clean and sober.

In her shrill, shrewish voice she went on to attack Alan Colmes for not caring “about the facts surrounding the case.” She said she wanted to know where Kennedy got the drugs. If Kennedy really cared about drug rehabilitation, she insisted, he’d come forward and name his enabler.

Unfortunately, Colmes and his fellow Democrat, guest Bob Beckel seemed so intent on taking the high road that they never addressed the obvious agenda: An attempt to smear a Democrat under cover of attacking the “liberal media.”

Sean Hannity said with grandstanding Hanctimony that there was a “vicious, vicious three-year long political witch hunt against Rush that’s not being applied to Kennedy.” Hannity added, “And by the way, I don’t think they should be.”

Oh, right! That was the same kind of “benevolence” Hannity pretended to last May when he claimed to be “very sensitive” to Kennedy’s troubles and said, “I only want him to get better” moments before stating that Kennedy’s situation “reminds me of the fact that his father left a woman in a pond and went home. And didn’t tell anybody ‘Oh by the way, I just crashed off a bridge and a woman’s in the car at the bottom of a pond.’ And got away with it, for all intent and purposes here.”

Beckel had also been a guest during that discussion. But he seemed clueless about Hannity’s pretense. Instead, Beckel took his own gratuitous swipe at Kennedy by saying that he was worried that Kennedy went public so soon after rehab.

“Compassionate” Hannity continued to Beckel, “You remember my comments when this story first came out about Kennedy. I’m not a fan of the Kennedy’s but, you know what? In instances like this, if nobody’s hurt, and they seek the proper help and assistance, I think there ought to be at least an opportunity for people to get well. That was not afforded a conservative.” Hannity then demanded that Beckel speak out against this “double standard.”

Sadly, Beckel seemed more interested in polishing up his conservative street cred than he was in considering the double standard issue. Instead, Beckel reminded Hannity how, when the Limbaugh story broke, recovering alcoholic Beckel offered his assistance. It was a lovely gesture, don’t get me wrong. But it was quite irrelevant to Hannity’s histrionics. Beckel should have known better.

Hannity then launched into another emotional diatribe about the “witchhunt” against Limbaugh. It seemed somewhat bizarre given that the Limbaugh issue is not exactly up-to-date news. Hannity concluded his melodramatic tale by saying “I don’t see the same thing – and by the way I’m not calling for it – I don’t see the same thing being applied to the prima donna Kennedy’s here.”

Surely Beckel is smart enough to see through such cheap theatrics. But, inexplicably, he responded by telling an anecdote about someone in Washington who had been led away in handcuffs after shopping around for oxycontin.

So Hanretty jumped in to take the discussion away from other drug abusers and back to Kennedy. “Patrick Kennedy sits on the Appropriations Committee,” she trilled. “This guy has been so hopped up on drugs, he cannot, probably, with a clear head make realistic, logical uh, sound decisions.” Once again, no proof for such an accusation was offered. None was asked for, either.

Demonstrating again the depth of his concern about Kennedy’s welfare, Hannity chimed in, “And he drove a car and crashed a car.”

What, no mention of Chappaquiddick? I really think Hannity’s losing it. Seriously. When Colmes ended the segment by joking, “It’s safer to host a talk show if you’re stoned then if you’re in Congress,” Hannity petulantly interrupted, “That’s a cheap shot. Don’t take cheap shots.”

Hmm. Was Hannity upset on Limbaugh's part or is there some substance abuse a little closer to home? We have heard rumors that Mrs. Bullyboy is divorcing him. I can only imagine how he must be suffering through the mounting misfortunes of the Bush administration. Whatever his troubles, we wish him well. For real.