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In Week of 4/2-4/6, Hannity & Colmes Debated Controversies Over Democrats, Only, And Ignored Those About Republicans

Reported by Ellen - April 7, 2007 -

In contradiction to their “fair and balanced” slogan, last week (4/2 – 4/6/07) on FOX News' Hannity & Colmes, there were three discussions on Democratic controversies and none regarding Republican controversies.

The issues that placed Democrats in the Hannity & Colmes hot seat were Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria (discussions on 4/5 and 4/6) and one discussion on 4/4 about a Democratic staffer’s memo urging the discontinuation of the term “global war on terror.” The Pelosi segments were framed with scornful remarks about her, including chyrons saying “Diva of Demascus” and “Dame of Demascus.” On FOXNews.com, the discussion (featuring that well-credentialed expert in foreign policy, Ann Coulter) transcript’s headline reads, “Palestinian Militants Praise Pelosi?” But other than Sean Hannity’s vague announcement at the beginning, “There are now reports that some Palestinian terror groups are praising the Democratic leader's questionable Mideast jaunt,” there was no further discussion on or explanation of the Palestinian connection. Just enough to conflate Pelosi with terrorists.

Meanwhile, there were plenty of issues to debate about Republican conduct:

1. John McCain’s falsely upbeat description of Iraq: First, he falsely claimed that General Petraeus could walk down the streets of Baghdad without fearing for his life and that he goes out in an unarmed Humvee almost every day. Then McCain contradicted his own words by taking a leisurely stroll through a Baghdad market with Petraeus. As the Palm Beach Post reported, “it took 100 heavily armed soldiers, a fleet of armored Humvees, sharpshooters on rooftops and several helicopters to provide security.” The Post also noted that “Afterward, merchants complained to reporters about losing business because the escort troops had paralyzed traffic and driven away customers. Residents now worry that the brief visit has made the market a higher priority target for insurgents, who have bombed it a half-dozen times in the past year.”

If memory serves, Democratic pundit Laura Schwartz briefly mentioned McCain during her discussion of Pelosi but there was no separate discussion of McCain’s blooper nor his lackluster polling and fundraising.

2. The Supreme Court ruling against the EPA and the Bush administration. The decision was widely viewed as a defeat for the Bush administration but there was no discussion about it on Hannity & Colmes. Harris Faulkner did mention the decision during her brief news break at the half-hour but she distorted the facts in a way that just happened to cast Bush in a more favorable light.

3. Alberto Gonzales. FOX News might be hoping that by ignoring this issue, it will just go away. So far, that does not seem to be happening. On Friday afternoon, Gonzales aide and the Justice Department liaison to the White House Monica Goodling announced her resignation. As Raw Story reported, “Goodling, who served as a top counsel to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, had made news for insisting to Members of Congress that she would invoke her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination… On Tuesday, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) also suggested that Goodling, who had been on paid leave for several weeks, was under investigation by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General and Office of Professional Responsibility… A spokesperson for the House Judiciary Committee told Raw Story that Chairman Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) would still seek to question Goodling.” Meanwhile, another Republican has called for Gonzales’ resignation. There was no discussion of Goodling’s resignation nor any other aspect of “Attorneygate” on Hannity & Colmes last week.

4. Matthew Dowd. In an April 1, 2007 interview with the New York Times, President Bush’s former aide and top pollster Dowd spoke out about his disappointment and loss of faith in Bush. There was no discussion of what Hannity & Colmes would call (if they were to mention it) “this shocking revelation.”

5. Recess appointment. On Wednesday, President Bush appointed Swift Boat funder Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium while Congress was in recess. Vice President Cheney accused the Senate Foreign Relations Committee of being “Stalinist” for blocking the nomination. But as Think Progress reported, the Committee never blocked the nomination. The White House pulled it because they believed the nomination would not have passed. Senators Dodd, Kerry and Casey believe the appointment may be illegal and have called for an investigation in a letter to the GAO. There was no discussion about this controversy on Hannity & Colmes.

6. As AP reported, Vice President Dick Cheney repeated his assertions of al-Qaida links to Saddam Hussein's Iraq on Thursday as the Defense Department released a report citing more evidence that the prewar government did not cooperate with the terrorist group. There was no discussion about this on Hannity & Colmes. Can you imagine if Clinton had been president under these circumstances?

The week's discussions included three interviews with Republican presidential candidates: Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Tommy Thompson. Only Thompson took questions from Alan Colmes. However, Thompson bristled at Colmes’ questions about abortion and made the bizarre claim that Colmes was trying to embarrass Thompson by asking if he thought it should be illegal. Perhaps that scared off Giuliani and Romney from taking any questions from Colmes. Those two candidates each received a double segment of softball questions with Hannity, only. For example, Hannity was not just incurious about Giuliani’s long, close relationship with the disgraced Bernard Kerik, his only question was more of a defense than a probe. “You read about Rudy Giuliani. You don’t really read about your record. For example, almost every article I read, people want to know, if they’ve mentioned Bernie Kerik, your former police commissioner (and campaign manager and business partner), they mention Rudy Giuliani and how that will impact the campaign.”

That is not to say that every segment in every show was a shout out to Republicans. News Hounds Top Dog Charles Rangel got a solo interview to plug his new memoir. And Alan Colmes did an interesting and touching interview with Mia Farrow, actress and goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, about the suffering in Darfur. I didn’t hear any UN slurs from substitute co-host Rich Lowry, either.

But when you look at the political news of the week, the anti-Democratic bias is unmistakeable.

I plan to make this a continuing series of overviews of the subjects covered and excluded by “real journalism, fair and balanced” FOX News.