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FOX News Attacks Bill Moyers

Reported by Ellen - April 25, 2007 -

Still ignoring the bad-news-for-Republicans stories involving Alberto Gonzales and Paul Wolfowitz and now the day’s testimony that the military had lied about Jessica Lynch’s capture and Pat Tillman’s death, Hannity & Colmes went after Bill Moyers over his upcoming documentary on PBS, Buying The War, about the role of the media in the run-up to the Iraq war. Rather than debate the contents of Moyers’ film, Sean Hannity and fellow conservative Brent Bozell tried to smear Moyers. Alan Colmes and liberal guest David Swanson were at the top of their games.

Bozell complained several times about Moyers “going after conservatives and conservative organizations,” but he never cited a single example of how that operated in the film. Instead, he relied mostly on the kind of smear tactics he decried in Moyers by repeating the claim that Moyers called FOX News a slime machine.

Colmes responded, “Do I have to agree with everything Bill Moyers says? … You’re just trying to divert attention from what this is really about which is a PBS documentary which shows how the media, including the so-called liberal Washington Post, the so-called liberal New York Times was complicit with articles like Judith Miller, with people like William Saffire defending this war and things that turned out later not to be true. That’s what Bill Moyers is pointing out in this PBS documentary – how the media helped out the run-up to the war and Bush’s argument for war.”

Interestingly, Bozell never disputed those facts. Instead, he changed the subject again. He said it was “perfectly fine by me” to have that discussion “provided two things: provided you let the other side have a voice and provided you don’t distort and try to discredit people in the process and that’s exactly what Bill Moyers did.” Bozell did not provide any evidence to back up his assertions.

However, if Bozell is claiming Moyers never allowed the other side to have a voice, Bozell was either unaware of or he deliberately avoided mentioning that, according to the Orlando Sentinel, FOX News’ Roger Ailes was offered the chance to participate but turned it down. (H/T TVNewser)

Bozell continued, “You name me a single program, a single program ever, in the history of PBS that is to the right, analogous to what Bill Moyers (unintelligible).”

Colmes pointed out that PBS has funded many conservative projects, including William F. Buckley’s long-running show “Firing Line." (Bozell is a nephew of Buckley’s.) Colmes said, “This is just to an attempt to smear Bill Moyers… People can’t stand the fact – conservatives, especially - that Bill Moyers actually is pointing out facts about how we were misled in the run-up to the war and how the media was complicit in those arguments.

If the discussion was about fairness in the media, why wasn’t there a spokesperson from PBS on the show or someone from FAIR or Media Matters? David Brock, of Media Matters, has repeatedly requested to appear on The O’Reilly Factor so it’s almost certain he’d be willing to appear on Hannity & Colmes. However, guest David Swanson, from Afterdowningstreet.org did a fine job when he had the opportunity to contribute.

Swanson said, “What we see here is not much from Bill Moyers’ voice. We see clips from four years ago of numerous pundits who look remarkably foolish. And not just because they were mistaken but because they accepted absurdities without the bare minimum of thought or research. You know, Saddam Hussein was a secularist, a control freak. He would never have worked with Al Qaeda.”

Hannity interrupted to take his turn and quickly changed the subject away from the substance of Moyers’ documentary. “Nobody cares what Bill Moyers says. He’s irrelevant.” (Right! That’s why Hannity was bothering to have a discussion about an “irrelevant” filmmaker.)

Bozell quickly agreed and called Moyers "The Phil Donohue of journalism."

Hannity continued, “It’s the fact that tax dollars are gonna be used here, Brent Bozell. So he can selectively edit to make his left-wing case, to support his left-wing agenda and we’re paying for it.”

In concert with the conservatives, chyron that ran intermittently throughout the discussion read, “Tax payers pay up as Bill Moyers returns to PBS.”

Despite Moyers’ “irrelevance,” Hannity couldn’t resist playing a clip of Moyers talking about Hannity.

For a film from someone who doesn’t matter, Hannity and Bozell seemed pretty darned interested.

UPDATE: On today's Democracy Now, Moyers said he takes no public money to do his show. I wonder if Hannity & Colmes will make a retraction tonight? You can contact them at hannity@foxnews.com, colmes@foxnews.com, comments@foxnewscom.