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Hannity & Colmes Focuses Sharpton/Imus Producer Debate On Sharpton Rather Than Imus, Race Relations Or Broadcast Standards

Reported by Ellen - May 12, 2007 -

Hannity & Colmes spent its entire hour last night (5/11/07) on a debate between Rev. Al Sharpton and Don Imus’ former producer, Bernard McGuirk. While Sean Hannity promised at the outset that the discussion would be “dealing with issues of free speech, dealing with issues of what’s acceptable on the public airwaves,” the discussion was almost entirely devoted to debating what’s acceptable from Al Sharpton.

I’m sorry, but it’s hard for me to get worked up over the “injustice” of the firing of a couple of overpaid shock jocks while millions of lesser-paid Americans, probably with far less financial cushioning than Imus and McGuirk, are dismissed due to outsourcing or other reasons unrelated to their job performance.

While it’s understandable that Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes would feel more sympathetic to their colleague than I would, what I don’t understand is why they can’t have a real discussion about the real issues underlying Imus’ firing rather than repeatedly harping on the Sharpton factor. Unfortunately, Sharpton, himself, allowed that misplaced focus to continue through most of last night’s show. At the end, Colmes lamented – not for the first time – that Imus’ firing prevented him from holding a real dialogue on the issue of race and broadcasting. But there was his producer with all the opportunity in the world to do just that on Hannity & Colmes and he showed no such inclination. Instead, he repeatedly attacked Sharpton. And neither host seemed to mind.

Three parts of the debate are currently availble on FOXNews.com.