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Hannity Again Baselessly Alleges Sinister Hillary Clinton/John Podesta Conspiracy Re Talk Radio

Reported by Ellen - July 22, 2007 -

During Friday night’s (7/20/07) unfair and unbalanced discussion of the Fairness Doctrine on Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity again alleged a sinister conspiracy between Hillary Clinton and John Podesta to kill conservative talk radio without offering any evidence for his conclusion. With video.

As has become the norm for Hannity & Colmes discussions on the topic, a Republican (this time, Senator Norm Coleman) was the sole guest; Alan Colmes essentially agreed with both Hannity and the guest; enthusiasm for the Fairness Doctrine was conflated with the recommendations of a report by Center for American Progress/Free Press, called The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio; and nobody advocated on behalf of the real recommendations of the report which were for greater diversity of ownership. And because former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta now heads the Center for American Progress, Hannity once again put forth his conspiracy theory that Podesta (who was not one of the authors) and Hillary Clinton conspired to put it out in an effort to kill conservative talk radio.

On the June 21, 2007 Hannity & Colmes, Hannity accused Clinton and Podesta of conspiring but acknowledged he had no evidence to prove it. “(Podesta) is Senator Clinton’s best friend trying to come up with a blueprint to silence conservatives... I want to see the connection. Podesta and Hillary Clinton. This is supposed to be a tax-exempt organization. I’d like to know what influence she may have had on this. I’d like to investigate.”

Since then, I have yet to see Hannity put forth the results of any such investigation or any information at all to indicate Clinton had any influence or played any role in the report. But on Friday night’s show, Hannity once again alleged a cabal between Podesta and Clinton without bothering to offer the audience any facts to back up his accusation.

Friday night’s discussion centered around Senator Coleman’s failed attempt to block reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. Colmes reported he had heard from the office of Democratic whip Senator Dick Durbin that there are currently no plans to try and reinstate the Fairness Doctrine. But conspiracy theorist Hannity said, “I think it’s more sinister here. And I think John Podesta, working on Hillary’s behalf when he came out with The Structural Imbalance of Talk Radio (sic), this phony report… Isn’t this really to intimidate station owners and send a message – and it even says so – that they’ll challenge the number of stations that groups can have in particular markets. It seems like an intimidation issue here.”

As if to second Hannity’s paranoia, the backdrop on the set read, “Targeting Talk Radio.”

In fact, the CAP/Free Press report specifically argues against reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine and recommends greater diversity in ownership. But the very important issue of media consolidation is almost completely overlooked in these discussions. Colmes has clarified what the report actually recommends during past discussions (though he didn’t in this one), then left it at that. I have yet to see a Hannity & Colmes guest advocate for greater diversity of ownership. Given that FOX News owner Rupert Murdoch is working right now to expand his media empire with even greater consolidation (by trying to purchase The Wall Street Journal), I don't expect that kind of guest to appear any time soon.

By coincidence, I happened to stumble upon a report yesterday from the American Library Association called Fostering Media Diversity in Libraries. To quote from the report, “In June, 2003, the American Library Association (ALA) passed a resolution deploring the Federal Communications Commission’s actions changing media ownership rules that encourage further concentration of the media.” The report then goes on to recommend ways that libraries should promote “the widest possible range of viewpoints, outlets… in order to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate in today’s information society.” It seemed a goal in synch with the CAP/Free Press report.

Or are librarians part of the Clinton/Podesta cabal, too?

If you agree that a “real journalism, fair and balanced” news network should not allow one of its hosts to lob unsubstantiated and speculative accusations, you can contact them at comments@foxnews.com or hannity@foxnews.com or colmes@foxnews.com.