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FOX News Singles Out Murtha On Earmarks

Reported by Ellen - August 10, 2007 -

Last night’s (8/9/07) Hannity & Colmes tried to make hay out of a confrontation in the House of Representatives between Republican Congressman John Campbell and Democratic Congressman John Murtha, over an appropriations earmark. Funny, I can’t remember a single Republican ever being singled out in a Hannity & Colmes discussion even though Campbell, who appeared on the show to discuss the matter, acknowledged to Alan Colmes that Republican Bill Young is the “king of earmarks.” There was no Democratic guest to present Murtha’s side. But Alan Colmes added some real balance by widening the focus. With video.

As Campbell explained (but Hannity-sub Rich Lowry did not), the earmark at issue wasn't even inserted by Murtha. Nevertheless, Lowry read from his obviously scripted introduction that Campbell questioned Murtha “about two million dollars he earmarked for the Sherman (sic) Williams Paint Supply Company.” Lowry gleefully added, “Murtha got a little defensive.” A video of the confrontation was played.

Colmes did a great job knocking down the anti-Murtha slant. “It’s not just, Congressman Campbell, about Democrats, as Rich Lowry would like to believe. And it’s not just about Jack Murtha who, you acknowledge, it wasn’t even his district,” Colmes said. “And isn’t the biggest earmarker Bill Young of Florida, the king of the earmarks, and Don Young, of Alaska, who went to the floor one day to defend his bridge to nowhere. And I can go on and on about how many Republicans do this, so to single out John Murtha is rather disingenuous, isn’t it?”

Campbell nodded in agreement at the list of Republican earmarkers. “Alan, you’re right. The earmark problem is a bi-partisan problem.”

Colmes continued by saying that Murtha “becomes a very easy target for those who don’t like his stance on the war, so he’s become higher profile.” Colmes went on to note the FBI investigation into whether Senator Ted Stevens used a $1.6 million Congressional appropriation to help an Alaska marine center purchase property from a business partner of his son. Neatly switching topics, Colmes asked, “Should (Stevens) be asked to step down?”

Campbell was clearly caught between a rock and a hard place and fumbled around. Finally, as Colmes kept pressing the question, Campbell answered, “Perhaps he should.” Campbell went on to assure Colmes that he goes after both Republicans and Democrats in his crusade against earmarks.

“Have you ever put a (Republican) on the stand and questioned him the way you just questioned Murtha?” Colmes asked.

“I absolutely have,” Campbell assured him.

But has FOX News ever covered it the way it covered Murtha?