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FOX News Spins Gen. Sanchez’ Criticism Of Iraq War Into Media Bias Story, Then Avoids Discussing The Role Of Media

Reported by Ellen - October 16, 2007 -

Last night (1015/07), Hannity & Colmes discussed retired General Ricardo Sanchez’ recent blistering criticism of the Iraq war the FOX News way: by overlooking the substance of Sanchez’ analysis and changing the subject to an attack on one of their favorite targets instead: the so-called liberal media. But after complaining that the media didn’t report on Sanchez’ condemnation of it, Sean Hannity and Brent Bozell shied away from talking about media coverage of the war. In Part 2 of the discussion, which was supposed to address Ted Turner’s accusation of FOX News bias toward the Iraq war, Bozell and Hannity once again dodged a substantive discussion of media bias, this time by smearing Turner. With video.

In his scripted introduction to Part 1, Alan Colmes said, “Retired General Ricardo Sanchez made news this weekend calling the United States effort in Iraq ‘catastrophically flawed.’ But lost in the outrage was another statement from Sanchez condemning media outlets for having political agendas and blasting news agencies for putting soldiers in harm’s way.”

When he wants to, Colmes can negotiate through a FOX News topic better than almost any liberal guest. In this case, he was on it. “In terms of criticizing the media, where WAS the media? ...Where were the hard questions being asked? Where (were) the questions critical of the Bush administration? Where were the questions about the WMD’s? The links to 9/11 they continue to make to this day? Where was the media (at home?) before the war in Iraq?”

Oops, that was so not the kind of media bias Bozell planned on discussing. So, instead of addressing the issue, Bozell, who presents himself as a media expert, changed the subject. With obvious annoyance, Bozell said, “Alan, it’s such a broken record. Where were the questions to Bill Clinton? To Al Gore? To the U.N.? To the Soviet Union? They all said the same thing. Do we need to replay this over and over again? Every single intelligence entity got it wrong, not George Bush.”

“You want to change the subject,” Colmes said, before Hannity broke in to take his turn.

With his sincere face, Hannity said he wanted to “move away from these arguments now that are six years old.” (Comment: But not nearly as old as, say Robert Byrd's involvement in the KKK which Hannity harps on at the drop of the name Trent Lott, despite Byrd's also much older apology.)

Conveniently ignoring the fact that Sanchez’ remarks had been made at a Military Reporters and Editors luncheon, that he had specifically indicted their reporting about him, and had specifically endorsed the importance of a free press, Hannity just as conveniently interpreted Sanchez’ rather cryptic remarks about the press as an assault on the liberal media. Also conveniently overlooking his own history of distortions, Hannity complained about the media not using texture and content. He Hanctimoniously asked Bozell, “If they don’t put context and texture to an Abu Ghraib – an isolated incident, if they don’t put context and texture to Haditha, now that these guys have been exonterated, the vast majority of them, are they hurting the cause and putting these guys in further jeopardy?”

Bozell never served in the mllitary and was never a war correspondent. But that didn’t stop him from “knowing” that Hannity was correct in his assessment of the effect on the military. By the way, several officers have told Hannity otherwise, but, apparently, the non-serving Hannity knows better than they.

In Part Two, Bozell and Hannity avoided defending FOX News like it was military service.

Hannity asked Bozell, not Hill, to show the evidence that FOX News influenced Congress’ vote to give President Bush the authority to go to war.

Instead of addressing the issue, Bozell began a Ted Turner smear session. “(Ted Turner’s) a pathetic human being… The man’s off his rocker.”

Hill said, “But instead of constructing him as a straw man, and talking about all those things that are ancillary, let’s talk about the actual point he made.” Hill started to provide an example, that Murdoch had said it would be great if the war got oil down to $20 a barrel.

But Hill was interrupted by Colmes who maneuvered the discussion away from Murdoch and began debating Bozell about Turner.

“But instead of talking about Ted Turner’s character, let’s talk about the issue that he raised,” Hill protested. “Let’s not lose sight of the issue here and that is, is there a relationship between the representation of the war…”

But before Hill finished, Colmes interrupted to say, “We’ve gotta run, guys.”

“Of course,” Hill said.