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Hannity & Colmes Interview Subjects Allege Their Views Were Misrepresented, Distorted And Censored By FOX News

Reported by Ellen - October 29, 2007 -

News Hounds has been contacted by two of the students shown in a discussion on Friday night's (10/26/07) Hannity & Colmes critiquing CNN's recent special Planet in Peril. While the Hannity & Colmes discussion purported to paint the CNN special as biased, the students who contacted us say that FOX News censored opposing views of the students and "wiped out" their "overwhelming neutral to favorable reaction" to the special.

UPDATE: A third student has come forward with allegations of misrepresentation; Hannity & Colmes producer responds.

Graduate student Christopher Hain wrote us the following:

I was involved in the "Planet in Peril" discussion filmed for the segment you wrote about on Friday's edition of Hannity and Colmes. Myself and several other of my fellow students involved in the forum felt intentionally misrepresented or completely censored because we had views which did not fit the agenda of the segment that was actually aired on Friday night. We have begun to contact people so that we can get our story out and to clear our name because we did not sign up to be associated with the political "hit job" that this piece turned out to be. I can be contacted at this email address (withheld by News Hounds) or by phone number (withheld by News Hounds). I will also be able to get you in contact with several of the others students who were involved in the forum and who will act to validate my concerns discussed above. We would appreciate any attention you can give our suppressed voice.

Not long after, student Will McCarty wrote us as well:

Friday night, Hannity and Colmes aired a segment entitled "Planet in Perspective". It was designed as a response to CNN's "Planet in Peril" specials aired last week and was proposed as an opportunity to provide reactions and responses from the perspective of graduate students in the Atmospheric Sciences. Since this was how it was proposed to us, a group of ten students within the department, ranging from first-year masters students to a Ph. D. candidate within 6 months of completion (myself) had volunteered to participate.

The Professor contacted by Fox News to organize the segment was Dr.
John Christy. While I have much respect for the man (he's a nice guy,
a fantastic Professor, and a very intelligent man), I know well enough
that he is on the edge of the "Global Warming" debate towards the
"skeptic" side. While I am not an expert on Global Warming or Climate
Change, I volunteered as one of the highly-regarded graduate students
within the department to participate. I was entering as a neutral
party, going in skeptical of both the ability of CNN to put a special
together, using a journalist, biologist, and doctor, to fairly and
neutrally portray the subject and of Fox News, to be able to portray
the reactions of the graduate students fairly, not warp the reactions
to fit their agenda.

Well, I was very pleasantly surprised with the neutrality of the CNN
piece and their presentation of multiple sides of the arguments of the
segments they had. This was certainly the reaction of the majority of
the group of graduate students.

This point of view, and the overwhelming neutral to favorable reaction
to the special, was wiped out by Fox News and Hannity and Colmes by
the art of creative editing. I was featured commenting on how it was
a "human interest" piece and how CNN's concern was "ratings" during
the piece, and very clearly cut off before being able to finish my
thought. Major discussion participants and leaders were simply cut
altogether because their perspective didn't fit H&C/FNC's agenda for
the piece.

This was a terrible example of selective journalism and, more
concerning to me, has tarnished a young but up-and-coming department
in the atmospheric sciences that I, as well as many others, have
worked very hard to develop an elite reputation within the field.

If this is of any interest, feel free to contact me for further

If anyone wishes to contact the students, email us and I'll forward the information.

In my post on the discussion, I wrote that Hannity seems willing to go to any lengths to discredit global warming – any length, that is, except having an honest and fair debate on the subject. It looks like I was just proven right.

UPDATE: Inside Cable News interviewed a third student who participated in the forum, Kevin Quinlan. Quinlan told ICN:

Because my words were not used in the piece by Fox, I cannot say that I was personally misrepresented, however, I can say that I believe the discussion was misrepresented. The clips that Fox news showed were of the students who agreed with their political agenda, or they would cut off the clip before the student speaking was able to make their point. This chopping of the sound bytes made the student appear to disagree with CNN, but in reality, they were about to make their point backing up CNN.

The reason that I am writing to you right now is not to clear my own name, because my name was not used during the piece and my words were not slandered. The reason I am writing is because I feel that our Atmospheric Science Department as a whole has been very misrepresented by Fox News and the Hannity & Colmes show. The comments made during the forum were not overwhelming in favor or against the CNN program. I would characterize the views as favorable towards CNN, but the Fox News network did not represent any of the views that were favorable to CNN’s,

ICN also received and posted this comment from Hannity & Colmes senior producer, John Finley:

We taped more than 50 minutes of the class discussion and edited down the most compelling comments to about 3 minutes. Nobody was told what to say and there was no agenda in selecting what made air. The portions that were included in the segment were representative of the issues raised in the discussion. Due to the time constraints of the segment, not every who student who participated could be included.