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The Runaway Story Of The Runaway Bride

Reported by Ellen - May 3, 2005

It turns out I'm not the only one in the FOX News audience sick to death of the runaway bride story. Last night three out of about five callers during the first hour of the Alan Colmes Show (a FOX News radio program) complained about the exessive coverage in the media in general and, in one case, on FOX News in particular. Maybe the radio audience is getting smarter.

Colmes discussed the story in great detail and played clips from the mayor of Duluth, GA, where Wilbanks ran away from, and from an interview with her fiance who, as it happens, is a big Sean Hannity fan. Then it was time for phone calls.

The first caller was Brandon in Jackson, TN. He got off on the right foot (in my book) by saying he couldn't blame Wilbanks for running away from a fiance if he's a Hannity fan. Then Brandon went on to complain about the national focus on this case. Colmes said that he thinks it's a human interest story, not that there wasn't other important news, but that there's nothing big happening right now and they can't talk about war all the time (Comment: So how about Bush's latest scam to destroy Social Security? Tom DeLay's latest ethics problems? Jeff Gannon going into the White House when there weren't press conferences and not coming out? I feel confident the Gannon story would trump Wilbanks any day if only it had happened during a Democratic presidency.)

Brandon replied, "It's not headline news." He mentioned his own "human interest" problems dealing with runaway health insurance costs, reduced funding for his medical problems, increased fuel costs, etc. Colmes finally agreed the Wilbanks story was a diversion, that there was too much focus on missing white people but he likened it to reality television. (Comment: But since when is a news network supposed to be like reality television?) Brandon responded, "It's a diversion on the national level away from the issues that do matter to people."

Tom in Coleman, Alabama (one of my favorite callers) was not only annoyed that the story is getting so much play, he singled out FOX News as a major culprit. "Where is the responsibility from FOX News?" Coleman asked.

Colmes answered that it's not just FOX News, that he thought Tom's anger was misdirected. Tom, however, held his ground and said that FOX News took the lead on making the story what it turned into. He talked about the pointlessness of the coverage. "It does no good... They have to accept responsibility," he said.

Finally, there was Nathaniel in Harlem who complained, "There's other things to talk about. I'm a Viet Nam vet still waiting for disability."

Something tells me that the problems of health care costs for civilians and veterans are not going to be a big topic on FOX News any time soon. In fact, Colmes announced that tomorrow night there will be more discussion about the runaway bride. And when he returned to the open phones during the third hour of the show, almost everyone seemed interested in discussing it.

Maybe all the smart ones went to bed early.

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