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Hannity's Hissy Fit Over Murtha And Iraq

Reported by Ellen - November 19, 2005

Sean Hannity's Hate-O-Meter ended the week in the red zone last night, as he vainly tried to counter the damage done to President Bush's Iraq policy by Rep. John Murtha, a well-respected Democratic veteran and hawk who once supported the invasion, now calling for troop withdrawal. Hannity has yet to make any kind of real argument on behalf of the war or the president's policy. Instead, he relies on the only tactics he seems to know - attacking Democrats. It would be funny if the stakes weren't so serious.

Most of last night's Hannity & Colmes (11/18/05) was devoted to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives' response to Murtha - a sudden vote on a non-binding resolution to immediately withdraw troops from Iraq. As Alan Colmes pointed out, the vote was "a ploy," a tactic designed only to make Democrats look bad - either for supporting the war and the Republicans and going against Murtha or for supporting a precipitous withdrawal. In fact, Murtha never called for immediate withdrawal and the Democrats quickly decided to vote en masse against the resolution as a way to neutralize its significance. The outcome of the vote (403-3 against the non-binding resolution) was never in doubt but FOX News emphasized the story as if something really important was about to happen - with FOX News Alerts, repeated promises to keep an eye on developments and lots of air time on the show.

Sean Hannity had nothing new to say - just the same old tired attacks about the vicious Democrats smearing the commander in chief while our troops are in harm's way and repeating old quotes of John Kerry and Hillary Clinton saying that they thought Saddam Hussein was a threat. For all I know, he could have been lip-synching to a tape of Thursday night's attacks or Wednesday's or nearly any other night Iraq has been discussed on the show.

Last night, however, Hannity had two new weapons in his war against Democrats, two Gold Star Fathers who lost sons in Iraq. You might think that "Fair and Balanced" FOX News would have offered up a diversity of opinion but - surprise, surprise, the two men not only supported Bush, they agreed with Hannity (when he gave them a chance to speak) that opposition to the war is all a matter of politics and an attempt to undermine the troops. One father said "it's like a dagger in my heart," the other father said, "I wonder what we'd be hearing now in the halls of Congress if the American heroes on Flight 93 had been afraid of offending those terrorists on that airplane and just let them crash it into the halls of Congress."

Alan Colmes did one of his best interviews with the fathers. He treated each one with respect and consideration but also stuck to his guns that while Clinton may have shared Bush's beliefs about the threat from Saddam Hussein, the actions were drastically different. Within no time, each of the fathers was agreeing with Colmes that dissent and debate are part of American democracy and that even Cindy Sheehan has the right to speak out.

Comment: The Wall Street Journal, no liberal rag, reported that the House vote "won't alleviate growing public unease about the war. In the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 56% of Americans said they favor reduction in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, with or without a specified timetable." I think it unlikely that the Hannity Hate-a-thon is going to make a difference, either.

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