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Hannity & Colmes Does Another Report On Government Waste And Still Hasn't Talked About The Missing Billions In Iraq

Reported by Ellen - November 30, 2005

There was another segment of "Follow The Money" on Hannity & Colmes last night. This series purports to look at how the government is wasting our tax dollars. Last night's show just happened to focus on federal projects for Nevada, the state where Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is from. Funny how the show makes such a big deal over a few million dollars in pork but hasn't a care in the world about the missing $9 BILLION in Iraq.

Without offering any reporting or analysis, we learned the sketchy details of a number of Nevada projects from the chyron rolling across the bottom of the screen: $100,000 for a boxing club, $80,000 for Reno graffiti abatement project, $50,000 for mentally ill offender housing project, $10,000 to purchase tasers, $12.3 million for Reno/Taho (sic) airport control tower.

Does the boxing club help keep inner city youths off the streets and out of trouble? Does the mentally ill offender housing project keep mentally ill criminals off the streets by giving them a shelter? Is the current Reno airport control tower dangerously out of date? As a public employee of a low-income municipality, I can attest to the fact that what looks like pork to an outsider may well have much civic value. But in what seemed like a deliberate attempt to lead the viewer to leave the viewer with the impression that the projects were just a waste of money, no details were provided about any of them. How fair and balanced is that coverage?

The guest was Reid's fellow senator from Nevada, Republican John Ensign. Much to the dismay of the revved-up-to-attack-Democrats Sean Hannity, he could not get Ensign to criticize Reid. The most Ensign would say is that he thinks spending is out of control and needs to be reined in.

Hannity, visibly frustrated, flapped his hands and asked, in his most earnest voice, "Don't we need every congressman and senator to say, 'Enough, stop hurting the american taxpayer?'" He said the pork is "not fair to hard working men and women."

As the segment closed, Colmes added that Republicans, in control of the House and Senate, are the ones responsible for the deficit and the lack of fiscal restraint.

Which is true as far as it goes but nobody mentioned how much money has been misspent due to profiteering and other malfeasance in which the Congress has failed in its role as overseers. For example, in addition to the unaccounted-for 9 billion dollars in Iraq, there was the Air Force's "error" (according to the GAO) made awarding no-bid contracts worth more than $45 million for translation services related to the elections and drafting the constitution in Iraq. As David Sirota points out, the recent confession by Rep. Duke Cunningham that he took bribes in return for military contracts is only part of a growing problem of defense industry profiteering. These sums make the Nevada pork look like chump change.

And while Hannity and Senator Ensign talk about the need to stop hurting the American taxpayer, the lower-income earners will likely bear the brunt of the budget cuts.

That was another financial figure not discussed. It seems pretty clear that "fair and balanced" FOX News thinks only some money is worth following.

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