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Savvy Guest Gets The Better Of Hannity And Colmes

Reported by Ellen - May 23, 2006 -

Hats off to former Boston College professor Steve Almond who knew what he’d be in for as a guest on Hannity & Colmes (5/22/06), was prepared with responses and even got in a not-so-oblique dig at Bill O’Reilly and FOX News while he was at it.

The discussion was about the Boston College protest over an honorary degree awarded to Condoleezza Rice. FOX News sent a camera crew and, surprisingly, showed some un-sensationalized footage of the protesters acting like normal people and speaking reasonably about why they were protesting Rice’s degree. “(Rice) compromised her own values,” she “misrepresents everything we’ve been taught,” she’s “unrepentant,” etc.

I expected David Horowitz or someone else who would trash academia as the guest. But the sole guest was Steve Almond, who resigned his position as adjunct professor at Boston College when Rice was invited.

Sean Hannity tried to play his gotcha game of trying to make Almond admit he supported Kerry, who also supported the war in Iraq. This is one of Hannity's favorite tactics to "prove" a liberal guest is a hypocrite. “Did politics play any role in your position here?’

But Almond (unlike FAR too many Democrats) wisely side-stepped the ploy. “I think, actually, morality plays a role.”

Hannity, peeved that Almond wasn’t falling for his clever trick, snapped, “I didn’t ask you that.” Hannity spent the rest of his portion of the segment trying to push Almond into saying he voted for Kerry.

Almond told Hannity, “I don’t see what it has to do with Condoleezza Rice and Rice’s lies to the American public… I believe that public officials shouldn’t lie and Condoleezza has lied repeatedly.”

Exasperated that Almond wasn’t allowing himself to be pushed around, Hannity finally read the “gotcha” statement by Kerry saying that Saddam was a threat. Comment: In my view, it just proves just how out of touch Hannity is, because criticisms against Rice go way beyond her backing of the Iraq war.

Alan Colmes said at the beginning of his portion of the interview, “I’m on your side, politically.” That was a signal that Colmes was about to start criticizing the guest, not start talking about what’s wrong with Rice. “I think there might be better ways to protest. Why quit your job? Why not turn your back or speak or hold a protest rally or hold an alternate ceremony to put forth your point of view? Why not do it that way?”

Almond said, “There are plenty of ways to – for me, it was an act of conscience… It would be as if you worked at a TV station, for instance, and you were a strong advocate for women’s rights and one of your colleagues, a powerful colleague, sexually harassed his employees and you didn’t want to stand for that, you didn’t feel the TV station had done enough to punish him. And you might, as a matter of conscience, resign because of that.”

Surprisingly, Colmes remained calm (though he surely got the inference) and amicably said, “I might, or I might use my platform to speak out or I might do things behind the scenes that have nothing to do with what I would do publicly.”

Almond wisely went right back to his larger point. “I don’t think I’m really the issue here. I think Condoleezza Rice and her campaign of deception and this administration’s campaign of deception in an immoral war is the issue. There are no WMD’s… Coming up on 20,000 casualties and the American people are getting sick of it.”

Oops, time up. Hannity broke in to say, “You know what? If that’s the case and I suspect I’m right and you voted for Kerry, you voted for a guy that made the EXACT same case as she did. What would that make you?”

Almond started to answer. “The administration in power is the one that has gotten us into this mess. You’re not gonna blame it on Kerry, you’re not gonna blame it on Clinton.” He was cut off by the producer.

You can watch the video on the Hannity & Colmes website.