Friday, May 2, 2008
Hannity Removing Even the Pretense of Balance?
I'm a great fan of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, as my faithful reader (ha!) knows. But after that program, I generally toddle off to my computer to try to get some posts up. Doing that is a lot easier with a little background noise, so I'll flip on the TV in my office, usually first landing on MSNBC.
Not long ago, the program on in that slot was Scarborough Country, with former Republican Congressman, Joe Scarborough. Toward the end of the run of that program, Joe--previously rabidly right-wing--was becoming disenchanted with the Bush Administration, and was becoming much more reasonable, and watchable. Then he left to take over the Don Imus slot in the morning. . .something about naps or something. So Joe was replaced with Live with Dan Abrams, a talking head show with little structure or format. But it too was watchable, as long as super-silly celebrity "news" wasn't in the headlines.
Recently, that program was revamped with the same host, but now called The Verdict, with splashy Lichtenstein-type graphics. It's garish, and I'm not overly fond. Anyway, all this time, the other alternative, on FOX "News" has been Hannity & Colmes. It pits a bullyboy right-winger against a milquetoast moderate and calls that "fair and balanced." It's virtually the only thing that is pointed to to defend that slogan.
Lately, I've noticed that Sean Hannity--who usually has his time with guests divided nearly evenly with Colmes--has been forcing his way into his co-host's time and space on the show. He's been belligerently stepping all over Colmes' toes. Colmes, to his credit, has been fighting back quite a bit. The other thing Sean Hannity does to hog the spotlight is to do one-on-one interviews with figures George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Fred Thompson and John McCain. Colmes occasionally gets interviews like this, but with much less frequency.
So tonight, I flipped over to FOX for noise (they're very good at that), and was surprised to see Hannity's America, a show typically seen on the (very, very bad) FOX weekend "news" lineup. It wasn't referred to as a "special time" or "special episode," it's just there in place of Hannity & Colmes.
In his first segment, Hannity interviewed Karl Rove--which ought to be a sign of the Apocolypse--without ever identifying him as a McCain advocate. He did refer to Rove as "the Architect," but omitted what Rove built. Hmmm, I wonder why? Also, more than a half hour in, the entire program has been devoted to anti-Democrat election stories, chiefly about Barack Obama's former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. And it looks like (in the "just ahead" bumper) that it is all he'll be talking about in the second half. Wow. Groundbreaking.