Well, I thought I said that my one example was just that .. one example. :)
There is no doubt where O'Reilly stands on most issues; for a confirmation of this, all you have to do is see who his guest hosts are when he's on vacation. I have seen Alan Keyes, Michael Reagan, and Bob Dornan .. not exactly the most balanced lineup I've ever seen. I'm not suggesting that O'Reilly is obligated to let a liberal guest host his program, but the least he could do is find some more moderate hosts .. the afore-mentioned three gentlemen are so far to the right that they're just inches from falling off the proverbial turnip truck. O'Reilly is a bit of an enigma, though, inasmuch as he has come out in support of nationalized health care and handgun registration .. two stances that earned him a slew of hate mail from enraged Fox viewers. He also opposes the death penalty, a position that earned him a similar response.
I find O'Reilly's interviewing style to be off-putting, however. You're right that he often gives his guests the last word, but it is more common to see him put words into his guest's mouth and then move on to another issue without giving them a chance to respond. For example: "Yeah, but Counselor, most of the American people believe (blah blah blah), so when you say (yadda yadda yadda) you part company with them. Okay. Now, let's talk about .." O'Reilly often does this, and in many cases, "yadda yadda yadda" does not necessarily reflect what the guest actually believes or has said. And because the topic of conversion has been forcibly changed, the guest has little or no chance to defend him or herself.
As far as Hannity and Colmes is concerned, I have to say that I think Colmes is a pretty weak debater. Hannity, though I disagree with virtually everything he says, is strong, articulate, and forceful. Colmes is not; he seems to be tentative and has problems expressing himself. So right off the bat, you've got a mismatch. Similar programs, such as CNN's "Crossfire", are more even-handed (liberal Bill Press and conservative Robert Novak are on pretty much equal ground when it comes to debate prowess.)
Getting back to Hannity and Colmes, another complaint I have about the program is that the show's producers often recruit "liberal guests" that seem to be purposely outlandish. For example, on a show about race relations, the guest that Colmes was "paired with" was a militant black radical whose agenda included "getting rid of the white man." Colmes actually came out and complained on the air: "I guess I'm supposed to be on your side? Let me be clear that I don't agree with your viewpoints." (Paraphrasing.) Another "liberal guest" that has been on the program is American Atheists spokesman Ron Barrier. Now, I'm an atheist, but I feel that Barrier is a positively dreadful spokesperson. He is belligerent, self-righteous, intolerant, and downright rude to Christians or people of other faiths. It seems to me that the Fox producers go out of their way to put "liberals" on the show that are so out to lunch that they end up portraying anything non-conservative as completely ridiculous.
In the end, I don't think anybody can reasonably claim that Fox News Channel doesn't have a distinct bias to the right. Aside from the examples that I've already mentioned, they run hour-long specials on the evils of the federal government, dedicate entire program segments to fringe Creationist theories, and have a guest on their morning program that routinely refers to Bill Clinton as "The Rapist." That may or may not be true, but it's not the sort of accusation that's bandied about by an objective news organization. They gave Matt Drudge a TV program, for crying out loud.
But like I said, freedom of the press is freedom of the press. There's nothing wrong with running a news organization like FNC, so long as you're honest about your intentions. They do try, from time to time, to at least give the appearance of being balanced, but more often than not it's just for show. I would only reiterate my opinion that it is dishonest to refer to the network as "fair and balanced."
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
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