HANNITY & COLMES, The Ying and Yang of The American Political Scene (and an Hour-a-Day Well-Spent !)
The launching of an All- News Cable Channel, designed to operate 24-7 calls for plenty of current opinion/interview programing to go along with the hourly or half-hourly News Report. Confusing? Let us try to reason together and examine this issue closer. When is it "News Reporting" and when do we have "News & Commentery"? In order to examine these questions, Let Us Now First Return To Those Eearly Days Of Yesteryear, When..........
Yeah, the year was 1964. Little 18 year old punk Jack Ryan had just been released from High School. It was St. Rita High School here on Chicago's Southside that certified this kid with a real Diploma. What to do next? Never having given any thought to future plans and never or higher education. So, naturally, it was to the City College of Chicago, Woodrow Wilson Branch, that I matriculated. So now, education with members of the opposite sex! And there was no rules making attendance compulsory.
It was at this time that a true education was coming my way. We had always been told that this is America and we have a God Given Right to Speak, Write, Believe, Vote and Worship in whatever way we choose, as long as we do no harm to our neighbor in the process. Well, I forgot that this was heavily Democratic Chicago, Cook County. The "Liberals" were out in force, pledging to 'help the down-trodden' minorities and bring them freedom and equality. (Notice the patronizing, elitist down talking? It's the tone they used and feel today, even.) Well, one October day that Election Year, we had some substitute for our instructor in English 101. Our regular guy, Mr. "M" was out, so this Lady Teacher brought in some kind of half-fast mimeographed "quiz" paper for us to take as a "study aid." The "Quiz" contained a series of sentences that had some grammatical errors or didn't. The "Student" would select his or hers own proper choice. (Mind you, this BS was being used in a College Level Class!) The thing that reminded me most of our discussion of HANNITY & COLMES is one of the asinine sentences. It read just about lika thisa: "The Tribune's Editorials are Biased."(all the quiz sentences were 'relevant to the '64 Presidential Election Campaign.) We were indeed in this "Peoples' Republic of Chicago" and I had been taught that you don't voice opinions contrary to the (Cook County Democrat)Party Line. But this silly, obviously politically charged slur on the Chicago Tribune's traditional Republican endorsements.
But years later it dawned on me, (duh!) ALL EDITORIALS ARE BIASED! By their very natured, they all ready had a certain point of view on whatever subject. This is separate from the News Reporting, which involves the Who, What, How, Where and When of any incident being reported. It's when somebody puts the Why into the story that we have our news "Editorialized", hence slanted, spun or otherwise prostituted for one's political agenda.
FOX NEWS CHANNEL boasts the slogan, "We Report, You Decide." As far as we can tell, they do stick to the spirit and letter of their platitude. They do keep the news separate from the Analysis/Commentery programming. The two are like the News and the Op Ed Page in a daily paper.
HANNITY & COLMES provides a sterling example of a News/Current Events Commentery program can and does work. Sean Hannity is the Resident Conservative & Alan Colmes is the House Liberal. Their time in questioning a guest is meticulously divided between the two. They constantly rib each other and each others candidates. But they remain civil to all.
Time was when our Elected Officials in Government at all levels left the disagreements on the floors of their respective offices or legislative chambers. Outside the Business of the Hallowed Halls, men from both parties, from the Left or the Right, all socialized together. John F. Kennedy and Barry Goldwater were very close personally as well as on the party scene. Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan often did some elbow bending at a certain Alexandria Irish Pub.
With the old line "Big 3" networks News Departments now having shown to be less than honest, the whole nation has turned to what has come to be called "alternate" news sources. With the internet, the "Blogosphere" and outlets like FOX NEWS, with the likes of HANNITY & COLMES, have stepped in to fill the void left vacated by the former all-powerful.
It can all be summed up with the old, oft quoted proverb: "I May Not Agree with what You Say, But I Will Fight to my Death to Defend Your Right To Say It!"
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