This post goes straight into the "Just When You Didn't Think They Could Sink Any Lower (But They Always Manage)" file. At Slate.com on Thursday, staff writer Isaac Chotiner took the occasion of Alan Colmes's death only hours earlier to criticize him as a "buffoon and patsy," and as "Fox News’ Original Liberal Weakling."


For many years, liberal pundit Alan Colmes often provided the “balanced” part of the Fox News Channel motto of being “Fair and Balanced.” That came to abrupt end when the 66-year-old former stand-up comedian, radio host and co-host of the Hannity & Colmes weeknight news and interview program passed away after a brief illness on Thursday.


Liberal Alan Colmes, apparently miffed at people who have criticized President Barack Obama for not attending the funeral of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, asserted earlier today that GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz would not be there.

Colmes got it wrong. Cruz was there, and it was known for quite some time that he would be there. Colmes, since the words "I'm sorry" are apparently not in his vocabulary, pretended that he hadn't been caught making something up.


If there was a contest each week for the dumbest comment made by a member of the media, this would likely be last week's prohibitive favorite.

On the syndicated Chris Matthews Show this weekend, during a discussion about Barack Obama's America-hating Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page actually said with a straight face, "Right-wing wouldn't have that story if it wasn't for the mainstream media" (video follows with transcript and commentary):


Former Fox News contributor Jane Hall said Sunday that one of the reasons she left the cable network was because she was uncomfortable with host Glenn Beck who she believes "should be called out as somebody whose language is way over the top and scary."

Fox watchers know Hall as one of the regular liberal panelists on Saturday's "Fox News Watch" as well a frequent guest on "The O'Reilly Factor" where she was typically paired opposite former CBSer Bernard Goldberg.

On Sunday's "Reliable Sources," with the discussion centering on the White House's battle with Fox, Hall disclosed the decision behind her departure (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section at 8:20):


As FNC's Sean Hannity devoted his show Hannity on Thursday evening to the plight of California farmers who are suffering unemployment because the federal government is withholding water from their crops in favor of saving endangered fish, Hannity began the show, specially titled "The Valley That Hope Forgot," by interviewing comedian and former Democrat Paul Rodriguez, chairman of the California Latino Water Coalition. Rodriguez, who last year supported Barack Obama but famously turned GOP after Democrats refused to help him and other farmers obtain water for their crops, made a plea for help to President Obama on Hannity's show:

Mr. President, with all due respect, we pray that you will read our letter and look at our dilemma. We don't want you to give us a loan. We didn't do anything wrong. We did everything right. We grew more food than anybody else with less water. And for that, our reward was you cut the water off. Come on, what's up?


On Thursday's Hannity show, Sean Hannity hosted a special edition of his program -- titled "The Valley That Hope Forgot" -- in Huron, California, where drought-stricken farmers are suffering because the federal government continues to withhold water to save endangered fish, leaving tens of thousands of farm workers standing in line for hours at food banks. As the show aired amidst a rally of farm workers, correspondent Ainsley Earhardt informed viewers that conditions have worsened since she last reported from the area in April.

Then, actor Alan Autry, a former Republican mayor of Fresno who is also famous for starring in the television series In the Heat of the Night, slammed President Obama for refusing to intervene. As he recounted post-9/11 fears that al-Qaeda would target the water supply to hurt American agriculture, Autry observed that the conditions created by the federal government by intentionally withholding water are similar to what he would have expected in the aftermath of a terror attack. Autry:

One of the things we were charged with by the federal government was to work together locally to protect the water supply to farming communities so they could continue to provide food for the nation. Now, if you would have told me that those – that water would have stopped, I would have believed maybe al-Qaeda struck, not the federal government.


On Monday’s Hannity show on FNC, actor Jon Voight accused the press of "protecting" and "covering for" President Obama by not giving enough coverage to dissatisfaction with the President’s economic policies, including the anti-tax TEA party protests:

But the press, the press brought him in, and now they want to make sure that nobody topples the throne, it seems. So they don't report anything that will interfere with his policies. But when the news is biased, it can, you know, it can control the people in a dangerous way. We see what's going on in Venezuela, and we're shocked. We're shocked to see Hugo Chavez closing down the, the opposition media. We're shocked when we see what's happening to the truth in Iran. But this same thing is happening in our country right now. The Obama regime is controlling the press. They protect him, they cover for him, and they don't want the truth to come out that there is this dissatisfaction, that people are waking up, and it's being expressed in these TEA parties.

He also charged that Obama had been dishonest in promising to protect Israel, and that the President had a "cunning ability" to push his policies through Congress without proper debate:


On Wednesday, several FNC shows recounted the latest developments in the case of President Obama's suspicious, and possibly illegal, firing of former inspector general Gerald Walpin, after an investigation headed by Walpin found Obama friend and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson guilty of misusing over $800,000 in funding intended for the AmeriCorps program. Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity pointed to apparent inconsistencies in the story so far.

Beck, who had previously interviewed Walpin on Monday, interviewed him again on Wednesday, and informed viewers of a claim by the White House that Walpin had shown up at a meeting "disoriented," leading the President to dismiss him. Walpin charged that the administration was engaging in "an amazing slinging of mud" against him, and later added:


On Tuesday's Hannity show on FNC, while interviewing author Brigitte Gabriel, host Sean Hannity suggested that, rather than make apologies for America in the Muslim world, that President Obama should point out that Muslims have benefited from America's assistance in various countries, and Gabriel pointed out that the United States sided with Muslims against Christians in the former Yugoslavia.

Hannity posed the question: "Shouldn't the President be highlighting, for example, the sacrifice of America to help save some Kuwaiti Muslims and in Somalia and in Afghanistan and in Iraq and in other parts of the world?"

Gabriel added:


On Memorial Day, 2002, FNC's Hannity and Colmes held an interview with U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Troy Dunlap, who was held in Iraq as a POW during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and his attorney, Steve Fennell, to discuss a lawsuit against the Iraqi government because of torture Dunlap and other POWs endured. During the current debate over how high-level Al-Qaeda prisoners should be treated, and the practical impact harsh interrogations may have on the treatment of American POWs in future wars, it is noteworthy that this kind of review of the violent treatment American POWs have a history of receiving, even before the debate over waterboarding terrorists even began, has been so absent in the media.

Fennell summed up the treatment POWs endured in 1991 in Iraq, despite the fact that the country was a signatory of the Geneva Convention:
We have 17 POWs, the injuries range from broken legs, fractured skulls, beatings that were so bad that the body looked like it had been dipped in indigo dye. Techniques that were used where things such as beatings to the point where most of the beatings stopped only when the POW reached unconsciousness, use of electric shock, cattle prods, drug injections.
On April 5, 2002, the Washington Post article, "Hussein Sued by Ex-POWs; U.S. Gulf War Veterans Say They Were Beaten, Tortured," by Peter Slevin, reported:

In his Wednesday night “Media Mash” segment, FNC's Sean Hannity picked up on a Tuesday night NewsBusters post, “Third CNN Staffer Joins Obama's Team, As Does ABC Vet; Revolving Door Up to Ten,” about the latest journalists to spin through the revolving door to work in the Obama administration. Hannity informed his viewers of how the press corps are “losing three more of their own to the Obama administration. Now, at the outset of the President's term, several of the so-called objective journalists left their jobs to join the administration. Now NewsBusters.org points out that a few more are following suit.” Hannity named some names:
Senior CNN politics producer Sasha Johnson -- by the way, that makes her the third CNN staffer to join the President's team. Chicago Tribune reporter Jill Zuckman and veteran ABC News reporter Beverley Lumpkin. Now that brings the total number of so-called mainstream media journalists who have rushed to join the Obama administration to ten.