Alan Colmes is the co-host of Fox News Channel's Hannity and Colmes, host of his own radio program (heard on 60 stations) and the author of Red, White and Liberal. He recently spoke to CityBeat by phone from New York.
CityBeat: Did Hannity read your book?
Alan Colmes: I think he searched to see where his name was so he could sue. I think he read parts of it. I think he was really fascinated by some of the chapters. He couldn't believe that someone would write chapters called "Bill Clinton: Our Greatest President" or "Jesus Was a Liberal."
CB: Do you feel like an outsider at Fox News?
AC: Oh, no, not at all. They let me in the building. No. The place is not ground zero of the vast right-wing conspiracy, and this idea that I'm the only person there left of Attila the Hun is crazy. Geraldo is here; Greta Van Susteren, too; and Bill O'Reilly, who a lot of people like to hype as some sort of conservative, has lately been talking about how displeased he is with the war in Iraq and Donald Rumsfeld.
It's very iconoclastic.
CB: What do you think of the new Air America (liberal) radio network?
AC: I've listened a couple of times. With the exception of Randi Rhodes, I don't think anyone that works there has ever been in a radio studio before. I'm probably over-qualified, being in the business. But look, it's good to have other voices out there. I don't know if (their) business model is going to work, because they're buying their way onto stations. (Fox News Live With Alan Colmes) doesn't buy our way on to stations; my show is on stations because they want the show.
CB: Is there really a liberal media?
AC: Some people can't say "media" without saying "liberal" before it or "elite" after it. Media is owned by corporations. And with consolidations, they're run by bigger and bigger corporations. I don't find it particularly liberal. I find the media is not pro-liberal or pro-conservative, but pro-media. They do what's in the media's best interest. They go wherever there's a story.
CB: Is it a crime to be a liberal?
AC: I called my book Red White & Liberal. You can't tell me that (conservatives) own the rights to patriotism, family and country. These aren't conservative ideals. They've done a great job of co-opting. Liberals not only stand for those values, but came up with them in the personages of our founding fathers.
CB: Should Ralph Nader drop out of the presidential race?
AC: No. I disagree with most Democrats in that. I think anyone that wants to run should run, and I don't think (Nader) should be intimidated into not running. I would rather see America, at least those on the left, consolidate around one candidate. But I don't think Ralph Nader has any obligation not to follow his views and to do what he feels needs to be done. (He) feels very strongly that there needs to be another voice. This is America. All voices should be heard. To say "you should shut up so that we can rally around our guy" is not the most truly democratic thing to do if you're truly a liberal.
CB: When Hannity goes on everyday about how the Democrats are "politicizing this war on terror," doesn't he realize that's what his guy is running on?
AC: George W. Bush ran ads with images of 9/11. The Republican National Convention this year is in New York City, and they pushed it as close to (the) third anniversary of September 11th as they could. If that's not politicizing it ... a couple of years ago the (Republican National Committee) was selling pictures for $150 a pop of Bush aboard Air Force One as he was flying back after hearing about the atrocities. I'm very happy to get into the debate about which side is politicizing it. ©