Why?

Joshua asks, reasonably enough:

I read the transcript of Hannity and Colmes that was referred to on your blog. I don’t understand why you go on those Fox News shows, Ted. To me, it is similar to trying to have a scientific argument with creationists; it simply legitimizes them and gives them a forum to spout their lies. Sean Hannity and his ilk are masters of spin, logical fallacy and lies. It doesn’t matter that you’re smarter than them; they’re masters of their medium.
And Colmes; what a sniveling worm. Is he afraid Sean is going to hit him or something?

Re: Colmes – I feel sorry for him, having to work next to that psychotic mook Hannity every day. Hannity never turns it off. He’s REALLY like that, even off the air–trash-talking, insulting, downright rude. Unsurprisingly, staff turnover for H&C is high; you hardly ever see the same person working there twice. Bill O’Reilly, on the other hand, is decent when the cameras are off. It’s not like all right-wingers are like Hannity, thank God.

So why bother? It’s a question I’ve often asked myself. Mainly because, now that I’ve lost my outlet as a talk radio host, it’s the only way to convey my ideas in the broadcast medium. I also think it’s important for thinking Americans to show the neofascists that they’re fast on their feet and aren’t afraid of them. On the other hand, as Joshua says, it’s their show and they control it.

Few viewers are aware, for instance, that “The O’Reilly Factor” is taped a few hours in advance. Liberal zingers tend to get “lost” during the editing process. Fox’s guest chairs are lower, smaller and less comfortable than the host–and you don’t get a table to lean on (something that media trainers will tell you is a must for a TV appearance). “Hannity” is live but the guest’s mike is turned on while Sean runs off his mouth about nothing of importance.

There are other sins: Hannity’s show likes to book you to discuss a topic only to have the subject change to an unrelated ad hominem attack once you’re there.

Unsurprisingly a lot of first-rate liberal personalities, resentful of sandbagging tactics, have stopped appearing on Fox. I don’t blame them. But until Air America or Clear Channel calls to offer me the kind of access to America’s eyes and ears offered by those shows, I’m not quite ready to follow suit.

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