Alan Colmes, co-host of ‘Hannity & Colmes’ and liberal in ‘lion’s den’ of Fox News, dies at 66
Alan Colmes, a top-rated tv and radio broadcaster who, as co-host with conservative Sean Hannity of “Hannity & Colmes,” grew to become finest generally known as the liberal within the “lion’s den” of Fox Information, died at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 66.
His spouse, Jocelyn Elise Crowley, stated that he died late Feb. 22 or early Feb. 23 and that the trigger was lymphoma.
Mr. Colmes joined the Fox Information Channel on its founding in 1996, debuting with Hannity the night the channel first went on air. “Hannity & Colmes” grew to become the channel’s longest-running prime-time program — second solely within the cable rankings to Fox Information host Invoice O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Issue” and outranking CNN’s “Larry King Reside” — earlier than Mr. Colmes left the present in 2008.
Dealing with off towards Mr. Colmes, Hannity projected a method that invited comparisons to that of a bulldog. In contrast, Mr. Colmes, a onetime stand-up comic, was extra peaceful — though no much less satisfied of his argument.
On his departure from “Hannity & Colmes,” he quipped that he was “proud that each Sean and I remained unhurt after sitting aspect by aspect, night time after night time for thus a few years.”
Reflecting on the odd couple they made, Robert Thompson, a Syracuse College scholar of tv and common tradition, mused that “we’ve had good pairings of people that usually don’t agree with one another — Siskel and Ebert come to thoughts. It at all times relied on bringing steadiness to that chemical equation.
“ ‘Hannity & Colmes’ was not a type of balances,” Thompson continued, recalling Hannity’s behavior of frothing within the talk-radio custom whereas Mr. Colmes tried to proffer calmer arguments.
The Fox Information viewership “loved the mismatch,” Thompson stated — the nightly tossing of Mr. Colmes “to the wolves.”
Mr. Colmes, a self-described liberal patriot, argued that he was at an inherent drawback on tv, a venue that always favors oratorical aggression. Those that stored depend famous that he usually spoke fewer phrases per installment than Hannity.
“I don’t choose my effectiveness by what number of phrases I say,” Mr. Colmes told The Washington Submit in 2003. “I believe liberals usually see nuances in issues. . . . Conservatives are inclined to see issues in black and white. It provides them an air of certainty and conviction which may make them extra snug to look at.”
Mr. Colmes gamely endured withering criticism from the left, which noticed him because the Fox Information token liberal. Some critics perceived betrayal in his presence on the channel, based by Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch, to counterbalance what many conservatives view as left-wing bias in different information retailers.
Mr. Colmes’s loudest detractors included Al Franken, the comic turned Democratic U.S. senator from Minnesota, who skewered Mr. Colmes in his guide “Lies and the Mendacity Liars Who Inform Them: A Honest and Balanced Have a look at the Proper” (2003). Franken derided Mr. Colmes as Hannity’s “liberal on-air punching bag” and “the lone Washington Common,” a reference to the perennial losers to the Harlem Globetrotters.
“Some liberals have an issue with me just because I work at Fox and nothing I do in need of storming off the set in a rage will get them to respect that I work there,” he told Steve Younger, an interviewer for the Huffington Submit.
“I really feel fairly fortunate to have the platforms I’ve on each tv and radio,” Mr. Colmes continued. “Even when all the things its detractors say about Fox had been true, probably the most liberal of liberal attitudes can be that one would get credit score for being within the lion’s den.”
After Mr. Colmes left “Hannity & Colmes,” Hannity continued internet hosting the present as a solo anchor. Mr. Colmes remained on air as host of “The Alan Colmes Present,” his radio program syndicated by Fox Information, and as a Fox Information commentator.
On the radio, the New York Occasions as soon as noted, Mr. Colmes serenaded the listeners who wished him ailing — and there was no scarcity of them, he readily acknowledged — with recordings of tunes corresponding to “Put a Little Love in Your Coronary heart” and“I Can’t Make You Love Me.”
Alan Samuel Colmes, a grandson of Jewish immigrants from Jap Europe, was born in Brooklyn on Sept. 24, 1950. His father, an auctioneer, ran jewellery shops along with his mom. Mr. Colmes grew up in Lynbrook, N.Y., a Lengthy Island neighborhood about 5 miles from the house city of Hannity, who was 11 years his junior.
Mr. Colmes was a 1971 speech graduate of Hofstra College on Lengthy Island, the place he started his radio profession in highschool as a DJ. He ventured into skilled speak radio, broadcasting from Lengthy Island, Boston and WNBC in New York, in addition to taking occasional TV internet hosting gigs.
Hannity joined Fox at its inception and was slated to host a present akin to CNN’s “Crossfire.” Privately, this system was dubbed “Hannity & LTBD” — “Liberal to Be Decided.”
“Roger Ailes stated to me, ‘You already know any good liberals?’ ” Hannity told the Occasions. “So we began auditioning some.”
The “liberal to be decided” turned out to be Mr. Colmes, whom Hannity had debated on different tv programming.
Mr. Colmes’s books included “Red, White and Liberal: How Left Is Right & Right Is Wrong” (2003) and “Thank the Liberals* *For Saving America (And Why You Should)” (2012).
Moreover his spouse of 13 years, who resides in New York Metropolis, his survivors embrace a sister.
Mr. Colmes confessed that, in contrast to Hannity, who sincerely hoped to steer audiences of the rightness of his view, he noticed limits within the energy of their parrying.
“I don’t delude myself into pondering I’ll carry anybody round to my mind-set, particularly Sean Hannity,” Mr. Colmes informed the Newark Star-Ledger in 2003. “The purpose of a present like that is to supply debate factors, fodder and an entertaining alternate.”
He remarked that he loved “having the opposite aspect round, if solely to show how proper liberals are.”
“We’ll hold a few you libs round,” Hannity retorted in the identical interview. “You’re enjoyable.”
Adam Bernstein contributed to this report.