Colmes in July 2009
|Born||Alan Samuel Colmes
September 24, 1950
New York City
|Occupation||Television and radio host, political commentator, writer, blogger|
|Employer||Fox News Channel|
|Spouse(s)||Jocelyn Elise Crowley|
Alan Samuel Colmes (born September 24, 1950) is an American radio and television host, liberal political commentator for the Fox News Channel, and blogger. He is the host of The Alan Colmes Show, a nationally syndicated talk-radio show distributed by Fox News Radio that also airs throughout the United States on Fox News Talk on Sirius and XM. From 1996 to 2009, Colmes served as the co-host of Hannity & Colmes, a nightly political debate show on Fox News Channel.
In addition to broadcasting, Colmes runs the Liberaland blog and contributes to AOL News. He is the author of Red, White & Liberal: How Left Is Right and Right Is Wrong (2003) and Thank the Liberals For Saving America (2012).
Early life and education
Colmes was born in New York City. He attended local public schools and went to Hofstra University, where he graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from its School of Communications. While at Hofstra, he worked at its radio station WRHU.
Colmes began his career in stand-up comedy. He developed his radio career in the Northeast, eventually working at stations such as WABC, WNBC, WHN, WMCA and WEVD in New York, WNHC in New Haven, and WEZE and WZLX in Boston.
His radio career took off when WABC hired him for the morning drive time slot. He was billed as "W. Alan B. Colmes", as in the station's call sign. He moved to WNBC in 1987, but his tenure there would be short when NBC announced in 1988 it would close its radio division. When WNBC went off the air for the last time on October 7, 1988, Colmes' was the last voice heard. He has been syndicated nationally, starting with his involvement with Daynet, a venture created by Colmes and other regional radio hosts. Daynet was sold to Major Networks, Inc. in 1994. Colmes kept his own show, which is distributed by Fox News Radio. He was hired by Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in 1996. He was the co-host of Hannity and Colmes, beginning with the Fox News Channel launch on October 6, 1996, and ending on January 9, 2009. He also appeared live on Shovio.com's new broadcasting technology, TalkBackTV.
Colmes's debut non-fiction book, Red, White & Liberal: How Left is Right and Right is Wrong (ISBN 0-06-056297-8), was published in October 2003. It tackles issues such as civil rights, the war on terror, and the perceived liberal media bias. Interspersed throughout are actual emails from Hannity & Colmes viewers, reprinted verbatim.
He left Hannity and Colmes at the end of 2008. Fox replaced it with Hannity, premiering in January 2009. Colmes has continued as a commentator on Fox News, most often on The O'Reilly Factor where he frequently appears with his conservative sister-in-law, Monica Crowley. He is an infrequent guest-panelist on Fox News' late-night satire program Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld.
Criticism and satire
While Colmes describes himself as a liberal and his Fox News biography touts him as "a hard-hitting liberal," he has sometimes been referred to disparagingly as a "token liberal" or a "Fox News liberal" by liberal sources. Colmes told USA Today that he considers himself "quite moderate." In an article he wrote in 2013, Colmes described himself as "very liberal".
During his run on Hannity and Colmes, Colmes was criticized for being less charismatic and telegenic than Sean Hannity, and just a "seat-filler" for the liberal side. Some newspapers reported him as being Hannity's "sidekick". Democratic Senator Al Franken criticized Colmes in his book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, saying he refused to ask tough questions during debates and neglected to challenge erroneous claims made by Hannity or his guests. Franken claimed that Colmes did not speak as much as Hannity during the show. Some liberal critics questioned whether or not both hosts receive equal time to interview guests. Some of Colmes's liberal critics, notably commentators at Media Matters for America, praised him toward the end of the show's run. He began to cite their reports in interviews with some conservative guests on the program.
Bob Garfield, interviewing Colmes for On the Media in 2003, asked him if he was "the human straw man" and a "foil" rather than an equal of Hannity. Colmes replied that if the conservative members of the audience saw him that way, that was "their problem," and said "It's more fun for me to be in a situation like this than to preach to the choir."
The Colbert Report
On January 5, 2009, the beginning of his last week on Hannity and Colmes, Colmes was a guest on The Colbert Report in a spoof called "Colbert & Colmes", which parodied criticisms of H&C. In addition to being given a list of pre-approved responses to Stephen Colbert's opinions and forced to sit on a stool (making him appear shorter than his co-host), Colmes's face was covered by the on-air graphics while Colbert discussed issues of the day. Colbert "fired" Colmes by the end of the show for pointing out fallacies in his logic.
Following Colmes' announcement that he was leaving H&C, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart also paid tribute to him with a guest appearance by legendary rock duo Hall & Oates, who in a parody version of their hit "She's Gone", dubbed him "Tango to his (Hannity's) Cash" and "Laurel to his Hardy."
Remarks on "Dead Baby"
In January 2012 on Fox News, Colmes was discussing Rick Santorum's 2012 presidential campaign when he brought up the death of the fetus of Rick's wife Karen, which died two hours after its premature birth in 1996. They brought the body home and let their children cuddle it. Colmes said people would bail on supporting Santorum once they, "get a load of some of the crazy things he’s said and done, like taking his two-hour-old baby when it died right after childbirth home and played with it so that his other children would know that the child was real." National Review editor Rich Lowry, who was on the show with Colmes, immediately went after Colmes for the remark, calling it a "cheap shot". Colmes was criticized by some commentators who viewed his remark as insensitive, and he apologized to Rick and Karen the next day, which he said they "graciously accepted".
Colmes is married to Dr. Jocelyn Elise Crowley, a professor of public policy at Rutgers University, whose sister is Monica Crowley, the conservative radio commentator, pundit and television personality.
- "Alan Colmes". HCLAS: Faces of Success. Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- "Alumni". WRHU. Hofstra University. Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
- Fischler, Marcelle S. (June 12, 2005). "Long Island Journal; The 'Career Architect' for Stand-Up Comics". The New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
- Davis, Richard; Diana Owen (1998). New media and American politics. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. pp. 60. ISBN 0-19-512060-4.
- ALAN'S ADIOS The Radio Equalizer. Retrieved on November 24, 2008.
- An Aggressive Conservative vs. a Liberal to be Determined By Steve Rendall
- Robin, DeRosa (1995-02-01). "Tuning in to high-wattage talk show hosts". USA Today (Gannett Company, Inc.). p. LIFE; Pg. 7D. Alan Colmes. "I think I'm quite moderate ... I follow Limbaugh on about 100 stations and I precede other conservatives, so I may be the only person giving a different point of view. Alan has long been a devout fan of the guitarist Eric Clapton."
- Cohen, Jeff. Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media. 2006, pp. 54-5
- An Aggressive Conservative vs. a "Liberal to be Determined" by Steve Rendall, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, November/December 2003
- "Colmes noted missed opportunities to eliminate Zarqawi prior to war that went unreported by media after the terrorist's death", Media Matters for America
- "Colmes confronted Williams with inconsistent statements on No Child Left Behind", Media Matters for America
- No Liberal Limbaughs-onthemedia.org
- Huffington Post: Colbert & Colmes: Alan Colmes Joins Colbert Report For One Night
- Huffington Post: Daily Show, Hall And Oates Pay Tribute To Alan Colmes
- Michael Sokolove (May 22, 2005). "The Believer". The New York Times Magazine.
- "Alan Colmes, Fox News Contributor, Criticizes Rick Santorum For 'Crazy' Behavior, Then Apologizes". Huffington Post. January 3, 2012.
- Fox commentator apologizes for 'hurtful' remark on death of Santorum's son