Alan Colmes (born September 24, 1950, died February 23, 2017) was an American television and radio talk show host who is best known as a co-anchor with Sean Hannity of Fox News Channel's political debate program Hannity & Colmes. Colmes also hosted the nationally syndicated radio program The Alan Colmes Show for Fox News Radio.
Early life and education
Colmes was a graduate of Hofstra University. He was married to Dr. Jocelyn Crowley, an associate professor in the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, where she is also affiliated with the Department of Women’s Studies. She is the sister of Monica Crowley, who was an occasional replacement host as Colmes' conservative foil on Hannity and Colmes.
Colmes began his career in stand-up comedy. He developed his radio career in the Northeast, eventually working at stations like WABC, WNBC and WEVD in New York and WZLX in Boston.
He was 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 was distributed by Fox News Radio. His radio career took off when WABC hired him for the morning drive time slot, billed as "W. Alan B. Colmes", as in the station's call sign. When WNBC let its staff go 1988, Colmes was the final radio personality to sign off, doing so with the words: "I'm Alan Colmes. Thank you, God bless you, and for the last time, this is 66 WNBC." He was well-known in New York City when he was hired by Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in 1996. For more than 11 years he was the co-host of Hannity and Colmes, beginning with the Fox News Channel launch on October 6, 1996.
Colmes wrote one book, Red, White & Liberal: How Left is Right and Right is Wrong (ISBN 0-06-056297-8) which was published in October 2003. Colmes says that, despite their philosophical and ideological differences, his relationship with Hannity is a warm one, and that the reason for the success of Hannity & Colmes is "because of our differences, not in spite of them."
Criticisms and ideology
Colmes described himself as a liberal, reinforced by his Fox News biography which describes him as "a hard-hitting liberal". Few prominent commentators on the left agree with this view, however, arguing that he was, in fact, a moderate. Alan Colmes has been criticized for not being as aggressive as Hannity on their television show. Al Franken, a personal friend, had been one of Colmes' most vocal critics; nevertheless, he printed Colmes' name in smaller font than the other text in his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.
Colmes was sometimes referred to disparagingly as a "Democrat In Name Only" or a "Fox News liberal". Bob Garfield, interviewing Colmes for On the Media, asked him if he were "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 [where much of the audience disagrees with him] than to preach to the choir!"
On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart referred to the show as Hannity and Whatever. However, Colmes had also drawn praise from progressive political bloggers for his questioning of conservative guests.
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