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Calvin Freiburger

Hannity’s “Great American Panel” Could Use a Tuneup

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Posted on January 21 2010 4:00 pm
Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College. He also writes for the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.

When Alan Colmes left Sean Hannity to fly solo at Fox News Channel, many conservatives joked about the primetime show dramatically increasing in quality.  But in truth, having a constant liberal foil helped keep the show engaging, and not all the new changes have been for the better.

Case in point: CakePoker.com reports that Leeann Tweeden, host of “Poker After Dark,” was the celebrity guest on last night’s “Great American Panel.”  Having never heard of Ms. Tweeden before, I have no idea what she has to say about politics, and to be fair, her official biography does state she has been a semi-regular on Joe Scarborough and Neil Cavuto’s cable news shows, is an active supporter of America’s armed forces, is studying political science at Santa Monica College, and is both daughter and fiancée to military personnel.

So for all I know, she could be a shrewd pundit (video of the segment was not online as I wrote this).  But the same can’t be said for many of Hannity’s celebrity guests, with perhaps the most glaring example being singer & Playboy cover model Aubrey O’Day (don’t worry; the link only goes to a Mediaite report).  Besides the ratings boost offered by sex appeal (which one would hope a show hosted by a self-described social conservative would be above), I honestly don’t see the appeal of asking random actors, athletes and such (many of whom don’t fall into the “sex appeal” category anyway) to regularly opine about politics.  Is the intention to show familiar faces out of their element?  Get perspectives from non-political junkies?

(“One of these things is not like the other…”)

The gamble may sometimes work, but unique, insightful commentary from what Mediaite’s Steve Krakauer calls “stunt casting” seems to be the exception rather than the rule.  I’m all for finding conservatives in liberal-dominated Hollywood, but does anybody really ask themselves, “Gee, politics sure is complicated; I wonder what Jeannie would do about cap & trade?”

Don’t get me wrong; the “Great American Panel” often has great guests like Jonah Goldberg, Erick Erickson, Andrew Breitbart, and Dennis Prager, and even the celebrities have their moments, but every once in a while, I find myself thinking a grim, terrible thought I never imagined could cross my mind: “I miss Alan!”

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Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College.  He also blogs at the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.

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