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Meet the Man Behind the Controversial Film, 'Stolen Honor'

This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Oct. 12, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: As we continue on HANNITY AND COLMES, I’m Sean Hannity in Phoenix tonight.

And earlier today, the Democratic National Committee, they filed a formal complaint against media giant Sinclair Broadcasting (search). Now, the company plans to preempt its primetime television programming about two weeks before the presidential election to air "Stolen Honor." It’s a film that some say might be critical of John Kerry’s anti-war activism after Vietnam and its effect on American prisoners of war.

So what’s wrong with giving the American people information before a critical election? Joining us now is the producer of the film, Carlton Sherwood.

Now, by the way, you invited balance. You invited John Kerry to be a part of this documentary and give him equal time on this piece. Is that correct?

CARLTON SHERWOOD, PRODUCER OF "STOLEN HONOR": Well, that’s — Sinclair has done that, Sean. And my understanding is that he has turned that down.

HANNITY: Yes. But in other words, what liberals — free-speech liberals are saying here, that if you want to report news, you ought to put together a documentary that gives the side of the story about John Kerry that they don’t like, then they’re goal is to use the government to try and silence you and shut you down. Isn’t that what is happening here?

SHERWOOD: Well, there’s no question about it. And the censorship issue is a nice academic one to discuss. But we’re talking about men who are distinguished veterans, highly decorated, who endured years of torment, torture, starvation. And they attribute, at least some of that, if not all of that, to what John Kerry did in 1971. And they’re being silenced once again. After 31 years, there’s an attempt to censor them one more time.

HANNITY: You know, you guys, there must be something in this film, when Terry McAuliffe and Chad Clanton are going out there and publicly attacking you guys for this.

But you know something, I guess, based on what they’re saying here, is that in the year 2000, when they reported old news, that George Bush could have had a DUI, then we should have complained, the Republicans should have gone to the FCC (search) and said, "Pull the licenses of the Fox News Channel that broke the story. Pull the licenses of every other broadcast that repeated the story, because we’re not allowed to report news if the Bush campaign doesn’t like it."

In this case, you’re not allowed to report news before an election if the Kerry campaign doesn’t like it, because they don’t want you to have free speech.

SHERWOOD: And you’re absolutely right. This does hit a sensitive cord with them. But the issue is far more important than a DUI. We’re talking about a behavior, a character flaw, that emerged in 1971. And the results of that, the direct consequences of that — and the straight line that can be drawn from 1971 to today, with men in harm’s way, men and women in harm’s way in Iraq today.

HANNITY: Let me ask this then. Is Sinclair going to cave to the pressure?

SHERWOOD: I don’t work for Sinclair. I would doubt that very seriously. In fact, I think the pressure has stiffened their resolve. They’re accustomed to this, from everything that I’ve read.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey, Carl, this is Alan Colmes.

My problem is less with you than with Sinclair. They’re a publicly licensed television group of stations. They have given at least $136,000 to Bush and other conservatives. They have the public trust. You have an FCC commissioner who basically says, Michael J. Copps, who calls this broadcast an abuse of the public trust, and proof positive of media consolidation running amok, when one owner can use the public airwaves to blanket the country with a political ideology.

This is a politically ideological point of view that you have. You’re welcome to do a film and do it, but no one is censoring you. You’re on this show. You’re going to be on Sinclair. How are you crying censorship here?

SHERWOOD: I’m not crying censorship for me. I’m stating as a fact that these POWs and their experiences and what they — the direct consequences to them that were brought about is what, from what Senator Kerry did in’71, has never been discussed. It won’t be discussed.

Alan, you know yourself, political pundits have known about this for months. They’ve talked about it. But no one’s ever done the reporting on it.

COLMES: It’s been discussed. The Swift Boat Vets have done it, and by the way, why is that at least two of the 17 former POWs listed on your film’s Web site have ties to the swift boat vets? What is the relationship between you and the swift boat vets who have put out their own ads anti- Kerry and trying to get Bush reelected?

SHERWOOD: I’ll tell you what the ties are. We’re all Vietnam combat vets and we were all slandered and vilified by John Kerry, branded as baby killers. That’s the tie.

COLMES: Well, It’s more than that. Two of them, Kenneth Cordier and Paul Galanti were both appointed by the Bush administration to serve in the Department of Veterans Affairs. So they have ties to the Bush administration. One of them had to resign when this all came out.

So there are direct ties between the Bush administration and two of these swift boat vets, two of whom you have on your Web site.

SHERWOOD: These men, you think they haven’t earned the right to work for whomever they want?

COLMES: Of course not. I’m just saying there are ties to the Bush administration and the Bush campaign, having been appointees to the Department of Veterans Affairs. So there’s not that separation.

SHERWOOD: This is so much dust and smoke. Why don’t you listen to the issue, Alan?

COLMES: What did I say that is not true?

SHERWOOD: What are you afraid of, listening to the issue?

COLMES: What did I say that is not true?

SHERWOOD: It’s so much smoke and dust. So much smoke and dust. Mr. Cordier resigned before.

COLMES: Yes, he had to resign, because there was a conflict of interest.

HANNITY: Liberals don’t want free speech in America. This is what’s at stake here. They don’t believe in it, otherwise they would allow you to run this without complaining and whining and running to a Democrat, Michael Copps, at the FCC.

Coming up next, Alan is going to fill us in on a little project that he’s been involved in, straight ahead.

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