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With their pyrotechnics, Fox News stalwarts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity may garner more attention, but Brit Hume's nightly show, Special Report, is a must-watch for political junkies, professional and amateur

With their pyrotechnics, Fox News stalwarts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity may garner more attention, but Brit Hume's nightly show, Special Report, is a must-watch for political junkies, professional and amateur. Other news shows are spliced with short news items, combative banter, and flashy graphics. Hume takes a sober and analytical approach, and still stacks up viewers. In the second quarter of 2004, Special Report ranked #5 for all news programs on cable.

With their pyrotechnics, Fox News stalwarts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity may garner more attention, but Brit Hume's nightly show, Special Report, is a must-watch for political junkies, professional and amateurThe show is roughly equal parts reporting, in-depth analysis, and punditry. "Campaign Carl," aka Carl Cameron, provides dispatches from the trail that are respected by both sides. Hume usually has a lengthy interview with an expert on a big issue of the day. He belongs to that minority of interviewers who think that an interview should be about answers, not canned or loaded questions. Finally, Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standardand Mort Kondracke of Roll Call anchor an end-of-show pundit roundtable that is civil and well informed.

In February, the National Press Foundation unanimously voted Hume their "Broadcaster of the Year." Slate founder Michael Kinsley has said: "The TV news anchor I find myself watching most is Brit Hume of Fox News. He brims with bias, and it's a bias I don't share. But his freedom to be biased is also freedom to be intelligent." As for that "bias," Hume's show stands out against the backdrop of other news programs, but according to a recent study by UCLA and University of Chicago academics, Special Report is closer to the center than network news broadcasts.

Hume covered the White House for ABC before joining Fox. It can make you wistful: If the world were a better place, Brit Hume would be a high-profile news anchor to whom America turned for serious consideration of the day's events. Wait a minute--thanks to Fox News, he is.