Tag Archives: Sean Hannity

Trump, Fox News form frightening alliance

Presidents of the United States have enjoyed cordial relationships with the media over the past 200 years of our republic.

John F. Kennedy was pals with Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. Ronald Reagan and Walter Cronkite were known to be quite friendly. There have been others, too.

Have any of them, though, sought actual policy advice from media pundits the way Donald J. Trump has reportedly done with Fox News Channel anchors and other on-air personalities?

There is a certain strangeness that crosses the line into frightening about the Trump-Fox relationship. It is unseemly, particularly given the “fake news” tag the president plasters on other news organizations, be they print or broadcast.

This peculiar alliance has prompted the Democratic National Committee to ban Fox from hosting any of the planned Democratic primary presidential debates coming up later this year. DNC chairman Tom Perez made it clear: Fox has become entirely too intertwined with the Trump administration to be considered a fair and impartial media organization. So the DNC won’t allow Fox to participate in the party’s series of debates.

When a Fox News talking head, Sean Hannity, takes the microphone at a Trump campaign-style rally, he crosses the line from an ostensible “journalist” to becoming a campaign flack.

There can be little doubt, therefore, about the correctness of the DNC decision to shut Fox News out of the party’s nominating process.

DNC slams door in Fox News’s face

This story gives me a mild case of dyspepsia.

I’ll struggle through it and suggest, though, that the Democratic National Committee is rightfully angry with the Fox News Channel. Thus, the DNC has decided that Fox News will not play host to any of the party’s presidential joint appearances scheduled for this year and next.

The other major cable and broadcast networks will be allowed to present questions to the candidates during their debates. Fox, though, is out of the game.

The DNC is angry over Fox’s amazing relationship with the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. Indeed, the president himself has cozied up to the network’s prime-time and early-morning stars by showering gratuitous praise on them while denigrating and disparaging the work done by the other so-called “fake news” outlets.

Trump has become a semi-regular guest on Sean Hannity’s talk show, allowing Hannity to slobber all over himself in praise of the president. To be honest, I find it shameful that Hannity has been allowed to grovel as he does at the president’s feet. He even took the microphone at a Trump campaign-style rally a while back, interjecting himself directly into a partisan event.

“Fox & Friends,” the network’s early-morning gabfest has been shameless in its fawning over Trump. The president reciprocates to his pals, most notably Steve Doocy, one of “F&F”‘s co-hosts.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez has declared that Fox has become a de facto arm of the Trump administration. Therefore, the DNC has determined that the network cannot be a fair and impartial participant in activities relating to the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating process.

According to The Hill: In a statement, Fox News senior vice president and Managing Editor Bill Sammon said the network hoped the DNC would reconsider, citing the network’s journalists Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, “all of whom embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism.”

“They’re the best debate team in the business and they offer candidates an important opportunity to make their case to the largest TV news audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters,” Sammon said in an emailed statement.
I’ll acknowledge that this decision troubles me. Fox does have some first-class journalists who do good work for the network. They are being undermined and undercut by their bosses and by their colleagues at Fox who pander shamelessly at the feet of the president.

My indigestion will go away over time. If only Fox would recognize the mistake it makes when it allows its on-air personalities to act as if they are on the government payroll.

Should Fox give its media stars the boot?

The Fox News Channel, Donald Trump’s favorite cable “news” network, has issued a curious statement.

It says it does “not condone” its celebrity talkers taking part in partisan political rallies. So, what’s the network going to do about it? What will it do to punish right-wing blowhard Sean Hannity and Jeannine Pirro for their appearances with Trump at a Missouri campaign rally?

I think they need to be sanctioned seriously. Maybe yanked off their air. Perhaps suspended without pay while they consider what they did. Or … fired outright for cause.

Hannity is a known shill for Trump. He’s been standing behind the president for a couple of years. He refused to disclose to viewers about his “professional relationship” with Michael Cohen, the lawyer who once was Trump’s Mr. Fix It, but who has turned on the president.

Do you think the network would go ballistic if, say, one of its rivals at MSNBC or CNN had appeared at a campaign rally for a Democratic candidate campaigning for office this year? Yeah! Do ya think?

Fox has crossed the line that separates it from the politicians it covers. I understand fully that the network is acknowledged to be friendly toward the president. The network and its commentators are entitled to speak their minds.

They are not entitled, though, to become active and highly visible participants in a partisan campaign rally.

According to The Hill: “Fox news does not condone any talent participating in campaign events,” read a statement to The Hill. “We have an extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight and we are extremely proud of their work. This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.”

It has not been addressed sufficiently, in my view.

Media have become part of ‘the story’

I long have hated the notion of the media becoming part of the story they are covering. Yet that’s what is happening in the current tumult involving Donald J. Trump, the “enemy of the people” and those in the media who love taking pot shots at each other.

CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta, a frequent target of the president’s barbs, fired off this tweet aimed at competitor Sean Hannity, a commentator at Fox News:

Hannity is a propagandist for profit, peddling lies every night. He says he’s just a talk show host, not a journalist. But he’s injecting poison into the nation’s political bloodstream warping public attitudes about the press. I’m confident in the long run the truth will prevail.

Never mind that I happen to agree with Acosta. Hannity is every bit the “propagandist” that Acosta calls him. He is riddled with conflicts of interest, given his professional relationship with Trump’s former confidant, Michael Cohen, and his continuing personal friendship with the president himself.

But, I digress. No need to rehash what you know to be the obvious, which is that I detest Hannity.

Still, I do not like the notion of the media becoming the story in and of themselves. I am a rather old-fashioned sort of guy. I prefer the media simply cover the story to which they are assigned. Report the news. If the subject of their coverage objects to the tone, the tenor or the timing of the story, let ’em rant. Don’t respond. Don’t fire back.

Of course, Trump has ratcheted up the criticism to an unacceptable level. This idiotic mantra about the media being the “enemy of the people” is unhealthy, unAmerican, unpatriotic and totally unacceptable. And for this president, the purveyor in chief of lies and prevarication, to blame others for reporting “fake news” gives hypocrisy a bad name.

That all said, the nature of the media’s role as watchdogs for the public has evolved to a form that makes me quite uncomfortable.

Hannity needs a new gig: How about WH adviser?

Sean Hannity is crossing a serious line that is supposed to separate the media from those on whom they report and provide commentary.

The Fox News host reportedly talks regularly with Donald John Trump, as in nightly after his TV talk show. The president is a big fan of Hannity, who’s been a stalwart defender of the president throughout his entry into public life as a candidate for high office and then an occupier of it.

I have argued that Hannity isn’t a journalist in the sense of the word we normally associate with it. He isn’t trained in the craft. He dropped out of two colleges. He has been a staple of conservative media for many years, owing to his gift of gab.

I have an idea for Hannity to ponder. Give up the Fox gig and ask your pal the POTUS if he has something for you to do at the White House. He doesn’t have a communications director. The last one, Hope Hicks, quit. I figure that Hannity is at least as qualified as the previous two communications chiefs, Hicks and The Mooch — aka Anthony Scaramucci.

Hannity already has been outed as a secret “client” of one of Trump’s lawyers, Michael Cohen. Yeah, yeah, I know: Hannity says he wasn’t an actual “client” of Cohen, that they discussed real estate issues or some other nonsense. But he does have a relationship with him and he failed to disclose that relationship while he took up the cudgel in Cohen’s defense while also defending Cohen’s other client, Donald Trump.

But if the reports are true of Hannity’s cozy relationship with the president — that he might be discussing policy issues with him and perhaps even briefing the Big Man on what he ought to say about this and/or that — then quit the pretense.

Ask Trump for a job. I’d bet real American money he would find one for you. Fox won’t have any trouble finding someone to replace you on the air.

Hannity fluffs a basic tenet

Sean Hannity’s backside is in a bit of a sling for a reason that could have been dodged with a simple declaration. It would have been a painless admission.

The Fox News commentator was revealed this week to be a “secret client” of Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, the guy who’s been involved up to his armpits in a sleazy tryst that the president allegedly had with Stormy Daniels, a porn star.

The conflict? Well, Hannity has spent a lot of air time on TV and the radio defending Cohen and Donald Trump.

And … he never disclosed that he had a professional relationship with Cohen. He never told his viewers of his clear conflict of interest. Hannity never thought it was necessary to put his defense of Cohen and the president in anything resembling a proper context.

I get that Hannity isn’t a trained journalist. He does participate in a form of opinion broadcast journalism with his nightly TV commentary show and his syndicated radio show. Thus, Hannity should be forced to operate under the rules of conduct that journalists are obligated to follow when they report or comment on the news of the day.

A simple declaration at the front end of every broadcast that features a defense of Michael Cohen and Donald Trump would be a simple task to perform.

One more thing: To its great discredit, the Fox News Channel says it stands by Hannity. The network that actually does employ legitimate broadcast journalists doesn’t see where its right-wing superstar has gone wrong.

Shameful.

The cat’s out of the bag, Sean Hannity

Sean Hannity isn’t a journalist. He’s a talking head with lots of opinions. He works for the Fox News Channel and has a radio show on which he gets to bloviate and bellow his right-wing screeds.

I don’t begrudge him that privilege. He’s even won some awards for his on-air work. He also has earned some condemnation for his promoting of false conspiracies, aka “fake news.”

Oh, but now we know that his defense of Donald J. Trump and his relentless attack on the FBI raid on Trump’s lawyer’s office has a qualifier that, um, should have been disclosed when Hannity began unloading on the FBI. Hannity and Michael Cohen, the lawyer in question, have a professional relationship.

Cohen also represents Trump. He paid out $130,000 to Stormy Daniels to keep the porn queen quiet about a tryst she had with Trump in 2006. The FBI is looking for more information relating to that payoff. So, it obtained a search warrant from a federal judge and seized some documents.

Hannity has gone ballistic over it.

But don’t you think viewers and listeners deserve to know about Hannity’s particular interest in this matter? The tenets of full disclosure require it. Journalists know it.

According to The Hill: Hannity downplayed his interactions with Cohen, asserting that he’d never formally represented him in legal proceedings.

“I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective,” Hannity tweeted, adding that those conversations “dealt almost exclusively about real estate.”

Fine, young man. Any dealings with a lawyer in the news — let alone one who is involved in a sleazy, tawdry controversy involving the president of the United States — need to be disclosed to ensure that viewers and listeners can put what they’re hearing in a more complete context.

Not that it likely would matter to Sean Hannity’s fans in TV and Radio Land.

But, still …

Sean Hannity ‘bad for America’?

I feel the need to take issue with legendary newsman Ted Koppel, who believes a notable Fox News commentator is “bad for America.”

The target of Koppel’s epithet is Sean Hannity, the well-known conservative provocateur and gabby apologist for Donald John Trump.

Koppel scolds Hannity

Koppel told Hannity to his face — on a “CBS Sunday Morning” segment — that he is a bad influence on listeners to his radio show and viewers to his TV show. Hannity’s response was on target, in my view. It was that viewers/listeners know when they’re listening to opinion or straight news.

Given that Hannity is not a journalist by training, he spouts opinion on the air. I get that. As I’ve always said … and this is the clean-up version: Opinions are like certain body orifices; everyone has one.

Do I think he’s “bad” for the country, that he somehow poisons Americans with his right-wing dogma? Not really.

You see, we all have choices. I’ve made my own as it regards Hannity. I don’t listen to his radio show or watch him on TV. I know what he thinks. I disagree with him. I choose instead to listen to more thoughtful conservatives. A number of them come to mind.

If I want to hear an analysis from a smart conservative, I’ll look elsewhere.

Hannity? He’s simply a blowhard.

Media stars jousting over candidates of their choice

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My list of pet peeves has grown over the years as I have grown older.

I don’t call myself a curmudgeon, but I do at times come off as a fuddy-duddy. Some things about contemporary journalism, for instance, annoy me greatly.

Such as when reporters and commentators become newsmakers. My old-school thought is that they should be apart from the action. They can report on it and, yes, comment on it without making hay.

That all said, now we have two Fox News stars jousting with each other. News anchor Megyn Kelly has become a “supporter” of Hillary Rodham Clinton, says avid Donald J. Trump ally Sean Hannity.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/10/megyn-kelly-sean-hannity-trade-barbs-over-trump-treatment-229220

The feud is on.

Hannity is a commentator. He is a strong conservative voice on the “fair and balanced” cable network. He’s been in Trump’s camp since the beginning of this presidential campaign.

Now he’s decided to challenge Kelly, who serves another function at Fox; she is a news anchor. She’s also a pretty solid journalist. Kelly had the bad form, I guess in Hannity’s view, to ask Trump some tough questions way back during that first GOP primary debate. She wanted Trump to explain his highly offensive comments about women. The exchange that ensued sparked a feud that continues to this day.

That makes Kelly a Hillary Clinton supporter, according to Hannity.

I should note that of the two, Megyn Kelly is the one with a journalism education and professional background. Hannity lacks those educational credentials; he’s a talker.

I, frankly, don’t much care who she intends to vote for when the time comes. It shouldn’t even be a topic for public discussion. But then we have Hannity — who doesn’t hide his own bias — trying to make noise … which is all this is, in my humble view.

These media stars need to settle down. They ought to stop firing their barbs at each other and concentrate on the individuals and policies on which they report and offer opinion.

Who’s the major culprit in this goofy exchange?

Sean Hannity. Of course!

My advice to the young man? Knock it off, dude, and keep on shilling for Trump.

The doc softens his view of a Muslim president

deadstate-Ben-Carson

It turns out that Dr. Ben Carson doesn’t really and truly think no Muslim could serve as president of the United States.

The good doctor is right to change his mind … more or less.

Sharia law at issue

Carson  — one of 15 candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination — said on “Meet the Press” that Islam is incompatible with the U.S. Constitution. Thus, he said, he couldn’t ever condone the idea of a Muslim running for president.

Now he says something different — and much more reasonable.

He believes now that if a Muslim were to disavow Sharia law then, by golly, he’d be all right with a Muslim running for — and possibly becoming — president of the United States.

You see — and I am sure Dr. Carson knows this — the Constitution is a secular document to which all presidents swear to defend and protect.

His purported fear of Sharia law was nonsense on its face when he said it over the weekend.

Anyone who takes the oath swears to set his or her religious faith aside when performing the duties of the public office. Sen. John F. Kennedy faced accusations during the 1960 presidential campaign that he would take orders — as a Roman Catholic — from the Vatican. He torched that concern with one speech in September 1960 in which he would promise fealty only to the Constitution were he to win the election.

According to The Hill newspaper: “If someone has a Muslim background, and they’re willing to reject those tenets [of Sharia law] and to accept the way of life we have, and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion,” the 2016 hopeful said in a Monday night interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel, “then I would then be quite willing to support them.”

There you have it. Reason and sanity have taken their rightful place in this discussion.