Anyone who has been paying attention is well aware that the most devoted promoters of Donald Trump are on State TV (aka Fox News). And the biggest Trump fluffer on Fox News is Sean Hannity. He has been relentless in his shameless support for the President with a nightly program that is an hour long prostration to Trump interspersed with vicious and dishonest attacks on his critics.
However, Hannity apparently doesn’t think it’s enough. He was interviewed by Forbes Magazine Tuesday and further exposed the depth of his sycophancy to Dear Leader. The interview began by addressing Hannity’s all too obvious infatuation with Trump. The first question referenced well documented reports that Hannity and Trump speak on a nearly daily basis with Hannity being the last call that Trump receives each night before bed time:
“I ask him about the regular reports that he has daily conversations with the president of the United States — even, it has been suggested, that he is often the last person Donald Trump talks to at night.
“‘I don’t have a nightly call with anybody,’ Hannity tells me. ‘I read these things about me that are total bullshit. Quote it. It’s just not true.’
“So how much access to the president does Hannity have? That’s one of the few questions he won’t answer. ‘I really kind of enjoy that nobody knows, and I’m just going to leave it that way,’ he says. ‘But I can tell you this: Nobody has ever gotten my relationship with Donald Trump right, ever'”
It’s bad enough that insiders attest to the romantic loyalty of their relationship. It’s something that even outsiders recognize without those reports. After all, Hannity has literally appeared in Trump advertisements. And Trump returns the favor by promoting Hannity on Twitter and granting him “interviews” that are more accurately described as infomercials. Trump even hired Hannity’s ex-producer, and former president of Fox News, Bill Shine, as his Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications at Hannity’s urging. Shine, you may recall, was fired by Fox News for misconduct related to the sexual harassment and abuse by Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and others.
But the most troubling part of the Forbes interview is Hannity’s callous disregard for ethics. His explicit refusal, even delight, with regard to keeping his affairs with Trump secret would be intolerable at any legitimate news network (which lets Fox off the hook). By boasting that he won’t reveal how closely he is tied to Trump he’s making every interaction between them cause for suspicion of collusion and propaganda. It’s unprecedented in journalism or even the sort of political advocacy that Hannity engages in. Why is he afraid to tell the truth about his relationship with Trump? Well, we know why.
Also in the Forbes interview were a couple of morsels that deserve some attention:
“At MSNBC, Rachel Maddow was capitalizing on the Trump presidency, building some of the highest ratings in her network’s history. ‘We lost 75% of our prime time,’ Hannity said of that time. ‘And we’re still No. 1.'”
Indeed, Fox News has cratered with the exodus of a substantial block of their viewers. So even though Hannity finds solace in still being the top rated cable news program (a big fish in a small swamp), it doesn’t undo the fact that Americans are turning off Fox News in droves. And then there’s this:
“Does it weigh on him to be accused of using his platform to prop up President Trump, spread conspiracy theories and blur the line between news and rabid partisanship? ‘The amount of time I spend caring about it is zero. I don’t care,’ Hannity says.”
That’s not surprising. Why would Hannity care that he’s a propaganda tool for the administration? Or that he’s disseminating lies and crackpot conspiracies that hurt innocent people? Or that he’s breaching journalistic ethics? He’s actually doing all of that deliberately. Those are pretty much the entire purpose for his existence. And for the existence of Fox News, for that matter. Which is precisely why Fox will not fire Hannity, no matter how much it is required by principle and morality.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.