Whether or not Sean Hannity was involved in anything untoward with the President’s embattled lawyer Michael Cohen is yet to be determined but the way the poster boy for Cult 45 has handled the situation is definitely worthy of criticism. Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz has written a piece doing just that.
I’ve been watching hours and hours of nonstop coverage about Sean Hannity.
And while what was disclosed in a federal court in Manhattan is clearly newsworthy, many of Fox’s competitors have made no effort to hide their glee in slamming the top-rated host in cable news.
Hannity regularly denounces what he calls the “destroy-Trump media” in vehement terms. So for some of his rivals, this is payback.
Others are journalists covering what is obviously a highly unusual story about the president, the president’s lawyer, and the president’s most high-profile defender on television.
It certainly is newsworthy despite Hannity’s protests and the tribal voices who cry “fake news” and “unfair.” Hannity, just like his hero Donald Trump, looks ridiculous whenever he gets indignant over unfair treatment by the media after spending most of his breath condemning them. I mean, what do they expect?
What emerged in a court proceeding involving Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, is that one of his clients—whose name he had tried to keep secret—is Hannity.
This was Hannity’s initial statement when the news broke Monday afternoon while he was doing his radio show:
“Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.”
Hannity later called the media coverage “absolutely apoplectic and hyperventilating.” He said his dealings with Cohen were almost exclusively about real estate. He did say “I may have handed him $10 once” and “I requested attorney-client privilege.”
That last part is just weird. Why would you ask for privilege if all you did was ask some real estate questions? Why would Cohen try to keep his relationship with Hannity quiet?
There’s no question that the media is unfair to people on the right. That’s like death and taxes. It’s part of the landscape one has to navigate if they identify as conservative. It’s absolutely not fair, but crying about fairness should be left to the Bernie Sanders crowd. There’s a wrongheaded idea coming from many Trump-publicans that says the way to deal with unfairness is to stupidly give the left wing media more ammunition to use against us. That’s the thinking that has led to the administration being hounded by a special counsel.
Did Fox News know about this? The prime-time host said his relationship with Cohen never rose to the level that he felt he had to inform his bosses.
Here’s the problem: Hannity needed to inform his viewers.
Kurtz is partially wrong here. Hannity should have indeed informed his viewers that he has a personal/legal/professional relationship with the guy who arranges hush money for bimbos knocked up by big money Republican donors and possibly porn stars with whom the President may have cheated on his wife. Hannity should also have informed his employers because he has now put himself (and Fox News by association) in the center of a minefield of his own making.
The situation created by Hannity and Cohen trying to hide their relationship is ripe for left wing media speculation. Regardless of the whatever the truth may be, every story suggesting Hannity is in cahoots with Trump and his fixer is perfectly plausible and any damage to his reputation is self inflicted.
Conservatives need to grow up and accept that the media can and will use anything they do and say against them. It’s not fair. It’s never going to be fair. It’s certainly never going to be made fair by deliberately giving them material to run against you. Conservatives just have to be better than leftists. Accept it. We have to work harder than them when it comes to the media.
Being a counterpuncher is nothing to be proud of if you’re continually—and needlessly—offering your opponents an exposed chin.
Earlier Fox News mainstay Judge Andrew Napolitano dinged Hannity for trying to have it both ways. He was either a client who enjoys attorney-client privilege or he wasn’t a client and his interactions with Cohen are fair game for investigators.
Sean Hannity’s descent from being a mainstream conservative commentator into Gateway Punditry has been unfortunate. He has destroyed his credibility when it comes to commenting on character. Now he has given everyone more reason to doubt whether he has any objectivity whatsoever. His entire media presence has been sold as an advertisement for one politician.