A History Lesson for Sean Hannity, Who Thinks it’s a Good Idea to Keep Unfriendly Press from the White House

I know seven years in the news business might as well be several decades, so I’m going to treat the following as such because Sean Hannity obviously doesn’t remember his or his flagship network’s recent past to see any irony in tweeting something like this:



Here is what he was saying ‘Amen’ to:

But, in October 2009, it was Fox News reporters who were getting the shaft by the White House and the administration in general.

And why? Because the White House took issue with Fox News commentators, like Sean Hannity and former Fox News personality, Glenn Beck, for going after members of their administration, namely then-White House Adviser Van Jones and “School Czar” Kevin Jennings.

Things got so contentious that Fox News’s former Chairman and CEO, Roger Ailes, met with White House Adviser David Axelrod in September 2009 to try and work things out, after “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace” was skipped during the rounds of Sunday morning talk shows.  Ailes attempted to explain to Axelrod that the White House was conflating straight reporters with commentators. Axelrod and the White House maintained that Fox News was acting more like right-wing talk radio and “not a news network.”

President Obama even took the opportunity to weigh in on the matter on NBC News in mid-October, saying “What our advisers have simply said is that we are going to take media as it comes. And if media is operating, basically, as a talk radio format, then that’s one thing. And if it’s operating as a news outlet, then that’s another.”

A showdown was inevitable. And in mid-October, one of the greatest stands by the media in recent history happened over a press pool ban of Fox News with the Treasury department’s “Pay Czar” Kenneth Feinberg.

Remember this, Sean? From Fox News:

The Treasury Department on Thursday tried to make “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg available for interviews to every member of the network pool except Fox News. The pool is the five-network rotation that for decades has shared the costs and duties of daily coverage of the presidency and other Washington institutions.

But the Washington bureau chiefs of the five TV networks consulted and decided that none of their reporters would interview Feinberg unless Fox News was included. The pool informed Treasury that Fox News, as a member of the network pool, could not be excluded from such interviews under the rules of the pool.

The administration relented, making Feinberg available for all five pool members and Bloomberg TV.

Fox News’s own legal analyst, Peter Johnson Jr., declared the attempt as a “constitutional violation.”

Johnson defined the press pool as “the eyes and ears of America” and said, “the pool has been certified in the courts in Washington and around the country as part of the public debate.” He also agreed that keeping certain news organizations out just because you don’t like what some of their employees do is a clear violation of the freedom of the press.

So which is it, Sean? A constitutional violation or something we should say “amen” to.

I know you probably don’t care much for the actual news side of the station that has been your enabler for over a decade because it’s a post-facts world and all. But the reality is that in supporting a ban on certain news organizations, just because you don’t like what some of their employees do, has turned you into that which you purported to despise a scant seven years ago.

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