Fox News may be trying to distance Sean Hannity from Donald Trump’s campaign for Republican candidates in the midterms, but Hannity is apparently not going along — at least if Monday night’s rally in Missouri was any indication.
According to The Associated Press, the Fox News host took the stage with Trump, even though he had said he wouldn’t.
“Hannity appeared on the podium in a Missouri arena after being called to the stage by Trump. Another Fox News host, Jeanine Pirro, also appeared onstage with the president,” the AP reported.
“It was an extraordinary scene after the news network had worked Monday to establish distance between Hannity and the campaign. Trump’s campaign had billed Hannity as a ‘special guest’ at the rally, but Fox had said that wasn’t so. Hannity himself had tweeted: ‘To be clear, I will not be on stage campaigning with the president. I am covering final rally for the show.'”
In spite of reports, I will be doing a live show from Cape Girardeau and interviewing President Trump before the rally. To be clear, I will not be on stage campaigning with the President. I am covering final rally for my show. Something I have done in every election in the past.
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) November 5, 2018
“But Trump called him to the stage after saying, ‘they’re very special, they’ve done an incredible job for us. They’ve been with us from the beginning,'” the AP report continued.
Check out the brief appearance here:
Fox had issued a statement saying Hannity would not be taking the stage, according to an earlier AP report.
A representative from Media Matters for America, a hard-left group that exists to have an uncomfortably close relationship with the media, criticized the Republicans for having an uncomfortably close relationship with one media figure, because apparently psychological projection will never die.
“Either Fox News lied all day about their direct collaboration with the Trump campaign, or the network simply doesn’t have any control over Sean Hannity,” Angelo Carusone, Media Matters’ president, told the AP.
“This is a problem. It’s dangerous for democracy and a threat to a free press.”
The danger for democracy and/or the threat to a free press by inviting someone to opine on the incident when both he and his organization have called for an advertiser boycott of Hannity in the past remained unmentioned.
Hannity’s appearance on stage came after his show, which took place on location at the rally.
“He played the role of cheerleader from the side as the crowd waited for Trump’s appearance. He pleaded with viewers to vote Republican on Tuesday to support Trump, and his opening monologue echoed a campaign slogan seen on signs at the arena: ‘Promises made, promises kept,'” the AP reported.
The way this is conveyed all sounds rather sinister, and yet it shouldn’t. Hannity is an opinion journalist. Nobody turns on his show under the pretense that they’re tuning into the new-millennium “MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour.” If they do, they’ll be quickly disabused of that notion.
While I can understand Fox News’ desire to distance itself from being involved with Trump’s campaign rallies, the fact is that no one is also under the illusion that Hannity is objective on the president. He’s a big supporter of Trump and his policies. That he would appear on stage with the president wouldn’t even shock Captain Renault.
If this were any other opinion journalist and any other politician — or rather, if that opinion journalist were liberal and the politician were a Kennedy, for instance — this wouldn’t be an issue. The pearl-clutchers at the AP or at Media Matters — the latter of which so often acts as a cheerleader for other politicians and causes — have absolutely no place to talk in this arena, and it’s the height of hypocrisy to suggest this is some sort of scandal.
As for whether Hannity intended to go up, it’s unclear whether or not that was the case. It’s hard to believe he would tweet that he wasn’t going to when he knew he would.
As for whether or not he’ll face consequences, we’ll certainly see. What is clear is that he was willing to risk everything — whatever the displeasure of the Fox executives might bring — in order to appear on stage with Trump on the eve of midterm elections that will be crucial to the Trump agenda in the next two years.
“Hannity has been rebuked by Fox in the past,” the AP noted. “In 2016, he was part of a Trump political video, which Fox said it had not known about in advance and told Hannity not to do so again. When Fox found out in 2010 that the Tea Party had advertised that Hannity would be appearing at one of his fundraising rallies, Fox said it had not approved the arrangement and ordered him back to New York.”
However, there’s nothing Hannity did on Monday that could be classified as untoward — at least, to anyone who was even slightly acquainted with the Fox News host. Again, this is an opinion journalist, not a straight news host. Pretty much everyone who knows the name “Sean Hannity” knows that very salient fact.
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