Yesterday, the Pulitzer Prizes announced the winners for 2017 awarding some of America’s best journalists. Ironically, on the same day, we got a reminder of one of America’s worst.
Fox News’ Sean Hannity has told his audience and critics time and time again that he is not a journalist. Sure, he’s on a news channel talking about the news and giving us his opinion on the subjects, but he argues that doesn’t make him a journalist. The reason he makes this argument is so he doesn’t have to conduct himself by the ethics and principles expected of journalists.
Hannity is one of the personalities who has helped turn Fox News into Trump TV. He not only defends and worships at the altar of all things Trump, he socializes with The Donald. He’s had dinner at the White House multiple times, and none of those were over meatloaf with Obama. When Trump says many people believe he should fire Robert Mueller, “many people” are Sean Hannity.
Hannity hasn’t just campaigned against Special Counsel Robert Mueller, calling the investigation a “witch hunt,” while defending everything Trump. He’s also passionately defended Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, who is the president’s admitted “fixer.” Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about her having sex with the married Trump, which he claims never happened. Hannity’s defense of Cohen turned into a near-panic after the FBI raided the lawyer’s office, home, and hotel room seizing files and possibly audio recordings between him and his clients. On Monday, we found out why Hannity was taking it so personally.
Cohen is more of a fixer than a lawyer. He got his degree (in law, not fixing) from the Cooley Law School, which has been ranked as the worst law school in the nation. It’s shocking his office isn’t the trunk of his car where you can also get expert shoe repair. Cohen only has three clients, with one being the president and the second being Elliott Broidy, a Republican National Committee fundraiser who used Cohen’s fixing services to pay off a former Playboy Playmate $1.6 million he had impregnated. But, who is the third? Cohen’s attorney’s, who I hoped didn’t get their degrees from Cooley, were joined by the president’s attorneys (despite him not being “involved” in the case) against releasing the name of the third client. The judge didn’t buy their arguments and made them release the name, which made everyone in the courtroom either gasp or break out in laughter. That third client is Sean Hannity.
Hannity argues he’s not really a client despite Cohen’s attorney’s fighting so hard to keep his name sealed. The Fox News host claims he’s never officially had services done by Cohen and has only asked him a few questions in passing about real estate, though Cohen is not a real estate attorney (though he has bought a lot of property in Trump Towers, just like Russian money launderers do). Hannity points out that he’s never retained him, been billed, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. So what? Trump often refuses to pay his legal fees.
Someone can be your lawyer without you ever having paid them. If nothing else, if Hannity received a service from Cohen, even if it’s just bad legal advice, he has a responsibility to his viewers for full disclosure.
Sean Hannity is on a news network, a journalistic outlet, a forum where people get their information. He can refer to himself as an Oompa Loompa for all I care, but he still has a responsibility to his viewers for full disclosure. For all we know he didn’t even inform his bosses of his conflict of interest.
Sean Hannity can continue his refusal to square with his viewers and himself, but his network can’t. Fox News shouldn’t just suspend Hannity. They should fire him. Sure, he gets high ratings, but Fox needs to decide if they’re a news network or a propaganda outlet. I’m sure Shep Smith, Chris Wallace, and Bret Baier would choose to be identified with a news network.
Maybe Sean Hannity should ask one of them for journalism advice, and stop asking crappy, sketchy lawyers for legal advice.
Now, does anyone wanna be Michael Cohen’s fourth client?
Here’s the video.
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