Sean Hannity and Fox News Need to Reevaluate their Responsibility as a News Organization

Like moths that are attracted to the flame by natural instinct, men and women who supposedly had good character could not resist the lure to be a part of Donald Trump’s presidential administration.

During Trump’s four years as president, several men and women who joined his administration or associated with him ended up in some controversy, got fired, got convicted, or voluntarily resigned.  Trump’s victim’s list includes, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, Rudy Giuliani, Gen.  Michael Flynn, John Bolton, Jeff Sessions, and many others.

There are perhaps plenty of people who in the months ahead or next few years will be added to Trump’s list of victims.  Last week we learned of one – the popular Fox News talk show host Sean Hannity.  The Congressional January 6 committee investigating the attack on the Capitol requested that the popular talk show host appear before the committee voluntarily and tell them about the text messages he sent to Trump, Mark Meadows and some Republican Congressional members.  The timeline of some of Hannity text messages released by the committee is shown below

 December 31, 2020, text to Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows,

We can’t lose the entire WH counsel’s office.  I do NOT see January 6 happening the way he is being told.  After the 6 th he should announce will lead the nationwide effort to reform voter integrity.  Go to Fl and watch Joe mess up daily.  Stay engaged.  When he speaks people will listen.

 January 5, 2021, text to Meadows

I’m very worried about the next 48 hours.  Pence pressure.  WH counsel will leave.

 January 6, 2021, text to Meadows

Can he make a statement? Ask people to peacefully leave the Capitol.

 January 10, 2021, text to Meadows and Ohio Rep.  Jim Jordan

Guys, we have to clear a path to land the plane in nine days.  He can’t mention the election again.  Ever.  I did not have a good call with him today.  And worse, I’m not sure what is left to do or say, and I don’t like not knowing if it’s truly understood.  Ideas?

While Hannity expressed some real concerns in his text messages, he expressed a different message on his Talk show as shown in this statement:

But the Fox News host struck a vastly different tone on the airwaves.  Although he condemned the violence, he repeatedly endorsed the bogus conspiracy theory that “radical groups” like antifa infiltrated the mob of Trump supporters to sow chaos at the Capitol. 

Hannity text messages reveal two things:1) he was aware of some plot to disrupt or foil the certification of the 2020 presidential electoral votes and 2) he was deeply concerned about what was about to happen on January 6.

It is possible that Hannity recognizes that his relationship with Trump, might jeopardize his job and so his text messages were a CYA in the event things went really awry.  Hannity enjoyed a privileged relationship with Trump and it has been rumored that Trump spoke to him on a nightly basis presumably as an unofficial advisor to the president.

Hannity’s unvetted relationship with Trump – If Hannity was really performing the role as an advisor to Trump, then that should have raised some serious questions.  Did he get vetted as is customary for presidential advisors before their appointment? Did he get a security clearance from the Department of State? Did he get reimbursed for his advisory services?  What if Trump gave Hannity classified information?  If he got classified information, then the implications would be worse than Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.

Hannity perhaps should have followed the 9/11 slogan, “If you see something, hear something, say something.  Judging from his text messages he heard something that was a national security risk, and he should have reported it to the FBI or Homeland Security.  Had he done this, there is a good chance that the January 6 attack would not have happened.

Sean Hannity’s failure to perform what would have been a courageous and exemplary patriotic duty is inconsistent with the patriotism he professes on his talk show and demonstrate with the American flag pin he wears on his jacket lapel.  Whatever loyalty he has to the US seems to have been preempted by his loyalty to Trump.

Potential problem for hannity and Fox News-Fox News and Sean Hannity appear to have a major problem that no one is talking about yet.  Fox News is a major media outlet and Hannity although he is not a journalist, he has a viewing audience that is said to be over a million.  With this public reach he has a responsibility to report in any serious problem that threatens America’s democracy or security.

There is no evidence that Hannity has committed any Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or other statute violation for advising the president in their tête è tête.  And we do not know if there is a conflict of interest here involving loyalty to Trump and what is a news media responsibility of informing the public on political issues that are detrimental to the country.

Maybe it’s time for Fox News and its talk show hosts to reevaluate their values, patriotism, and start talking about political news and issues honestly and in a “fair and balanced” manner as former Fox News talk show host Bill O’Reilly used to say.

If America’s democracy is to survive, then it must resolve the political dystopia that is overwhelming the country at this time.  This will require the (FCC) to evaluate cable tv political talk shows to see if they need to be regulated.  Meanwhile, let’s hope that Hannity will appear before the January 6 committee and not try to stonewall it like some former members of Trump administration have done.  This would be his opportunity to apologize to the American people and tell the truth about what he knew about the January 6 attack.


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