Should Fox News fire Sean Hannity? | The Tylt

Should Fox News fire Sean Hannity?

Sean Hannity has long been the face of Fox News. Hannity came up in the media world as a political radio host before he was hired by Roger Ailes in 1996. Since Ailes' ouster from Fox in 2016, and his death shortly thereafter, Hannity became the network's elder statesmen. Yet, a series of recent scandals have put his future at the network in doubt. Most recently, Hannity appeared on stage with President Trump at a campaign event, crossing a line many journalists consider sacred. Hannity, for his part, claims he did nothing untoward. What do you think?

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Days before the midterms, Hannity appeared on stage with the president at a rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. While Hannity's close relationship with the president has never been a secret, many saw standing on stage with him at a campaign event to be a bridge too far. 

Not only did Hannity boost the president in front of the crowd, according to Forbes, he took his moment in the spotlight to denigrate other reporters covering the event. 

"While we're talking about incredible people ... I have a few people that are very special. They've done an incredible job for us, they've been with us from the beginning—Sean Hannity, come on up."
You could be forgiven for hearing "done an incredible job for us" as Trump's way of saying Hannity was part of the White House communications team. Hannity, who walked onstage to applause, made no effort to distance himself from that suggestion, opening his brief remarks standing at the lectern emblazoned with the presidential seal by pointing to the journalists at the back of the hall and saying, "By the way, all those people in back are fake news."
...Executives at Fox News were not happy. A network spokesperson said Hannity was expected to anchor his show live from the rally but not to participate in any campaign events, adding: “We have an extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight, and we are extremely proud of their work. This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.”
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Columnist Leonard Pitts wrote an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune, arguing that Hannity's actions would be acceptable for a partisan pundit. But the fact that Hannity hosts a show on a network that still claims to be "news," should mean he is held to higher standards.

It's telling that Sean Hannity of Fox “News” is Trump's idea of a real journalist. We're talking about the Trump sycophant who, with fellow Fox star Jeanine Pirro, actually campaigned with Trump, speaking at a recent Missouri rally and shattering journalistic norms like glass. Some will quibble that Hannity considers himself a talk show host and not a journalist — he's actually called himself both — but that's no excuse.
So long as Fox continues to identify — or, misidentify — itself as a news organization, neither its pundits nor its reporters have any business rallying with Trump or any other political figure. That's a bright red ethical line, yet Hannity and Pirro stomped across it in muddy boots. Both should be on the unemployment line. Yet these two are what Trump thinks journalists should be: his cheering section.
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Because of actions like this, Hannity is obviously the president's favorite media figure. That cozy relationship should preclude him from claiming to be a journalist.

Mr. Trump would no doubt prefer that every member of the White House press corps be like Sean Hannity or Jeanine Pirro, the Fox News personalities who happily joined the president onstage at his last pre-election campaign rally in Missouri on Monday. Mr. Hannity has long been an unapologetic booster of Mr. Trump, but even his colleagues and managers at Fox were aghast at his participation in the rally, at which he went so far as to join in attacking “fake news” reporters at the back of the room, among whom was a Fox News White House correspondent, Kristin Fisher.
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In a tweet before the event, Hannity said he was merely attending the rally as a reporter, not a participant. After the president invited him on stage, Hannity claimed in a tweet that he was surprised by Trump's actions, claiming he really intended to attend only as a journalist. 

What I said in my tweet yesterday was 100% truthful. When the POTUS invited me on stage to give a few remarks last night, I was surprised, yet honored by the president’s request. This was NOT planned.
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Despite all of these issues though, Hannity is a reliable ratings draw for the network. His worth far outweighs his potential ethical problems. Per Forbes

Ratings data released today by Nielsen show that Hannity has more than kept the ship afloat. Ratings for July show he has cemented his position as the most powerful man in cable news, marking four consecutive months in first place — both in terms of total viewers (with an average audience in July of 3.4 million) and among adults 25-54, the demographic group most coveted by advertisers, where Hannity led with 635,000 viewers. Hannity’s ratings in July were so dominant, he led all of basic cable, even beating the 30th anniversary edition of Discovery’s ratings goliath Shark Week.
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The New York Times notes networks like Fox News typically only reprimand or fire hosts for indiscretions when their advertisers threaten to pull out. However, Fox News is an anomaly in that when advertisers pull out, ratings often increase. 

Such complaints are puny in comparison with the hefty ratings generated by Mr. Hannity, however. The only obvious countervailing force has been the advertisers who have occasionally boycotted the prime-time hosts’ shows.
That has had limited effectiveness. When companies pulled their commercials from “The Ingraham Angle” after its host poked fun at David Hogg, a student survivor of the mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., the show’s ratings went up.

Hannity is one of network's most reliable moneymakers. There is little to no reason for the network to sever ties with him. 

FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should Fox News fire Sean Hannity?
#SupportSeanHannity
A festive crown for the winner
#FireSeanHannity