If the Fox News Channel doesn’t fire Sean Hannity, it will prove that it is not an actual news outlet.
You could certainly argue that FNC proved that long ago. But let’s focus on Hannity and the revelation that he is a client of embattled Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen — which would certainly have prompted any legitimate news organization to fire the Fox News host.
Yes, Hannity is paid to express his opinions. No, he doesn’t have to remain unbiased — an unbiased opinion is an oxymoron.
But Hannity crossed a line when he forcefully attacked the U.S. Attorney’s Office raid on Cohen’s office, home and hotel room without revealing that he got legal advice from Cohen.
Not for the first time, Hannity’s hypocrisy was on full display when he parsed words in a statement defending himself: “I never paid legal fees to Michael, but I have, occasionally, had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective.”
So … he got free legal advice from Trump’s lawyer and didn’t disclose that fact when he defended Cohen. And Trump. On air. Repeatedly.
Let’s imagine that, say, Rachel Maddow had done the same thing with an Obama or Clinton lawyer — even one who wasn’t under criminal investigation. Hannity certainly wouldn’t have parsed words about that.
I’ve written several columns criticizing the Sinclair Broadcast Group. We’ve included a note that The Tribune and KUTV have a newsgathering partnership.
If it were suddenly revealed that I had failed to disclose a relationship with either Sinclair or its competitors while, at the same time, criticizing Sinclair, I’d be fired. Quickly. Deservedly.
Had Hannity told his Fox bosses about his conflict of interest, I’d like to think they would have told him not to comment on Cohen. I doubt that would’ve happened, but I still hope.
At the very least, Hannity should have mentioned it when he went on a rampage against the raid of Cohen’s offices, declaring that special counsel Robert Mueller’s “witch hunt investigation is now a runaway train that is clearly careening off the tracks.”
And, maybe, right in Hannity’s direction.
Hannity should have mentioned it when Cohen was a guest on his show, which happened at least 16 times.
That failure should have cost Hannity his job. His continued presence on the channel is proof that the Fox News Channel doesn’t care about either ethics or the most fundamental aspects of journalism.
Although keeping Hannity on board does provide a red flag to anyone who cares about journalism or the truth. It’s proof that the Fox News Channel is not the place to go for either one.