Hannity vs. Hannity: Is he, or is he not, a "journalist"?

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER

Sean Hannity defended the presence of Andy Martin on the October 5 edition of Hannity's America by saying, "I'm a journalist who interviews people who I disagree with all the time, that give their opinion. Fox has all points of view." But Hannity told the New York Daily News that he "doesn't call himself a journalist, but rather a talk show host." And in 2004, Hannity said: "I'm not a journalist. I am an outspoken, compassionate, thoughtful, independent-thinking conservative. ... Unlike these other guys that claim to be fair."

Within a matter of days, Fox News host and syndicated radio host Sean Hannity identified his professional position in contradictory ways. As Media Matters for America documented, on the October 7 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Hannity defended the presence of Andy Martin -- who has called a judge a "crooked, slimy Jew" and accused African-American public officials of corruption -- on the October 5 edition of Hannity's America by saying: "I'm a journalist who interviews people who I disagree with all the time, that give their opinion. Fox has all points of view." By contrast, in an October 8 New York Daily News article highlighting Hannity's "new multiyear, multimillion-dollar contract" with Fox News, Hannity reportedly said the opposite about his position:

Hannity doesn't call himself a journalist, but rather a talk show host, which is significant because it frees him to offer opinions when he wants.

"Somedays, I'll do a fair and objective, balanced interview; somedays, I'll be arguing with somebody, and somedays, I'll have an investigative report," he said. "I have an opinion. Everybody knows it. Everybody who sees me, watches me, knows I'm a conservative."

Hannity made a similar claim four years earlier, when he said on the July 7, 2004, edition of Hannity & Colmes: "I'm not a journalist. I am an outspoken, compassionate, thoughtful, independent-thinking conservative -- a Reagan conservative, in my view. Unlike these other guys that claim to be fair."

From the July 7, 2004, edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes (transcript retrieved from the Nexis news database):

HANNITY: Here is -- one of the things that I find interesting, too, I am not -- and you lay this out. You even mention my name. Thank you very much. Thanks for the plug.

BRENT BOZELL (president, Media Research Center): Yes. You needed it. Your career needed a boost from me.

HANNITY: It does, it does. But they say Sean Hannity -- I'm not a journalist. I am an outspoken, compassionate, thoughtful, independent-thinking conservative -- a Reagan conservative, in my view. Unlike these other guys that claim to be fair. They have the agenda. For whatever reason, there is a really antipathy, animosity, outright hatred and hostility to the success of conservative media, talk radio, the Internet.

They can't stand that the voices -- all sides are heard on FOX.

BOZELL: No. They can't stand you folks at FOX.

HANNITY: They hate me.

BOZELL: They really do. And frankly, look what's happening. The more they attack FOX, the better FOX is doing in the ratings. Because people take look at FOX and like it.

Person
Sean Hannity
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