The Continuing Conservative Media Civil War Zeroes In On Sean Hannity

The Continuing Conservative Media Civil War Zeroes In On Sean Hannity

››› ››› CAT DUFFY

In the latest development in the conservative media civil war over Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, Fox News host Sean Hannity, a staunch Trump supporter, is battling other conservative media figures over his unapologetic and unconditional defense of the candidate, with those media figures now calling his shilling for Trump “slavish” and “disgraceful.”

Hannity Continues To Attack Conservative Media Figures In Civil War Over Trump: “I Will Hold” Anti-Trump Republicans “Accountable” If Trump Loses

Sean Hannity: “Republicans Who Are Sabotaging [Donald Trump] Will Get The [Hillary Clinton] They Deserve. And Yes I Will Hold Them Accountable.” Infighting has broken out within conservative media circles in the weeks since the Republican National Convention, where Donald Trump officially became the party’s presidential nominee, with Fox News host Sean Hannity at the center of many of the battles. Hannity has been one of Trump’s most consistent defenders throughout his run, backing the candidate even when journalists and experts criticized his “racist” comments about a federal judge, debunked his endless false claims, and dubbed his policy proposals “fact-free.” Recently, Hannity declared he’d hold “Republicans who are sabotaging” Trump “accountable” if Trump loses, sparking yet another round of battles in the ongoing right-wing media civil war. [Media Matters, 6/7/16, 8/5/16; Twitter, 8/11/16]

Conservative Media Figures Castigate Hannity For His “Slavish” Trump Cheerleading

WSJ’s Bret Stephens: Hannity’s “Disgraceful” Excuses For Trump Combine “Oily Self-Absolution With Venomous Obloquy.” In an column titled “Sean Hannity’s Veneration of Ignorance,” The Wall Street Journal editor Bret Stephens wrote a scathing critique of Hannity’s “excuses” for Trump, calling them “disgraceful, combining oily self-absolution with venomous obloquy for” Republicans who recognize that Trump is “an epic GOP disaster.” Stephens added that “Today’s GOP is on the road to self-immolation, thanks in part to the veneration of ignorance typified by” Hannity.” From the August 8 column:

Mr. Hannity’s excuses are even more disgraceful, combining oily self-absolution with venomous obloquy for the very conservatives who have spent the year warning that a Trump candidacy is an epic GOP disaster that all-but guarantees Hillary Clinton’s election. The habit of shifting blame and refusing to take responsibility is supposed to be the curse of the underclass and its political hucksters, but Mr. Hannity is giving Al Sharpton a run for his money.

Mr. Hannity’s other goal is to preserve the fiction—first cultivated by Ted Cruz and later adopted by the Trumpians—that a wan GOP “establishment” and its “Acela corridor” voters sat on their hands while Mr. Obama traduced the Constitution and sold us out to the enemy. “They did nothing, nothing!” the anchor fumed Thursday on his show. “All these phony votes to repeal and replace ObamaCare, show votes so they go back and keep their power and get re-elected.”

Maybe Mr. Hannity thinks that Messrs. Ryan and McConnell should have jumped the White House fence and stuck a pitchfork in the president. Or that they should have amended the Constitution to repeal Article One, Section Seven—the one that gives the president his veto. Otherwise, it’s hard to understand the constant lament about a do-nothing Congress except by wondering whether Mr. Hannity is stupid or dishonest.

On Thursday evening I opted to give him the benefit of the doubt by writing on Twitter that he was Fox’s “dumbest anchor.” He immediately proved my point by re-tweeting me to his 1.5 million Twitter followers—an audience I could never have reached on my own. Later, on the radio, he called me a “dumba— with his head up his a—,” demonstrating he can’t even swear competently.

But Mr. Hannity’s tantrum obscures the uglier side of what he is trying to do, which is to paint targets on the GOP’s genuine Reaganites—pro-trade, pro-immigration, pro-NATO, pro-entitlement reform—and replace them with the Party of Trump—anti-all of the above—no matter what happens to the candidate come November.

Who might help lead this Unglorious Revolution of the crass, clueless and shoulder-chipped? Those who can make themselves rich by shouting and hearing echoes of themselves even as the GOP loses one presidential election after another.

This is the reason I’ve consistently argued that the only hope for a conservative restoration is a blowout Hillary Clinton victory, held in check by a Republican majority in Congress. If Mr. Trump loses the election narrowly, the stab-in-the-back thesis will have a patina of credibility that he might have won had it not been for the opposition of people like me. But a McGovern-style defeat makes that argument impossible to sustain except among the most cretinous. We can count on Mr. Hannity for that. [The Wall Street Journal, 8/8/16]

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg: “Does Hannity Want Clinton To Win?” In his weekly “‘news’letter,” National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg blasted Hannity for “defending Trump’s shtick” instead of “hold[ing] Trump to his promise to pivot,” calling out the Fox host for failing to challenge Trump to become more disciplined. Goldberg noted that Hannity “will no doubt one day receive the Golden Hair Helmet for his Stakhanovite effort to get Donald Trump the nomination,” but added that Hannity and other Trump defenders are “Trump’s worst enemies” because “they are enabling him and by enabling him, they are sabotaging Trump’s campaign.” From the August 13 "news'letter":

Which brings me back to my question: Why does Hannity want Hillary to win? Rather than hold Trump to his promise to pivot, Hannity is defending Trump’s shtick. Hannity hosts a nightly infomercial for a product the customers have already bought. Why not expend some energy trying to change the product so that others will buy it, too? Would that be too much like asking the crowds at the Coliseum to downgrade their lust for spectacle? Do you think Trump’s hardcore supporters are so selfish that they won’t tolerate even a little sanity and sobriety from the nominee, if only to beat Hillary? Give these people some credit for Pete’s sake. I’ve seen a bunch of interviews with attendees of Trump rallies who say they’d like to see more discipline from Trump. I know they want to defeat Hillary. The simple fact is this: Trump will not win unless he changes. He needs to reassure the skeptics. He needs to win-over people not already won-over. He needs new, serious, material. But like an aging has-been rocker, he’d rather keep playing his greatest hits at Indian casinos and state fairs than actually put in the work and pivot. But Hannity doesn’t seem to care. Trump is sabotaging his own campaign every single day, and yet his supporters put the blame on everyone else and cheer Trump on. They are Trump’s worst enemies because they are enabling him and by enabling him, they are sabotaging Trump’s campaign. If Hannity really loved Trump, he would play Ben Affleck to Matt Damon’s Will Hunting and tell him he owes it to himself and the country to be more than what he is. [National Review, 8/13/16]

Townhall’s John Hawkins: “Hannity Should Blame Himself For Putting Hillary In The White House.” Townhall columnist John Hawkins criticized Hannity for his “cream puff interviews” of Trump and slammed Hannity for giving Trump a “tongue bath” every night and misleading his listeners by giving them “skewed information” about Trump’s chances of winning. From the August 13 column:

But Sean Hannity deserves particular attention. During the primaries, he promoted Trump non-stop to his audience with the sort of cream puff interviews you’d expect MSNBC to give to Hillary Clinton. It’s easy to understand why Hannity did that. More Trump means higher ratings and Trump is a sensitive guy who would have never spent so much time on Hannity’s show if he was regularly getting tough questions.

[...]

So, is Sean Hannity going to hold himself accountable?

He’s one of the most prominent conservatives in America. Millions of people listen to him on the radio and on TV and what did they hear during the primaries? They heard Sean Hannity giving Donald Trump a tongue bath every night. Did Hannity ever tell them the full truth? Did he ever say, “I love having Donald Trump on because I agree with some of the things he says and he’s great for ratings, but realistically he has no chance of winning against Hillary. Sure, he makes all the right people mad and isn’t politically correct, but if he becomes the nominee, it also means that Hillary will be our next President.”

Don’t get me wrong. I like and respect Hannity, but when Trump loses, who deserves more of the blame for Trump? The people who told you the truth all along and said, “Whether you like Trump or not, he can’t win. You have to pick someone else,” or the people like Hannity who spent months essentially saying, “Trump’s the greatest! We love Trump. Let’s cheer for him! Trump, Trump, Trump.”

After Trump loses – and he is going to lose because he never had a chance to win, there will be a lot of people telling you that the problem is all these people who told you the truth about Trump. But the truth is never the problem; the problem is the problem. It’s becoming clear that one of our big problems is that people in the conservative movement are being given such skewed information by sources they trust that they thought a guy who was less popular than Walter Mondale or Michael Dukakis in January of this year was going to be the next President. That should tell you we have a problem with the conservative media that’s almost as large as the one we have with the mainstream media and if Sean Hannity is looking for someone to hold accountable, the first person he should look at is himself. [Townhall, 8/13/16]

RedState’s Susan Wright: Hannity “Has Upped The Ante On His Suckage.” Calling Hannity’s show “the most useless waste of an hour that Fox News could possible offer up,” RedState’s Susan Wright castigated the Fox host for “eschew[ing] the numbers of more reliable polls” and suggesting that Trump’s number of social media followers compared to Clinton’s indicates Trump will win the election. Wright called this “an entirely new level of seat sniffing,” and concluded, “Mr. Hannity, you are pathetic, sir.” From the August 10 article:

The most useless waste of an hour that Fox News could possibly offer up – Sean Hannity – has upped the ante on his suckage.

It’s like he and Eric Bolling are in a competition to score points as the ultimate Trump bootlick.

At this point, Hannity’s family should be feeling deep pangs of shame and embarrassment.

So what latest mind-numbing nugget of vagary is Hannity engaged in?

It seems he has a message for all the other Trumplings, who may be distressed over Trump’s cratering poll numbers.

He has chosen to eschew the numbers of more reliable polls, in favor of the Gateway Pundit nonsense, as mentioned here this past weekend.

[...]

This is an entirely new level of seat sniffing for Sean Hannity. If anyone ever had any lingering shreds of respect for the man, I’m not sure how those remain, at this point.

Mr. Hannity, you are pathetic, sir. [RedState, 8/10/16]

Wright Also Denounced “Slavish” Hannity For “Push[ing A] False Account Of Trump’s Altruism.” Wright also called out “slavish Hannity” for promoting the false story that Trump provided Gulf War veterans with free transportation in his private jet in 1991. Calling him a “pathetic, bottom feeding bootlick,” Wright criticized Hannity for “being so enamored of Trump that he spread an incorrect account.” From the August 11 article:

Can you take one more story of Sean Hannity proving to be a pathetic, bottom feeding bootlick?

I hope so, because I can’t ridicule this little tadpole enough, and he obliges me by providing daily fodder for mockery.

The Washington Post has done the honors today, by publishing the findings of an account Hannity has had on his website for several months, as proof of his hero, Trump’s good deeds towards the military.

[...]

Trump, at the time, was deep in negotiations to try and stay solvent, due to his bad business moves, and the planes that bore his name had already been repossessed by the banks.

What we have is a case of Hannity being so enamored of Trump that he spread an incorrect account, and Trump’s people figured nobody would know, so they went along with it.

For that, they earned four Pinocchios.

I hear Pinocchios are what you get when you just lie. [RedState, 8/11/16]

Forbes’ Josh Jordan: “Like A Shady Car Salesperson, Hannity/Etc Start Blaming Everything Else Instead Of Just Admitting They Purposefully Sold You A Lemon.” In a series of tweets, Forbes contributor Josh Jordan criticized conservative media figures including Hannity for blaming the #NeverTrump movement instead of “just admitting they purposefully sold you a lemon.”

[Twitter, 8/14/16]

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.