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

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.