In a Newsweek interview, Bill O'Reilly said that his fellow Fox News host Sean Hannity “has a Republican show,” adding that “Republicans should have a show.”
O'Reilly is indisputably correct that Hannity “has a Republican show.” How Republican is it? Let's count the ways:
The Stop Hillary/Obama Express. During the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, Hannity did the Republicans' bidding by declaring, “I'm leading the Stop Hillary Express.” When it was a Hannity guest noted that he “demonized Hillary,” Hannity responded, “That's my job. ... I led the 'Stop Hillary Express.' By the way, now it's the 'Stop Obama Express.' ” Much of Hannity's "Stop Obama Express" involved peddling discredited smears and promoting character assassins.
Hannitization. Hannity has given numerous Republicans and conservatives a forum where they can tell their side of controversies or scandals without fear of being tossed anything other than softball questions by their host.
The Hannity Primary. Hannity asserted his central role in picking a Republican presidential candidate for 2012 by declaring he was running the “Hannity Primary,” in which he would give each candidate a half-hour on his show to share their views. Indeed, Hannity has devoted nearly six hours of airtime on his show to Republican candidates since June 1 as part of the overall Fox Primary.
HannityPAC. Appearances on Hannity can be lucrative for Republican candidates. Christine O'Donnell reportedly told Republican strategists during her 2010 run for a Delaware Senate seat: “I've got Sean Hannity in my back pocket, and I can go on his show and raise money by attacking you guys.” Sharron Angle, who ran for a Nevada Senate seat in 2010, bragged to supporters that her appearances on a “friendly press outlet” like Fox News are profitable. As an example, Angle said that when she made an appeal on “Sean Hannity's television show, we made $40,000 before we even got out of the studio in New York.”
Sean Hannity, “journalist.” Hannity flip-flops on whether he's a “journalist,” usually depending on how advantageous it is for promoting Republican causes. For instance, Hannity defended his interview of Obama-basher Andy Martin -- who has a lengthy history of making anti-Semitic and racially charged statements -- by declaring, “I'm a journalist who interviews people who I disagree with all the time, that give their opinion. Fox has all points of view.” His boss, Fox senior vice president of programming Bill Shine, has a different view: “Sean is not a journalist -- Sean is a conservative commentator.”
And an enthusiastic promoter of the Republican Party as well.