FNC Journalistically Contorts Itself to Placate a Key Asset…
Between my trip last week and getting sick I wasn’t able to blog last week like I would have wanted to. But I haven’t forgotten this story. The Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone writes about a fundraising email Sean Hannity sent out on behalf of the Tea Party Patriots…
Fox News host Sean Hannity solicited donations for the Tea Party Patriots in a fundraising email sent Wednesday morning by the conservative organization.
“Please make a generous contribution of $15, $25, $50, or whatever you can afford to Tea Party Patriots’ 5 Years for Freedom $1.2 million-dollar money bomb,” Hannity wrote, noting that Feb. 27 is the fifth anniversary of the tea party movement.
It’s no secret that Hannity’s a conservative tea party supporter who offers political opinions each day on Fox News and on the radio. And Fox News has heavily promoted the tea party movement from its inception.
But Fox News in the past has drawn a line between a host expressing support for a political group or cause and actively helping to raise money on a group’s behalf — and on at least one occasion has specifically maintained that distinction for Hannity and the tea party movement.
In 2010, network executives ordered Hannity to return to New York after learning he’d been slated to star at a Cincinnati tea party fundraiser that would have aired on his primetime show.
A Fox News spokeswoman did not immediately respond with comment on the network’s current policy regarding hosts’ participation in political fundraising efforts.
Well that comment did eventually come to TVNewser…
Fox News tells us Hannity’s involvement with the Tea Party group is for his radio show, and has nothing to do with his FNC show or role with the network.
Absolute grade a rubbish. What Hannity does on his radio most definitely impacts his FNC show the same way what Ed Schulz says on his radio show can get him suspended on his MSNBC show. Any time Hannity has on a Tea Party Patriots member on his FNC show, questions are going to be asked because of that fundraising email. And FNC knows it.
FNC is displaying weak knees here. It should be slapping Hannity down hard instead of carving out a lame exception based on a flimsy technicality which says more about FNC’s pushover status at not wanting to agitate one of its biggest stars than it does Hannity.
But this is, unfortunately, not an isolated incident in cable news. In fact conflicts of interest are happening on cable news with an alarming increasing frequency. Whether it’s MSNBC allowing Al Sharpton to cover his activism on their air as most famously happened with the Trayvon Martin case, or CNN protecting a key asset in Fareed Zakaria after he committed the cardinal journalistic sin of plagiarism, cable news has lost its footing. Gone are the days of strict dividing lines between journalism and opinion. Gone are the days of strict enforcement of conflict of interest issues if the person under scrutiny is important enough.
And cable news wonders why so many hold it in increasingly low regard. It’s because of stuff like this.