Not part of the job, Sean
It is time for Fox News to part ways with Sean Hannity.
Mr. Hannity has repeatedly crossed the line concerning what journalists should do. The most recent incident was Monday night before the election at a Donald Trump rally in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
The Trump administration issued him an invitation to be a “special guest.” That should have been embarrassing enough for Sean Hannity. But when the president invited him to come up on stage, instead of respectfully declining, Mr. Hannity took him up on the offer. Sean Hannity went even further, calling out the media in the back of the room as “fake news,” a familiar refrain from this administration.
This was not the first time for Sean Hannity. Fox had to make him cancel an appearance at a Tea Party fundraiser in 2010. In 2016, he was again admonished for appearing in a Donald Trump campaign video and told never to do it again. After Mr. Hannity‘s most recent partisan display in Cape Girardeau, Fox again stated it did not condone such behavior, although Mr. Hannity was defending it at the end of his show Wednesday night.
Depending on the job position of journalists, they can have very different responsibilities. Reporters strive for impartiality and objectivity when it comes to reporting the facts. Opinion writers as journalists do not have to be objective, because they offer opinionated thoughts about the news of the day. Both are important. But it’s also important to separate news from opinion. Fox, as well as CNN and MSNBC, do a very poor job of separating the two. But all journalists, whether reporters or opinion writers, should never become the story. Their job is to report the story, or offer opinions on the story, not to be the story. Good journalistic organizations prohibit their journalists from displaying political bumper stickers, yard signs, or making public statements in favor of any political issue or candidates.
But what about journalists who deal only in opinions and not in delivering news? They too should be detached from the subjects they write about. Their credibility, and that of the news organizations where they work, increases with greater detachment. Journalism and politics both play important roles in our democracy. But they are both enhanced where there is a sharp line between them.
Fox News and the nation would both be better off, too, by having Sean Hannity pursue another field other than journalism. Like maybe going to work for and being a spokesman for Donald Trump—not on a news channel, but in his administration.