The big news in the politosphere today was the revelation that one of Michael Cohen’s clients is none other than trump’s biggest toadie, Sean Hannity.
Hannity immediately tried to deny the claim, but the claim came in court, and it came from Cohen’s own attorney.
Later, CNN posted an op-ed by Brian Stelter in which it claimed that Fox News will have a problem trying to explain this gigantic conflict of interest, even while admitting that this kind of ethical conflict of interest is precisely what Fox News viewers want to see when they tune in, and this is why Stelter is wrong when he says that Fox will have to address this.
But, why is the fact that Hannity and trump share the same lawyer a problem in the first place? It’s mostly about credibility. As Hannity has been covering the Russian scandal, and the Stormy Daniels scandal, he has been, by his own admission, taking free legal advice from one of the principle players in both scandals, and all throughout, Hannity has neglected to inform his viewers (and his viewers include more than just the disciples of the church of trump) of this conflict of interest. This would be a career-ending scandal in a world that adhered to certain axioms of ethics and integrity, but we’re not talking about a world that adheres to certain axioms of ethics and integrity. We’re talking about Fox News.
Many people are confused by the name Fox News. They think that since the channel uses the word news in its name that it resides on the same journalistic plane as CNN or MSNBC, or the BBC, or any of the big three network news channels, but Fox News is as much news as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is either a republic or a democracy.
Using a misnomer is, frustratingly enough, one of the most successful marketing ploys out there. Simply calling one’s self something is often enough to convince millions of dolts that the something is the very thing it calls itself. George Orwell didn’t originate the strategy, though his name is the one best associated with it, and the one who best demonstrated how successful the ploy is.
And this is why Brian Stelter is mistaken. He’s bought into the lie of believing that Fox News is actual news. It was founded purely as a propaganda outfit for the GOP. It was the brainchild of Roger Ailes, a Nixon refugee who remembered his time during the Watergate scandal and the bellyaching about how unfair the media was to Nixon at the time. It was Ailes’ goal all along to “rectify” the situation by establishing a news channel that would always be friendly to the “conservative” point of view. Fox viewers are not interested in news. They aren’t interested in being informed. They want only to have their fears and bigotry validated, and learning that Hannity’s credibility is in question only interferes with that.
Hannity could, in the words of his lord and savior, shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, and his viewers wouldn’t care, as long as he told them what they wanted to hear. Hannity knows this. Rupert Murdoch knows this. All of Fox News leadership knows this.
The only people who don’t seem to know this is everyone else.