Political Hay

Hannity Wins: Liberals Humiliated

The Gullible left, from Fox to Obamacare and Syria.

By 9.19.13

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Sean Hannity wins. 

Liberals, having spent months predicting his television and radio demise, lose. 

Humiliated. Again.

But this is about more — much more — than Sean Hannity.

The entire episode swirling around Hannity’s future on Fox and talk radio is a reminder not simply of Hannity’s success and the abysmal failure of Hannity-hating enemies. It is in fact yet one more example of what the late William F. Buckley, Jr. referred to as the “hurtling irrationality” of the “liberal mania.” The real question is as easy as it is serious: 

Why are liberals so gullible? 

What does this Hannity dust-up say about the way liberals see everything from their bizarre assertions about Sean Hannity to ObamaCare, Syria policy and beyond? 

And — no small point for media obsessives - what does this say about the strength of the conservative base in the media?

Let’s focus on Hannity first — and yes, by all means, let’s name some names here.

Prime-time Fox TV it is for Sean. Still and again after 17 years, he remains at the top. Just this week these ratings freshly published over at Mediaite demonstrate his ability to beat the competition, repeatedly clobbering the rest of the field wandering around over there on the ratings deserts that are CNN, MSNBC and HLN. 

The Hannity radio show is likewise settled, his departure from the acrimonious Cumulus receding in the rearview mirror. Hannity will sail on uninterrupted with Premiere Networks, a Clear Channel network. 

On the TV end, Roger Ailes accomplishes his two very-much linked goals: Keep Fox Number One. Re-sign his stars Shep, Greta, O’Reilly, Megyn, and Sean — then get out of the way and let them shine. In Ailes’ words this week: 

As the network continues to dominate with the top 13 programs in cable news, FOX News already redefined primetime viewing to extend well beyond the antiquated 8-11PM format. We’ve developed a deep bench of engaging and thought-provoking personalities that have grown with FOX News as it has evolved into the most influential and successful cable network in television. These changes will enable the network to continue setting the industry standard for years to come. 

Note the reference to how “FOX News already redefined primetime viewing to extend well beyond the antiquated 8-11PM format.” Greg Gutfeld’s Red Eye-airing in the wee hours of 3:00 am has long outdrawn the Fox cable competition’s primetime, not to mention that it has even beat MSNBC’s Morning Joe, which airs from 6-9 in the morning.

So Hannity stays planted in prime time — which Roger Ailes long ago redefined in any event.

And, as mentioned, the Hannity radio show is now signed long term as well.

Hannity prime-time FOX TV deal? Done. Hannity radio long term deal? Done.

But if you believed the liberal media, none of this was going to happen.

What were the wrong predictions? Let’s run through them, shall we? By name.

• Over at this outfit laughingly calling itself Next News Network was this “Exclusive Breaking News” story breathlessly headlined in capital letters:

HANNITY FIRED FROM FOX NEWS

• Over at a nitwit site named Bubblews was the hot story that “rumors are circulating about the imminent professional demise of one of the conservative movement’s biggest mouth pieces: Sean Hanity.” That’s right — not only was the Bubblehead who wrote this laugher wrong on substance — yes, he managed to misspell “Hannity” as well.

• Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the star of a site (who knew?) called Ring of Fire, where ace reporter Joshua Schwitzerlett was so certain of what was going on not only with Hannity but Rush Limbaugh as well. Underneath Mr. Kennedy’s image was this Schwitzerlett headline:

Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity Getting Fired

Things Get Even Worse for Sean Hannity as Fox News Drops Him from 9pm trumpeted PoliticusUSA: Real Liberal Politics, with star liberal journalist Jason Easley confidently assuring his liberal readers there was no way Hannity would move to ten o’clock because “Fox would like to shift away from the divisive GOP talking point trolling that is Hannity’s specialty.”

• Over at the far-left Media Matters Eric Boehlert couldn’t contain himself. Hannity was supposedly having “a really bad August” and a “major career stumble.” Ohhhhhhhhhh the humanity! Hannity wasn’t over, Boehlert allowed cautiously, clearly chagrined, but he was “having a really bad month.” And besides, Hannity’s audience was so old it was practically dead, said the man proclaimed at MM as a “senior fellow” (while demurely not providing his age) and whose photos appear to show a substantial amount of gray hair.

• Perhaps most deliciously were the Hannity write-ups at the Daily Beast. “Buh-Bye” shouted this header as it gleefully reported that Hannity’s radio career was toast. In this one by ex-Washington Post writer Lloyd Grove — Grove is now the Beast’s editor-at-large — Hannity was dismissed as a “fading anchor” and a “commodity that is potentially reaching its sell-by date.” Then there is always John Avlon, now the Beast’s Executive Editor as well as a CNN analyst, who has regularly been writing stories like this one in which he asks Is Right Wing Talk Radio Dying? Hannity, Avlon asserts (along with Rush and Glenn Beck), is “losing fans” and (along with Mark Levin) has “flat-lined.

The delicious part? The only person whose career has “flat-lined” here…or to use Daily Beast language, is going “Buh-Bye” is….wait for it…Tina Brown. The creator of the Daily Beast itself. As noted here in the New York Daily News:

Barry Diller’s InterActiveCorp will not renew Brown’s contract as the editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast when it expires in January. Brown confirmed the news to her staff on Wednesday….. (Brown) was unable to make the The Daily Beast profitable in her five years at the helm of the website…. Moreover, her tenure at the Beast was marked by a number of high profile miscues, such as her short-lived stewardship of Newsweek magazine, which published its final issue in December of 2012, just two years after being put under Brown’s direction. This summer, the title was sold off to IBT Media.

In other words?

Sean Hannity is delivering the goods for both Fox News and talk radio — and Tina Brown couldn’t do the same for either the Daily Beast or Newsweek. So Newsweek is dead and the Daily Beast, run by Brown, Grove, and Avlon, is gasping for profitable air — while Sean Hannity sails on, re-hired with a new prime-time slot at Fox and a brand new long-term radio contract. Also note: Lloyd Grove worked at the Washington Post for over two decades — and the Post is now being sold by the liberal Graham family. Meaning Hannity at Fox and on talk radio has not only outlasted Tina Brown’s control of the Daily Beast and possibly the Beast itself but the Graham family’s control of the Washington Post and the life of Newsweek. Can you say “Buh—bye”?

On and on and on this kind of thing about Hannity went. To Google “Hannity Fired” brings up this day some 942,000 results. “Hannity Leaving Fox” brings up “about 657,000” results. All of it was, politely put, bunk.

So.

Beyond Sean Hannity — what are we really seeing here?

What do all these wildly wrong stories about Hannity have to say not just about the liberals who sold this Hannity-is-toast bill of goods to themselves — but about liberalism itself?

First, the very fact of all this controversy is a verification of the strength of the conservative media. With all the focus on Hannity it is important to recall Roger Ailes statement of a simple fact: FOX “continues to dominate with the top 13 programs in cable news…” So too is talk radio sailing along just fine — the shows of Hannity, Rush, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck and others routinely popular. The conservative media is here to stay — and it is succeeding.

Other than these “fate-of-Hannity” stories, what have been the headliners in recent months?

That’s right. Obamacare. Syria. The economy. Jobs.

Story after story has poured forth about labor leaders being frantic about getting their own members out from under Obamacare — which they and the rest of the liberal powers-that-be passed into law. Ditto Members of Congress and their staffs. Then there’s the Syria mess, with both the liberal President and his liberal Secretary of State being schooled by Vladimir Putin and now depending on a Syrian dictator to voluntarily yield chemical weapons that he supposedly never had in the first place. And Benghazi? Where another liberal Secretary of State working for the same liberal president was clueless about the risk facing an American Ambassador and his consulate staff? All this well after one considers the red ink of trillions added to the national debt in the Obama era, not to mention the sea of red ink poised to sink Medicare and Social Security. Don’t leave out the bankruptcy of Detroit, or the disasters much further back of the Great Society and Vietnam.

What all of these disasters have in common — precisely in common with the liberal line about Sean Hannity — is liberal judgment.

Or, as Mr. Buckley described it, the “liberal mania.”

Webster’s defines “mania” as:

1: excessive excitement or enthusiasm; craze. 2. a pathological state characterized by euphoric mood…impaired judgment, and sometimes psychotic symptoms.

Got that? Excessive excitement…euphoric mood….impaired judgment.

Go back and read those words from liberals about Sean Hannity. You can almost hear the euphoria in the written words, see it in the quivering excitement behind the bold print of the capitalized headline:

HANNITY FIRED FROM FOX NEWS

Translation?

We got him! We got the bastard! Victory is at hand!

There’s nothing there that is remotely connected to logic. It’s all about emotion. This was the driving force behind all those Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke stories as well. No logic -- pure emotion. One story after another from the liberal mania media simply made up facts about Rush’s situation. Thinking this would remove him from the air. Wrong again.

No serious person who knew anything about Hannity, Fox, and talk radio believed for a second that he was going anywhere. Much less that Fox — which had long-ago re-signed him to a four year contract — was going to fire him. No one who knew a thing about the reality of talk radio and Hannity’s popularity believed for a nano-second that what was going on was anything else than a contract negotiation with an extremely popular host who had big time options.

And yet, the always gullible liberal mania — run 100% on emotion — was out there with the wildest of stories that in fact were nothing more than the fantasy of wish-fulfillment.

The underlying foundation of every liberal project from Obamacare to Syria to the stimulus to gun control, global warming and all the rest is exactly and precisely the same thing — emotion. Mania. Mood. Or, in Buckley’s words again, “hurtling irrationality.”

Which is to say: bad judgment.

Just as the bad judgment that is the irrationality of liberal mania had liberals convinced that Hannity was fired from Fox or was losing his radio career or having it badly damaged - so too do they thrill to Obamacare. Sheer emotion leading them to the belief government control of one-sixth of the economy was workable.

The issues?

They will come and they will go.

The reality?

No matter the issue, when liberals speak they are all about something other than the issue at hand. That something other is the liberal mania. Emotion.

The hurtling irrationality of the sheerest and all too frequently basest emotion.

Because liberals hate Sean Hannity — they talked themselves quite publicly into the gullible belief that Hannity’s career was toast.

Surprise, surprise — they were wrong. Not to put too fine a point on it? They look like fools for believing this whole yarn.

The whole thing would be funny if in fact liberalism weren’t simultaneously so wrong on so much. And not infrequently dangerous.

I have to stop now and listen to the radio.

Sean Hannity is on.

For a long time to come.

Photo: UPI

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.