Sean Hannity is celebrating ten years as a nationally syndicated radio host. And before that, he's been on radio air somewhere since, well… Coolidge? Or was that Taft? Did they have talk radio back then?
Well beyond the celebration, there is an important point that Hannity has come to personify to such a degree that it's far too often overlooked. To wit: carrying the ongoing conservative narrative and relating that narrative to the events of the day, every day.
One can quibble about early talk radio pioneers, but without doubt the man who wrote the genre large was -- and remains -- Rush. No last name needed. To mention Rush and talk radio is like mentioning the Wright brothers and the airplane or software and Bill Gates.
But once up and running, Sean Hannity has been there as a considerable force not just in talk radio but in the minutia of discussing issues of all kinds every day in, and every day out. One can agree or disagree with him on this or that (I, for instance, have never understood this New York Yankee thing… then again, as a Red Sox fan born and bred with a Long Island Yankee fan family I'm… well… tolerant of this Hannity flaw. Or try to be…) but without doubt every single moment he is in front of that microphone he carries the conservative flag, specifically the conservative flag flown by Ronald Reagan and the vast, vast majority of rank and file conservatives. His audience size, huge and faithful, is itself testimony to the considerable affection and respect he has well earned over the years.
Whether the subject is the broader subject of economics, or the specifics of how he learned the work ethic -- the point gets made. Some of the most enlightening, passionate radio that he has done have been his sessions on Islamic radicalism, perhaps the single most important issue out there in terms of life or death for America and the Western world. But whatever the subject of the day, one can be sure that in tuning in the conversation will be smart, funny, passionate and perceptive. Does he have his naysayers? Sure. It comes with the turf, as he well knows. The trick is how to handle the inevitable, and Hannity has long since perfected the art -- and it is an art -- of taking the heat with a smile and a self-deprecating laugh. Which, of course, only infuriates his critics all the more.
The job of being a talk radio host is decidedly not, as its foes so often paint it, some clownish endeavor that is one big waste of air time. It has become a great way to have national conversations about the issues of the day untouched by the routine liberal bias of the mainstream media. One listens to Hannity to learn precisely what won't be said in the mainstream media.
The hard fact that drives liberals crazy is that Hannity -- and Rush and Mark Levin and all the rest of the favorites national and local -- have their considerable audiences because Americans trust them for a serious discussion. For three hours a day, five days a week, Hannity delivers a defined and well-thought-out conservative point of view and, perhaps most importantly, demonstrates the conservative willingness to talk freely about the things the mainstream media simply refuses to talk about because they violate the political correctness of same. He takes on all comers, his clashes with his great liberal friend Bob Beckel a snapshot of the heated discussions everywhere between conservatives with eye-rollingly liberal friends. And the entertainment that comes along with the whole package is -- well -- hilarious. It makes you laugh. Listening to a recording of Endless Love over Chris Matthews running on about a thrill going up his leg when he hears Obama give a speech is still tears-of-laughter inducing no matter how many times one hears it.
So here's to Sean Hannity and his radio gang, who have made themselves into an American radio treasure of the day.
Congratulations and thanks.
Don't stop. Things are just warming up.
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