Hannity’s ethics under fire

Sean Hannity is pictured. | Getty Images

Fox News host’s failure to disclose his relationship with Trump attorney Michael Cohen puts his credibility on the line.

Sean Hannity has wavered over the years on whether he is a journalist or conservative activist, but ethics specialists say that whichever hat the Fox News host was wearing last week when he condemned the FBI raid on attorney Michael Cohen’s office, he should have disclosed that he’s a client of Cohen’s.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a newspaper reporter or an opinion journalist,” said Indira Lakshmanan, the journalism ethics chair at the Poynter Institute. “If you want to maintain credibility with an audience, and be honest with them, you have to disclose all facts.”

Just hours after the raid on the office of Cohen, President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Hannity inveighed that special counsel Robert Mueller had “declared war against the president of the United States.” But Hannity didn’t disclose that he, too, had received legal advice from Cohen. Hannity’s relationship with the embattled attorney was revealed during Monday’s hearing over materials gathered during the raid — and only after a judge pressed Cohen’s attorney on the identity of a previously unnamed third client.

The omission raised questions about whether Hannity had violated journalistic ethics — or whether he was a journalist at all.

Hannity has shifted in recent years on that point. “I never claimed to be a journalist,” Hannity told The New York Times in 2016 when asked about his informal advising of then-candidate Trump. The next year, Hannity referred to himself in a Times magazine profile as an “opinion journalist” or “advocacy journalist.” He said last month that his show “breaks news daily” in response to colleague Shep Smith characterizing Fox News’ prime-time lineup as entertainment.

Kathleen Bartzen Culver, director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin, said you don’t “move out of the realm of ethics when we move into the realm of opinion.” She said commentators should still be expected to maintain independence from subjects they are covering and disclose relevant ties.

“This is not a small matter,” she said. “We’re talking about one of the most important new stories of this time and he did not disclose his connection to it while commenting on it. His audience deserves to know when he has connections that may be affecting that commentary.”

Bartzen Culver added: “An organization needs to have standards for the people who do its reporting or commenting.”

Hannity, the top-rated Fox News host and an especially influential voice in the Trump era, appears to have few constraints at the network. He immediately began discussing the Cohen situation on his afternoon radio show and tweeted responses to the controversy.

A Fox News spokesperson did not directly respond to a question about Hannity not disclosing his relationship to Cohen, but provided a statement from the host.

“Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees,” Hannity said. “I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective. I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third party.”

On Twitter, Hannity disputed reporting by Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman that he brought in Cohen last year when facing an advertiser boycott spurred by progressive groups over his fueling of the Seth Rich conspiracy theory. “What part of Michael and I never discussed anything that involved any third party is so hard to understand?” Hannity tweeted.

On Fox News’ “The Five,” Juan Williams said there was no evidence Cohen was involved in any third-party disputes on Hannity’s behalf, as was the case with Trump and Republican National Committee Deputy Finance Chair Elliott Broidy. Cohen arranged to pay $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels for her silence over an alleged affair with Trump and reportedly negotiated a $1.6 million payment to a former Playboy model who claimed Broidy impregnated her.

But Williams questioned why Hannity “didn’t disclose this earlier.”

“Why when Sean was on the air, strongly an advocate for President Trump, not saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got a relationship with the lawyer?’” Williams asked. “I think that’s a question.”

 Source:www.politico.com

Juan Williams Thinks ANY Of These 3 Women Could Beat Trump In 2020

Juan Williams isn’t the most annoying liberal in the world, as we see him on Fox News nearly every day getting intellectually owned by most of the other hosts, but every once in a while he says something so ridiculous we have to do a story on it.

According to Juan, any one of these 3 African-American women could destroy Trump in the 2020 race for the Presidency…

The Hill reports:

The three strongest Democratic challengers to President Trump’s reelection are now all black women.

They are talk show queen Oprah Winfrey, former first lady Michelle Obama and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon has said Oprah and the “Me Too” movement pose an “existential threat” to the Trump presidency.

Obama left the White House with a 68 percent approval rating. She got a new wave of positive attention this month when record crowds showed up to see her newly unveiled official portrait at the National Gallery of Art.

Conservative columnist and Trump booster Ann Coulter confidently predicted last fall that if Harris ran, she would be the Democratic nominee.

A black female candidate would attract a lot of attention with a challenge to Trump. Ninety-four percent of black women voted against Trump in 2016 as did 69 percent of Latina women and 43 percent of white women. Women of all races have led the biggest anti-Trump marches.

April Reign, an activist who founded the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, worried during a recent NBC interview that the clamor for a black female presidential candidate could be a trap.

“Stop begging strong black women to be president: Michelle, Oprah, whatever,” Reign said. “It’s weird. And Lord knows when black women try to lead, y’all attempt to silence and erase us. So how would that work, exactly?”

Well, black women are already thriving at the top of the political ladder in lots of places.

Black women are in charge as mayor of at least seven big cities: Atlanta; Baltimore; Charlotte, N.C.; Flint, Mich.; New Orleans; Toledo, Ohio; and Washington.

In addition, a record 21 black women are serving in Congress, including Harris. All but one — Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) — are Democrats.

Winfrey and Obama stand out among all these black women because their political strength is only a subset of their power as cultural icons.

They have fans among Republicans and Democrats. They attract people of all races. Their broad appeal, including among suburban white women, crosses the nation’s deep political divide

Trump is attuned to a potential challenge from Winfrey.

After Winfrey conducted a focus group on Trump for CBS’s “60 Minutes,” the president quickly lashed out at her.

“Just watched a very insecure Oprah Winfrey, who at one point I knew very well, interview a panel of people on 60 Minutes,” he tweeted. “The questions were biased and slanted, the facts incorrect. Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!”

Oprah responded last week by telling Ellen DeGeneres: “I woke up, and I just thought — I don’t like giving negativity power — so I just thought, what?”

Oprah said that she asked CBS to add a response from a pro-Trump member of the focus group to give the piece more balance. “So I was working very hard to do the opposite of what I was hate-tweeted about,” she told Ellen.

Meanwhile, if Obama runs, she would inherit her husband’s formidable political machine.

Perhaps only an Obama can successfully use the Obama political machine to hold together the Obama coalition and win back the White House?

Even longtime Trump political adviser Roger Stone recently told the Oxford Union that Obama would be the strongest Democratic candidate.

The then-first lady’s “When they go low, we go high” speech was one of the most memorable of the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

The big question with Obama is whether she is willing to go low and put her family through another brutal presidential campaign.

Harris lacks the name identification of Winfrey or Obama. But California’s junior senator comes from the most influential state in Democratic politics.

Harris would have a strong claim to the deep-pocketed donors in Hollywood and Silicon Valley who helped fund her Senate election in 2016. The former state attorney general’s unflinching television interviews and TV grilling of Trump administration witnesses at congressional hearings have made her a national favorite.

Source: patrioticexpress.com