Fox News show host Sean Hannity has regularly served as a cheerleader for President Donald Trump but never mentioned the two shared an attorney. He also fawned over HUD Secretary Ben Carson during interviews without disclosing he bought some homes through HUD programs.
Hannity used a written statement issued by the network to go after critics, saying, “It is ironic that I am being attacked for investing my personal money in communities that badly need such investment and in which, I am sure, those attacking me have not invested their money.”
Shop Talk panelist Rich Egger finds it ironic that someone who spends so much time bloviating on the air relied on a written statement to respond to legitimate questions about his ethics. He said Hannity is not a journalist but he works in a news setting so he should strive for transparency. Instead he gives the appearance of having something to hide.
Panelist Jasmine Crighton said Hannity’s response was a classic example of misdirection – he’s not being criticized for how he invests his money, he’s being criticized for not being transparent. She said he works for a channel that has the word “news” in its name so he should disclose potential conflicts of interest.
Crighton said many newsrooms and journalism groups have a code of ethics. She said he’s not following any of those rules.
Panelist Will Buss also said Hannity is working on a news network so he should strive to follow a code of ethics. He said cable television channels blur the line between journalism and commentary, which doesn’t help true journalists who constantly combat misperceptions about what their job entails. And he said Hannity’s lack of transparency and ethics doesn’t help matters.
Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.