Abstract: Fox News navigates Sean Hannity’s complicated status as a member of the news media by describing him as a political commentator and talk show host. His self-assigned role as media critic is of particular interest considering the intensity of his insults toward an ambiguously defined liberal, mainstream media alongside declining media trust among Republicans. This study examines Sean Hannity’s media-bashing around presidential elections from 2012-2020, analyzing his rhetoric as a form of meta-journalistic discourse turned political weapon.
William Newlin, a Double Dawg, presented the paper “From Liberal Bias to Fake News: Sean Hannity’s election-time media bashing from 2016 – 2020),” co-authored with Karin Assman, at the AEJMC Midwinter Conference (Political Communication Division).
Abstract: This study analyzes Sean Hannity’s rhetoric about the news media before, during and after the three most recent presidential elections. We treat Hannity’s discourse as metajournalistic discourse (Carlson, 2016) that contributes not just to the public’s understanding and legitimization (or not) of the journalistic profession, but as a political tool. The study aims to gain an understanding of how his discourse about mainstream news media has evolved and contributed to an ecosystem of declining trust in U.S. news media.
Invited talk by the Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China. Dr. Meng was invited to share research insights on communication practice and fake news. The talk centers on how fake news could be monitored and identified, and how communication professionals could use their expertise and knowledge to foster a trusted and transparent communication environment. This talk is part of the series, “Grappling with Global Corporate Communication Challenges,” in the Bilingual Corporate Communication program, hosted and organized by the Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China.
Abstract: The term Lügenpresse, ‘lying press’, was used by the German National Socialist Party before and during the Third Reich to discredit the news media and to undermine public trust. By 2014, reports of verbal and physical attacks on journalists and news organizations by individuals calling them Lügenpresse, had again become a frequent feature of the public discourse in Germany. While the term ‘fake news’ is used to similar effect and intent in the United States, Lügenpresse is a historically and politically charged expression of distrust in news media on an institutional level. This research examines the responses and institutional strategies of 27 news editors and executive editors in Germany’s leading broadcast, print and online news organizations to the accusations that they are lying to their audiences. Findings indicate that the reemergence of the term Lügenpresse, has led to considerable self-reflection within institutions, in an effort to counter the lack of trust and to demonstratively better serve the public. The main focus across newsrooms is on improving established processes and on making professional standards and practices more visible to the audience.
Meng, J., Reber, B. H., Berger, B. K., Gower, K. K., & Zerfass, A. (2019). North American Communication Monitor 2018-2019. Tracking trends in fake news, issues management, leadership performance, work stress, social media skills, job satisfaction and work environment. Tuscaloosa, AL: The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations. ISBN (paperback): 978-0-578-50179-6. ISBN (electronic): 978-0-578-50180-2.
* Special thanks to Tong Xie and Solyee Kim (Grady doctoral students) for their work as assistant researchers on this book.