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.