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It’s a disturbing time in America when we see people who refuse to accept facts based on evidence and instead, create their own realities that promote their biases. Opinion-driven news organizations like Fox News have taken advantage of this sentiment to achieve ratings success – and their anchor, Sean Hannity, is one of its most prominent faces.
Hannity gained recognition in the ’90s a radio host, where Washington insiders would come to promote their agendas. From there, he made the jump to television, where he continues to dominate the news on Fox. Since the election of Donald Trump, Hannity has positioned himself as a defender of the president. It’s no secret that Hannity’s angle is to sell a particular worldview based on his biases, not on objective journalistic standards.
Sadly, this idea of promoting a false narrative has gathered a lot of followers in America. Hannity’s program appeals to a large section of people who have long grown distrustful of the media and politicians. They yearn for someone like Hannity to validate their beliefs, and some even see him as a voice of reason in a world that they deem liberal.
However, it’s essential to reflect on the type of media landscape where Hannity and programs like his find success. People look for sensational media and fear-mongering that confirms their ideas. Hannity places his viewers in an echo chamber, in a world where only his opinions are valid, and everything else is a lie. It’s difficult to think of a world where we don’t have fact-checking institutions and good journalists, as it can be dangerous for our democracy. The idea of creating narratives that serve our objectives instead of confronting reality head-on is not sustainable.
Hannity’s stance also sets a dangerous precedent of using media platforms to misinform the general public. People have the right to their opinions and beliefs. But when anchors use airtime to shape client-based propaganda and create divides, it ceases being journalism and becomes propaganda. This approach creates problems, and citizens unaware and interconnected with what is happening tend to be vulnerable to manipulation.
Hannity’s bias has a big influence, especially in the Republican Party, where many elected officials understand that they can’t cross the line, lest they face the wrath of his followers. Hannity has stood behind and supported people who have been accused of sexual misconduct in the past, and he’s continued to pull such strings to try and shift political agendas. When biased news programming controls political decisions, it erodes democracy.
What is the endgame with supporters of Hannity and his kind of journalism? It’s often hard to tell. The people described as the “base” of the Republican Party, and those that fervently support Hannity and Tucker Carlson, hide within their own realities, convinced that their beliefs and ideals are the right ones. Their sources for information may only come from the echo chamber that is the Fox News network. They may lose touch with reality and what is happening outside their narrow bubble.
Our democracy is dependent on facts-based, objective journalism, where people are free to express opinions, and the facts drive the narrative. It’s concerning when we see this system under threat. Hannity may be seen as just one responsible party, but his conduct speaks to a larger issue. His show represents the failings of our society and our democracy at large.
We need to challenge journalism rooted in biased propaganda, using critical thinking to separate fact from fiction. That means we must come out of the echo chamber we’ve been living in and take a hard look at reality, wherever it takes us. Hannity can continue his antics, and Fox News can carry on appealing to Americans who believe their opinions are the right ones, but it only serves to underscore the desperation of a world where people are trending towards delusion.
In conclusion, Hannity’s legacy will be as the face of opinion-driven news that put their biases before objective fact-checking. The fear mongering he’s built into his platform only creates more division and erodes far beyond the media. Hannity’s brand of frenzy-generating media could lead to a dangerous new era where objectivity, critical thinking, and responsible journalism might be things of the past. We must demand more of our media figures and ask them to prioritize the truth.