The making of Sean Hannity: How a Long Island kid learned to channel red-state rage
The president and his favorite prime-time pundit are both New Yorkers of significant means who talk like they grew up in the tough part of town. One drenches his well-done steaks in ketchup and the other favors Coors on ice. Both have long traveled by private jet, yet both feel somehow spurned by the elites.
Donald Trump and Sean Hannity champion the little guy, the forgotten men and women, the audience that has cheered Hannity on as he emerged in the past nine months as perhaps the most dependable pro-Trump voice in the mainstream media, as well as a friend and adviser to the president.
In the process, Fox News’s top-rated host has regained ratings supremacy, pushed back against an organized boycott of his advertisers and quieted rumors of his impending departure from the network.
Hannity, long a movement conservative, nonetheless embraced Trump, who is largely allergic to ideology. Like the president, who has been a Republican, a Democrat and an independent through the years, Hannity isn’t necessarily what he appears to be.
He denies being a journalist, but has said, “I think a lot of the reporting we do is better than the mainstream media.” He covets being in a position of authority, leading a movement, yet he repeatedly embraces storylines that prove to be inaccurate. He’s not a politician, but he takes positions, which have, as he puts it, a way of “evolving.” He was, for example, against amnesty for illegal immigrants, and then he was for creating “a pathway to citizenship,” and then he was against that idea.
What Hannity has stood for — at least for the past couple of years — is Trump. Rival TV host Joe Scarborough calls him Trump’s lap dog. Hannity, a still-rambunctious 55, insists he’s not; he’s pushed back against the president on tax reform and health care, for example.
But the president instinctively understands that his people are Hannity’s people and vice versa. At an August rally, when Trump bashed the media as “the source of division” in the nation, he made a single exception: “How good is Hannity?” he said to rising cheers. “How good is Hannity? And he’s a great guy and an honest guy.”
Read more at The Washington Post.