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Sean Hannity Interview wtih the President was a Campaign Ad not, well, an Interview by a Journalist

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Sean Hannity Interview wtih the President was a Campaign Ad not, well, an Interview by a Journalist

The pregame Super Bowl interview with the president of the United States was never intended to be super hard-hitting, like it’s a sit-down with “60 Minutes.” Traditionally, it has been a mixture of peThe pregame Super Bowl interview with the president of the United States was never intended to be super hard-hitting, like it’s a sit-down with “60 Minutes.” Traditionally, it has been a mixture of pertinent current affairs and a couple of light football questions.

Still, any time a network has exclusive one-on-one time with the president, it is bound to conduct a responsible, professional and accountable interview, especially with so many people (perhaps as many as 20 million) tuning in.

Hopes for that happening Sunday pretty much disappeared when Fox chose noted Trump supporter Sean Hannity to conduct the interview instead of an actual Fox News journalist, such as Chris Wallace or Bret Baier. And those hopes of a responsible Q&A disappeared completely just moments into the eight-minute segment, which looked more like a campaign ad than an interview.

In a word, Hannity’s performance was pathetic.

No pushbacks. No hard questions. Just a series of softballs that allowed the president to belittle the Democratic presidential field and completely duck any questions about the details of impeachment.

Longtime journalist Katie Couric, who knows a thing or two about conducting interviews, tweeted:

“The interview of @POTUS was hardly hard hitting. Whatever you think, some challenging questions were in order. Instead, it was largely an opportunity for him to field softballs and belittle his opponents. #sad”

Yes, challenging questions were in order. For just the third time in the history of our country, a president is being impeached. And yet Hannity never asked about the specific allegations. Instead, he asked about Trump’s reaction to impeachment, if it’s a campaign issue, what has hurt him the most about it and whether or not he would delay Tuesday’s scheduled State of the Union address.

The questions allowed Trump to play victim instead of answering charges.

Then came the most indefensible part of the interview in which Hannity just threw out names and allowed Trump to, one by one, criticize and insult those names. Aside from the top Democrats running for president, Hannity also asked about Hunter Biden, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.

No one expected Hannity to turn up the heat too high on Trump, but he did everything but fetch slippers and put out a footstool to make Trump as comfortable as possible. He could have asked at least one or two stiff questions.

Hannity then wrapped up with a question about the coronavirus and, finally, a question about why Trump likes sports.

Look, it’s no secret that Fox News, as a whole, backs Trump. The network is sympathetic to the president, supports the president, and its programming is geared to those who are sympathetic to and support Trump. So it’s not as if Sunday’s interview should come as a big surprise.

And yet somehow Hannity’s one-on-one, which was taped Saturday at Mar-a-Lago, managed to do even more damage to whatever credibility Fox News has left as a serious news organization. Believe it or not, Fox News still likes to think of itself as a legitimate news source. It has used phrases such as “We report, you decide” and “fair and balanced” and “most watched, most trusted” to describe its network.

Yet when it had the chance to live up to such standards and look like a proper news outlet on one of the biggest platforms of the year, it showed its true colors.

Choosing Hannity might have pleased the president and much of his base, but it was confirmation that Fox News cares more about pleasing the right than doing its job as a news source.

This isn’t about Trump’s answers. And it’s more than just Hannity’s feeble questions. It was about the higher-ups at a news division turning over their airways to Hannity in the biggest interview of the year and allowing Trump to run amok. That right there should tell you where Fox News stands.
rtinent current affairs and a couple of light football questions.

Still, any time a network has exclusive one-on-one time with the president, it is bound to conduct a responsible, professional and accountable interview, especially with so many people (perhaps as many as 20 million) tuning in.

Hopes for that happening Sunday pretty much disappeared when Fox chose noted Trump supporter Sean Hannity to conduct the interview instead of an actual Fox News journalist, such as Chris Wallace or Bret Baier. And those hopes of a responsible Q&A disappeared completely just moments into the eight-minute segment, which looked more like a campaign ad than an interview.

In a word, Hannity’s performance was pathetic.

No pushbacks. No hard questions. Just a series of softballs that allowed the president to belittle the Democratic presidential field and completely duck any questions about the details of impeachment.

Longtime journalist Katie Couric, who knows a thing or two about conducting interviews, tweeted:

“The interview of @POTUS was hardly hard hitting. Whatever you think, some challenging questions were in order. Instead, it was largely an opportunity for him to field softballs and belittle his opponents. #sad

Yes, challenging questions were in order. For just the third time in the history of our country, a president is being impeached. And yet Hannity never asked about the specific allegations. Instead, he asked about Trump’s reaction to impeachment, if it’s a campaign issue, what has hurt him the most about it and whether or not he would delay Tuesday’s scheduled State of the Union address.

The questions allowed Trump to play victim instead of answering charges.

Then came the most indefensible part of the interview in which Hannity just threw out names and allowed Trump to, one by one, criticize and insult those names. Aside from the top Democrats running for president, Hannity also asked about Hunter Biden, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi.

No one expected Hannity to turn up the heat too high on Trump, but he did everything but fetch slippers and put out a footstool to make Trump as comfortable as possible. He could have asked at least one or two stiff questions.

Hannity then wrapped up with a question about the coronavirus and, finally, a question about why Trump likes sports.

Look, it’s no secret that Fox News, as a whole, backs Trump. The network is sympathetic to the president, supports the president, and its programming is geared to those who are sympathetic to and support Trump. So it’s not as if Sunday’s interview should come as a big surprise.

And yet somehow Hannity’s one-on-one, which was taped Saturday at Mar-a-Lago, managed to do even more damage to whatever credibility Fox News has left as a serious news organization. Believe it or not, Fox News still likes to think of itself as a legitimate news source. It has used phrases such as “We report, you decide” and “fair and balanced” and “most watched, most trusted” to describe its network.

Yet when it had the chance to live up to such standards and look like a proper news outlet on one of the biggest platforms of the year, it showed its true colors.

Choosing Hannity might have pleased the president and much of his base, but it was confirmation that Fox News cares more about pleasing the right than doing its job as a news source.

This isn’t about Trump’s answers. And it’s more than just Hannity’s feeble questions. It was about the higher-ups at a news division turning over their airways to Hannity in the biggest interview of the year and allowing Trump to run amok. That right there should tell you where Fox News stands.

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