It’s not exactly Breaking News that talk-radio host and Fox News personality Sean Hannity likes President Trump a whole lot. Maybe more than that.
So, it wasn’t surprising when Hannity showed up in Missouri Monday night at the end of Trump’s three-state, three #MAGA rally day and interviewed him for his highly-rated Fox News show.
What was unexpected was Trump calling Hannity to the stage to say a few campaign words.
Trump doesn’t normally like to share the rally spotlight. The president was almost an hour into his third rally speech of the day before he mentioned Josh Hawley, the Republican Senate candidate he was ostensibly there to help. But Trump will make an exception for celebrities who are there to like him.
Hannity had tweeted his rally presence but said specifically he would not be speaking. That changed when the president of the United States introduced him. Hannity said more than a few words of effusive support and took a shot at media in the back.
Trump also asked another Fox personality, Judge Jeanine Pirro, onstage. The president had been introduced by talk-radio legend and Cape Girardeau hometown boy Rush Limbaugh.
Officially, the Hannity and Pirro appearances did not go over well with Fox News execs, who issued a statement Tuesday:
Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events. We have an extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight, and we are extremely proud of their work. This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.
Exactly how it was addressed was not addressed.
Most likely because, in all TV candor, it was at most a verbal slap on the wrist. Hannity is regularly the top-rated evening talk show. He’s very popular with great conservative credibility. When a news organization has a highly-paid pundit personality, he and she get a lot of leeway.
Unlike most other political media types, Hannity makes no pretense at being an objective journalist.
And truth be told, Hannity didn’t say anything in praise of Trump that he hasn’t said on-air between lucrative commercials or when speaking or moderating interviews at conservative events such as CPAC.
Now, here’s the real reason: Hannity talks with the president regularly, reportedly daily sometimes.
TV executives people are strange, but none of them in their right mind is going to endanger that kind of executive access, especially with a news generator like Trump.