Sean Hannity is having a tough time dealing with the ups and downs of Election 2016. Here's an actual god's-honest-tweet the Fox News host posted recently, declaring in all-caps outrage that "Journalism is DEAD IN AMERICA!"
Journalism is DEAD IN AMERICA! pic.twitter.com/50ZBOTvfHy
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) October 26, 2016
Let's stipulate a few caveats before engaging Hannity's, um, thesis. Yes, there is media bias in American journalism, with most reporters who cover politics leaning toward views that are decidedly more friendly to figures such as Hillary Clinton and parties such as the Democratic party. There are all sorts of blind spots, especially in so-called legacy media, which at this point not only includes outfits such as The New York Times but also greying institutions such as…Fox News tbh. To the extent that the media isn't liberal, it's conservative or, even worse, simply reactionary to everything new and different. I could go on, but I think most of us—especially when us is a dog whistle for libertarians, that happy breed that feels like we never quite get the respect, attention, and column inches we so richly deserve—can agree that media bias exists.
And yet… Has there ever been a better time for consumers and producers of news, journalism, commentary, and whatever else you want to talk about? I don't think so, especially if you're part of what used to be call the alt-media (back when something called the mainstream kind of existed).
I've been at Reason since 1993 and I know our trajectory has been upwards (I rush to note of course that correlation doesn't imply causation!) my entire time here. A large part of that was due to the person who hired me, then-Editor Virginia Postrel, who had a strong vision for the print magazine in terms of in-depth, serious policy and think pieces and also got us going on the web back when most media outfits didn't give a fuck about that sort of thing. During the 2000s, we seriously beefed up our online presence and the range of topics we covered and material we produced. Thanks to the vision of Drew Carey and Reason Foundation president David Nott, we launched Reason TV in 2007, taking advantage of ever-cheaper technology and distribution possibilities to create online videos. Under the auspices of Reason mag Editor in Chief Matt Welch and, since earlier this year, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason is approaching its 50th birthday (we were started as a mimeographed 'zine in 1968 by the late, great Lanny Friedlander) with a vastly larger and more-influential audience (that's a compliment to you, gentle readers!) than we ever imagined. And we're still growing in size and offerings! More than 4 million visitors a month at this website! About 2.5 million viewers for our vids on YouTube and Facebook! And check out our refurbished podcasts! Subscribe here and here!
So screw you, Sean Hannity, when you say "Journalism is DEAD IN AMERICA!"
To be clear, Donald Trump's presidential dreams may be dead. Part of Sean Hannity's soul may be dead. A subset of Republican bigwigs, especially those who embrace the past and fear the future may be dead.
But journalism? Not so much.
Even or especially at Fox News. Consider this kinda-sorta epic smackdown between Newt Gingrich and Hannity's intra-channel rival Megyn Kelly. What you are witnessing below is the end of the former Speaker, who helped usher in decades of Republican control of the House of Representatives, admitting that he's got absolutely nothing left to talk about or think about that might be of interest to the dwindling number of his newsletter subscribers. He's more stuck in the goddamn '90s than Snapple, Oasis, and the cast of Full House.
By virtually all accounts, Donald Trump will lose on Election Day and he might even drag the Republican Senate down with him. As someone who finds both Trump and Hillary Clinton and the GOP and Democrats unacceptable choices due to their anti-freedom policies, I approach November 9 with decidedly mixed feelings: Why can't both of them lose?
The good news? Even if Trump does somehow win (the sound that you're hearing? That's Sean Hannity talking about mistaken Brexit polls!), there will be plenty of work for the living, breathing, thriving journalists at Reason and elsewhere to do. For god's sake, the only thing as bad as a Trump win would be a Clinton win—and vice versa.
Come the day after the election, Sean Hannity will probably spend a lot of time tossing midget footballs into the Long Island Sound and cursing the media but the rest of us journalists—well, at least those of us at Reason magazine, Reason.com, and Reason TV—know that Election Day is simply the renewal date of a full-employment act for folks who want to bring about "Free Minds and Free Markets."