Sean Hannity and Yellow Journalism

1896-11-08 Yellow Kid, Wikimedia Commons

“Yellow Kid” cartoon, Sunday, November 8, 1896, by Richard Felton Outcault. An example of early “Yellow Journalism.”

Sean Hannity will do whatever it takes to advance his specific point of view and agenda. On his radio show that aired on July 19th, he enlightened his audience as to the real nature of the President.

“Now the president’s saying Trayvon could’ve been me 35 years ago,” Hannity declared, “This is a particularly helpful comment. Is that the president admitting that I guess because what, he was part of the Choom Gang and he smoked pot and he did a little blow.  I’m not sure how to interpret because we know that Trayvon had been smoking pot that night.”

Hannity’s comments show one area where the problem with race relations in our country rests, in the news organizations, where responsibility is not a requirement and where ‘yellow journalism‘ is alive and well.

To Sean Hannity and others that model their success to unprofessional and irresponsible punditry, the message is, “forget about the facts, folks, it’s how you feel that is important.” Their job is to push the right buttons to tug at their listener’s heartstrings, and in history, they would have been the ones inciting the mobs to get out their pitchforks.

Yellow Journalism is defined as the type of journalism that relies on sensationalism and lurid exaggeration to attract readers, and this appears to be exactly the model being used by many news organizations today.

With many news organization’s, their modus operandi is to spread their bombastic, non-intellectual opinions to rile up only their targeted base to stand and defend them, leading to an ‘it’s us versus them’ culture, and to show such a lack of empathy, regarding the President’s speech and the Treyvon Martin case, on a subject that is keenly felt by so many Americans, is beyond the pale for any news organization, whether it is coming from a pundit, or a real news journalist.

Hannity knows exactly what he is doing, and when he gets the horrified reaction from the rational and sane, his base supporters rally to his defense, which helps his numbers rise. It’s a win, win, for him, and dollar signs for those that follow the example.

It’s not very civilized though. The conversations that we should be having in our country today are being drowned out by scared people living in a changing world that is leaving them behind.

 

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13 thoughts on “Sean Hannity and Yellow Journalism

  1. There needs to be some kind of mandatory educational experience of, say, 6 months in a “Black Like Me” event for individuals of Hannity’s ilk. “Black Like Me” was written by John Howard Griffin (pub 1961)and is his book describing his six-week experiences travelling on Greyhound buses (occasionally hitchhiking) throughout the racially segregated states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia passing as a black man. I think the experience would be life alteringly dramatic, to say the least!

    • John Griffin went into it with an open mind and heart, which Sean Hannity could never do. Griffin also acknowledged that it was for only a short time and not his whole life. That makes a big difference as many folks can do someting they don’t like if they know there is an end to it. I have seen politicians ‘live’ on welfare budgets for a mnth. What a joke. They have no clue how it is for some to struggle on welfare year after year. The biggest ruse is the show where a millionaire goes undercover and works side by side with poor folks. Their rewards are the anticipated devotion they receive after they reveal themselves and give folks money. How would they like it if no one thanked them? There would be a whole lot a grumblilng about “those unappreciative people.”

      • I hear the truth in what you have to say, but as an educator I was hoping that an educational experience might be one way to begin an enlightening experience. You are absolutely correct that if you are not open to learning, it probably won’t happen. However, it was my thought this was a more positive suggestion than those that are lurking in the bowels of the darker, underside of my soul.

  2. “forget about the facts, folks, it’s how you feel that is important.” — that’s about right. It’s also what sent Zimmerman home after stalking, chasing and eventually killing an unarmed teenager. The Jurors couldn’t manage an ounce of empathy for a black kid, but totally connected with his killer. Sucks.

    • The article mentions both pundits and journalists that are paid by news organizations.

      “With many news organization’s, their modus operandi is to spread their bombastic, non-intellectual opinions to rile up only their targeted base to stand and defend them, leading to an ‘it’s us versus them’ culture, and to show such a lack of empathy, regarding the President’s speech and the Treyvon Martin case, on a subject that is keenly felt by so many Americans, is beyond the pale for any news organization, whether it is coming from a pundit, or a real news journalist.”

  3. How funny, the quote you are trying to push was in response to people who did not look at the law and understand the verdict itself. When Sean said “forget about the facts, folks, it’s how you feel that is important.” was in response to a caller in spite of the evidence presented, he told the callers “forget about the facts, folks, it’s how you feel that is important.” this is typical taking something out of context and twisting it to fit your own diatribe. I actually listen to his program and it was nothing but caller after caller who ignored the facts of the case and presented their beliefs regardless of what the facts where. Did you actually listen to the show or did you find this on some left wing web site and not do any fact checking yourself? The scary thing really going on is this is a distraction and the American people are falling for it hook line and sinker. The premise here is racism is one sided. If a white or Latino commits a crime against a black person, its a hate crime. If a Black person commits a crime against a white or latino it not a hate crime. A white person is 21% more likely to be victimized by a black person while a black person is only 7% likely to be victimized by a white person (and this is according to a CNN study) so how is this fair? Had the situation been revered and Trevon was the neighborhood watch captain and killed Zimmerman for assaulting him we would have never heard a word about it, it would have been a bullet point on the nightly news. This was a tragedy, but this has nothing to do with race as much as it has to do with the media making it about race. I for one am not going to feel guilty about being white, I am tired of having an opinion on facts and being called a racist for it. Lets not forget the republican party is the party responsible for the emancipation proclamation and it was the democrats her where against any type of equality in the first place, this little piece of history is left out. Its a shame this country has moved passed the point of having a conversation and has to resort to finger pointing. I disapprove of the President because of his policies, not for the color of his skin. The media gives him a pass on everything because of the color of his skin, so who is the real racist here? If George Bush had dropped the ball in Benghazi, and had the IRS investigating liberal groups the media would have had his head on a platter, but because the media doesn’t want the black guy to fail it gets swept under the rug. The media and its white guilt is the problem, lets look at facts and quit quibbling over skin color. The United States is the greatest country on the planet, we have more freedom and opportunity for all races than any other place on earth. Lets embrace that and move on and stop being distracted by race.

    • It is important to note that this article is about Yellow Journalism tactics and the quote by Sean Hannity is just one example. Regardless of the context you reference, his comments are deplorable, no matter what ideological philosophy you may follow.

      Hannity did not say, “forget about the facts, folks, it’s how you feel that is important.” I stated that Hannity and others that follow his example were modeling their message in this fashion, and the result ends up telling the listeners to forget about the facts.

      “To Sean Hannity and others that model their success to unprofessional and irresponsible punditry, the message is, “forget about the facts, folks, it’s how you feel that is important.” Their job is to push the right buttons to tug at their listener’s heartstrings, and in history, they would have been the ones inciting the mobs to get out their pitchforks.”

      I am confused as to how Hannity’s comments are helpful to the national discussion. What is it that he is trying to achieve by making these comments?

      “This is a particularly helpful comment. Is that the president admitting that I guess because what, he was part of the Choom Gang and he smoked pot and he did a little blow. I’m not sure how to interpret because we know that Trayvon had been smoking pot that night.”

      What could Hannity have said before or after this to make it better?

      It is not logical to say this is constructive, and it is laughable to think that others will have no reason to take offense at these statements, and if they take such offense, I have to ask the question of why they were said in the first place.

      Hannity said it to get a rise out of them for ratings. Ratings are everything to these pundits and news organizations, and this is what I am defining as Yellow Journalism, and the entire point of the article. Not the Trayvon Martin trial or even the racial problems that we have in the country.

      It is how the narrative in the country has been handled by the news organizations.

      As to research, I have looked into the history of Yellow Journalism and why it is considered dangerous for the country:

      The term ‘Yellow Journalism’ was probably shortened from the phrase Yellow Kid journalism, which referred to the ‘Yellow Kid‘, a character in the cartoon ‘Hogan’s Alley‘, started in 1895 in the New York World, a newspaper owned by Joseph Pulitzer, that had a reputation for sensationalism.

      William Randolph Hearst emulated Pulitzer’s sensationalist style, and coaxed the artist, R.F. Outcault, to bring over his cartoon character to the New York Journal. In response, Pulitzer commissioned another cartoonist to create another Yellow Kid cartoon to continue the competition that began between the two.

      Teddy Roosevelt also warned of the ‘yellow journalism‘ tactics being used by the likes of William Randolph Hearst, that were not portraying the truth to the public, for their own gain.

      “The liar is no whit better than the thief, and if his mendacity takes the form of slander he may be worse than most thieves,” Roosevelt stated. “It puts a premium upon knavery untruthfully to attack an honest man, or even with hysterical exaggeration to assail a bad man with untruth.”

      When profits are more important than journalistic integrity, you get crap for news, and I am willing to except that, but when it is inciting animosity into the American narrative, then it becomes important to speak against, be it from a liberal or conservative news organization.

      It is telling that I have to highlight a distinction between liberal and conservative news organizations in the first place. The news should be objective, regardless of political persuasion.

      I have written many times how both liberals and conservatives are guilty of this practice, and I am constantly railing against the 24/7 news channels.

      The dangers of yellow journalism today, as I see it, lead to an incitement of the masses for corporation’s profit, and for that reason, I reject it.

    • Speaking of ignoring the facts, the only reason we heard about this is not because of the races of the people involved. It’s because this case was not investigated. It took months and Trayvon Martin’s parents going to the media to get this case investigated. The role of the police is not to decide whether to pursue charges, the role of the police is to collect evidence and present it to the DA and that’s it.

      Obama did not drop anything on Benghazi. Obama didn’t have the IRS doing anything, and had he, they were also investigating liberal organizations. And you know why? Because your pal Karl Rove did an end run and used his political “charity” to donate money in ways that violated the law.

      The real racists are people who suddenly had a problem with the things Bush did now that Obama was doing them. We will stop being distracted by race the minute Fox doesn’t take to the airwaves every time Obama says something and accuses him of trying to start a race war. We’ll stop being distracted the minute people stop citing one sided statistics to “prove” that white people are all moral and upstanding and black people are the “real racists.” Did you know that a white person is more likely to be victimized by another white person than they are by a black person? Probably not. It doesn’t suit your agenda. Do you know that a hate crime requires evidence of bias and that people are rarely actually charged with a hate crime? Seems unlikely. If you feel guilty, that’s your own problem. Guilt is your conscience’s way of telling you that you’re doing wrong. Republicans harp on and on about personal responsibility, but I guess that’s for other people.

  4. Pingback: Sean Hannity and Yellow Journalism | Did You Check First?

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