By Peter Barry Chowka
On November 28, there was more evidence that Sean Hannity is the second most wanted man on the take down list of the anti-Trump Resistance. On that day, the New York Times – in earlier days the “newspaper of record” and still the most influential, and lately Deep State driven, agenda-setting newspaper in the U.S. – posted an 8,000 word cover story by Matthew Shaer that will be published in its next Sunday magazine (Dec. 3), along with a striking cover photo of the subject.
The subject? Sean Hannity. The cover title? “How Far Will Sean Hannity Go?” (in his defense of President Trump). The photo is a comical pose struck by Hannity taken during a half hour photo shoot during which, Hannity said, hundreds of pictures were snapped. The one that was selected by the Times editors, according to Hannity, is the worst one, showing him looking angry and scary, if not demonic. The Drudge Report described its link to it on Tuesday as “NYT goes for anger.”
The ultimate target in all of this is the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. The attempted take down of Hannity would be a significant step on the path to that final objective of regime change.
The campaign to take down Sean Hannity which began in earnest months ago is now expanding and intensifying. In addition to being the most prominent defender of President Trump, Hannity is the most prolific and consistent mainstream media figure to, night after night, expose the scandals and criminality of the Democrats and the Deep State – all of which go largely unreported by the rest of the MSM.
Hannity made light of the whole New York Times Sunday Magazine spread on his radio and Fox News televisionprograms later on Tuesday. A close read of the article, however, offers some alarming insights into the tactics of the Trump-hating MSM.
The Times story is correct in much of the information about Hannity that it presents. But it is never without a leftist anti-Trump spin. The Times reporter and a photographer also got Hannity, who cooperated fully with the reporter, to take them to his humble childhood home on Long Island, New York, where they knocked on the door and were given a tour of the house by the current residents.
Early on, the article describes Hannity as hosting a “fact free” program. Really? Hannity’s broadcasts on Fox News for at least the past six months have been filled not only with probing and verifiable facts but the input of some of the most credible and accomplished investigative journalists from mainstream publications. These include John Solomon from The Hill, Sara Carter from Circa News, and Fox News’s own stable of reporters, including attorney and anchor Gregg Jarrett, that advance the stories that Hannity is reporting. Sean Hannity is not a solo act or a one-man band making up stories. To call Hannity’s and his contributors’ work “fact free” is ridiculous – and it’s a lie.
The Times author also links Hannity to Alex Jones of Infowars. Based on sources that I have, I doubt that Hannity and his staff are closely following what Infowars is doing, and they certainly aren’t taking their talking points or information from Alex Jones.
The role of Vox
It turns out that the Times article on Hannity incorporates attack journalism that originated with Vox, the far-left website co-founded in 2014 by leftist blogger and writer Ezra Klein, a darling of the trendy, punk ethos-worshipping commentariat. Klein was one of the first to catch an early wave of social media, in this case narcissistic self-obsessed political blogging, while he was still a student at USC in the early 2000s.
Later, Klein went on to write articles and blog for the Washington Post. He has appeared for years as a frequent guest on the partisan prime time leftist echo chamber programs pushed out by MSNBC. Among his other claims to fame, Klein is responsible for starting a super-secret off-the-record online chat forum in Washington, D.C. in 2007 called JournoList, involving the active participation of many of the top journalists in the country, all of them left leaning. The effort was exposed in a 2009 article in Politico, of all places, titled “JournoList: Inside the Echo Chamber:”
For the past two years, several hundred left-leaning bloggers, political reporters, magazine writers, policy wonks and academics have talked stories and compared notes in an off-the-record online meeting space called JournoList.
Proof of a vast liberal media conspiracy?
Not at all, says Ezra Klein, the 24-year-old American Prospect blogging wunderkind who formed JournoList in February 2007. “Basically,” he says, “it’s just a list where journalists and policy wonks can discuss issues freely.”
But some of the journalists who participate in the online discussion say — off the record, of course — that it has been a great help in their work. On the record, The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin acknowledged that a Talk of the Town piece — he won’t say which one — got its start in part via a conversation on JournoList. And JLister Eric Alterman, The Nation writer and CUNY professor, said he’s seen discussions that start on the list seep into the world beyond.
Imagine, for a moment, if an identical group of right leaning mainstream media journalists had participated in a similar super-secret chat forum, for the purpose of exchanging and floating ideas and brainstorming conservative stories that would later make it into the mainstream press. Well, you couldn’t imagine it because it would never happen – there are virtually no major mainstream journalists anymore who lean right.
The writer at Vox whose recent writings on Hannity apparently served as a fundamental basis for the Times article is Alvin Chang. On Nov. 14, Vox published Chang’s attack article “Sean Hannity has become the media’s top conspiracy theorist.” In the Times article, which in many ways mimics and cribs the details and spin from the Vox article from two weeks earlier, Times author Shaer writes that Hannity:
…is also a figure prone to barreling headfirst into the murky territory between opinion and out-and-out conspiracy theorism [sic]. (snip)
In November, Alvin Chang, a writer for Vox, crunched data from two years of Hannity TV transcripts and concluded that Hannity was, in his mentions of topics like “the deep state” and the uranium deal, the media’s “top conspiracy theorist.”
On November 22, another Vox employee, Video Producer, Strikethrough at Vox.com, Carlos Maza, who describes himself as the “gay wonk,” posted an 8-minute Vox video “How Trump turned Sean Hannity into a conspiracy theorist.” The professionally-produced, incredibly slick and detailed video creatively presents Hannity as a conspiracy monger parroting the rantings of Infowars founder Alex Jones (“the most hated man in American media,” as I described him in an article on June 18, 2017). On November 29, 2017, after five days online at YouTube, Maza’s anti-Hannity video had racked up over 650,000 views.
On the same day as his video appeared, Maza is credited with writing another attack article on Hannity for Vox, this one titled “How Trump turned Sean Hannity into a conspiracy theorist – The Fox News host is sounding a lot like Alex Jones.” The article features a still frame grabbed from the video depicting Hannity as wearing a tin foil hat.
So here we have it: The New York Times, the previously respected “newspaper of record,” is now little more than a conduit and a mouthpiece for the über left wing rag Vox and two of its chief propagandists, Chang and the self-described “gay nerd” Maza – doing the bidding of the anti-Trump Resistance. Oh, it should not be overlooked that the only other job that Maza has ever had, before he joined Vox last January, was to work at Media Matters for America from 2011 until his job with Vox started.
Sean Hannity was prescient and right on when he has said of the MSM starting several years back that “journalism is dead in America.”