Viewers of Sean Hannity’s weeknight primetime program on Fox News have certainly become familiar with Sara Carter, as she makes near-daily appearances on the show to discuss the latest news about the “deep state” allegedly operating within the U.S. government.
Recent reporting suggests that Fox News executives take exception to the way Hannity routinely introduces Carter as an “investigative reporter” and have asked him to stop doing so, but that he has refused to abide by that request.
The distinction between news and opinion
The revelation came amid a lengthy and in-depth article from Mediaite, which looked at how the Fox News Channel has been dealing with coordinated advertiser boycotts targeted at several primetime hosts, as well as how Fox generally tries to differentiate the hard news reporting from the opinion shows in its daily program lineup, something other news networks tend not to do.
That distinction between news and opinion has become crucial at a time when the network is facing concerted opposition from the political left and other media outlets.
Though Fox has attempted to cultivate a reputation for being “fair and balanced,” the network has recently been negatively smeared as “state-run media” and a “propaganda machine” that serves as the unofficial mouthpiece of President Donald Trump’s administration, characterizations that stem from the fact that the network doesn’t report negatively on every single thing done by the president and his administration.
Hannity, along with Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, are quite obviously regarded as pro-Trump opinion hosts, and they are generally given wide latitude by network executives in terms of discussion topics and invited guests, some of whom are not permitted to appear on the hard news programs that air during the day.
Hannity stands firm
Sara Carter is reportedly one of those guests who has been “banned” from the news side of Fox, as network officials do not regard her as a serious journalist.
Indeed, the Mediaite report stated that Fox executives asked Hannity to cease referring to Carter as an “investigative reporter” because her reports are not vetted by the network, nor do they meet the news division’s editorial guidelines.
However, Hannity has essentially ignored that request from the executives, and has continued to introduce Carter as an “investigative reporter” when she is invited on to discuss the latest tidbits she and others have dug up about the inner workings of the Obama administration and the still ongoing efforts to undermine President Trump.
The Mediaite report suggested that Hannity really doesn’t care what the network executives think or want, as the top-rated host — who reportedly has a $35 million contract — is largely viewed as being “untouchable” due to his status as the top star in the lineup.
That said, the report did reveal that Hannity had reluctantly given in to executive demands on a prior occasion, when he was told to cease his extensive coverage in 2017 of the conspiracy surrounding the mysterious death of a Democratic National Committee staffer named Seth Rich, who had been tied by some to the 2016 hack of the DNC’s email server, much of which was later released to the public via WikiLeaks.
Sara Carter may not meet the network’s definition of a vetted and approved “investigative reporter,” but Hannity has thus far refused to bow to the demands from executives that he stop referring to her as such. Given his strong stance against being bullied, it is likely that he will only double down and continue to do so.