“It’s absolutely bad for the culture.” – Sean Hannity on blogging, 04.07.08
The criticism can be understood on a level of mere survival, because as its availability becomes universal, the Internet’s blogosphere will render obsolete Mr. Hannity’s line of work, reducing him and people like him to what they always should have been: ordinary.
The great irony of Mr. Hannity’s statement is that he is a political paleo-blogger–little more than a blogger with a tie, a microphone, and a superiority complex–as blogging fills the role once reserved to talk radio call-in shows. His criticism of blogging is not unlike formal news sources’ long-standing criticisms of talk radio hosts. Being called an incendiary blowhard by those who profess to have some greater authority on politics has not taught Mr. Hannity anything in the way of respect for individual opinions. It should come as no surprise that he practices that which he finds deplorable in others–it goes right along with his stance on the struggle against religious extremists.
Mr. Hannity’s statement unmasked, is that free speech is bad for the culture. He has always used his platform as a way of influencing legislation, and here he has introduced his next target: freedom of speech. Although Mr. Hannity would say he supports free speech, and that he wants all Americans to feel free to speak their minds, he will support denying them a conduit in which to speak it. Closely monitored free speech, filtered by the call screeners, the news editors, or the corporate sponsors, is what Sean Hannity supports. True freedom of speech is just too dangerous to Mr. Hannity’s version of freedom, so it must be restricted so as to prevent persuasive dissent against the mode of government Mr. Hannity and his colleagues have worked long hours to create. Whether it corrupts culture is unclear, but blogging certainly is capable of adding a pure stream to the foul fountain of today’s media propaganda, just as it is capable of adding a foul stream.