Today's youth may not know who Tokyo Rose is, but everybody knows who Sean Hannity is, he's America's second biggest talk radio personality and also one of the richest media figures in the U.S., currently working under a $100 million dollar contract.
But is Hannity a hardworking American success story, or has his contentious brand of talk actually deteriorated public discourse in the country?
Hannity fills the strong demand for right-wing programming, covering stories left unreported by the "liberal media". But hosts like Hannity also let standing they were accused of acting as media surrogates for Karl Rove's White House propaganda operation, deceptively spinning 'news/talk' to condition American "hearts and minds" just as they did to pacify Iraqis.
Harkening us back to undisclosed propaganda operations meant to manipulate radio and media overseas to sway public opinion , what would domestic propaganda look and sound like in America? Perhaps a charming, homespun "everyman" who doesn't delve too deeply into issues and doesn't allow open vetting of his arguments. But in breaking news, Hannity may actually be linked to dangerous terrorist assassins (more on that below).
With audience numbers between 11 and 14 million, Hannity only exists in a bubble world, too controversial to appear outside it for his dubious ethics, exploiting loopholes that makes imbalanced political broadcasts legal. Hannity claims the program is simply "entertainment", while expressing strong political opinions, clearly endorses candidates, aiding them in on-air fundraising and routinely threatening that calamity will befall those who does not vote his way.
Hannity's greatest single issue is evangelizing tax cuts for the wealthy -- who he says then with a straigh face will voluntarily create American jobs. The tax cuts enacted by George W. Bush put hundreds of thousands of dollars per year back into the pockets of those in Hannity's earnings bracket. This, as middle class wages stagnated, spending increased, deficits exploded and ultimately, unemployment rose - the opposite effect Hannity promised.
Hannity is today faced with a changing reality with the dramatic economic plunge coming mere weeks before election day, our nation has unequivocally chosen Obama's recovery plan over the stated GOP plan.
In a display of corpse-humping usually reserved for the criminally obscene, Hannity invokes Reagan on an almost hourly basis, reading off a list of bullet points: under the Gipper we had the longest sustained period of economic growth, we saw jobs created, we saw the "tax rates" cut dramatically.
Hannity's Disproven Lies about Reaganomics
But Hannity is cherrypicking: because the growth came on the back of soaring debt, the tax cuts enriched Americans only by mortgaging their children's future income. The new jobs were lower paying, often "second jobs", consolidating industries recklessly, fueling the nation's big-box-stores to kill US retail jobs with benefits. Our troubles today are magnified because of the interest you and I pay on this debt and it will be even worse for our children.
I've never heard any supporter of Reaganomics defend the deficit (you may try below). Reagan was a cunning master of words and a charming silver screen star, but it was he who first signed off on a multi-trillion dollar debt that still compromises the US today.
Was it the Liberal Congress?
Blaming Tip O'Neill and liberal spending programs is hypocrisy when defense appropriations ballooned under Reagan to dwarf all else. Yes, while Reagan bloviated against big government, his own spending-to-borrowing ratio made him a liar, taking the national debt from under 1 trillion to almost to 4.3 trillion when his VP left office, with insurmountably growing interest handed off. The Democrats stood by, simply the smaller Santa Claus.
Hannity, Bush II and Economic Distaster Cometh
George W. Bush, who continues to enjoy Hannity's unwavering support took the national debt from $5.7 trillion to $10.6 trillion. Hannity has no answer for this other then sweeping it under the rug. He remains the biggest media voice pushing for Bush's economic policies, almost as if he was a spokesman getting daily talking points from Bush's most senior adviser Karl Rove.