LOS ANGELES, August 16, 2013 — Sean Hannity is about to leave Cumulus Radio, according to several reports on Thursday. Rumors initially had Cumulus, the second largest radio network in the United States, dropping Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. By yesterday Politico reported that Limbaugh would stay, while Mediaite reported that Hannity would be cut loose.
Hannity has been a leader in talk radio for years. His show still draws the second-largest audience on talk radio, after Limbaugh. Despite terrific ratings, loyal advertisers and fantastic guests, liberal critics are claiming that he will lose both his radio slot and his prime-time position on Fox because of falling ratings and growing disinterest from young conservatives.
The record must be set straight.
Liberals would be thrilled if Hannity fell. President Obama singled him out for disdain on the campaign trail and upon taking office. Hannity has been attacked by paragons like Al Sharpton and Anthony Weiner.
Besides Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, few people inspire rage among liberals than Hannity. Liberal critics have one problem. Regarding Hannity himself, they are wrong.
The radio allegations are false. Hannity chose to leave Cumulus. Clear Channel and Cumulus are two major radio players with enough animosity between them to start a small war. Clear Channel syndicates Hannity’s show, and it reportedly refuses to budge with Cumulus over syndication fees. Hannity chose Clear Channel, and Cumulus did not take the rejection gracefully.
Hannity occupies an important position in conservative talk radio. Bill O’Reilly and Limbaugh are both fantastic in different ways, but Hannity plays a vital role on radio and television that these men refuse to play.
O’Reilly’s weakness is his obsession with being seen as fair. Liberals have successfully exploited his sensitivity to accusations of bias and bigotry. O’Reilly can be rolled when his feelings are hurt.
Hannity hits back hard. He does not care how liberals perceive him. He is an ardent conservative perfectly willing to take on liberals and Republicans who betray the conservative philosophy.
Limbaugh is brilliant and funny, but he virtually never allows guests on his program. His show is about what he alone thinks. This means that other talented conservatives cannot use his show as an outlet to advance themselves and spread the conservative message.
Hannity has guests on his radio and television programs that all conservative programs should have. Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center documents liberal media bias. Mark Levin, a respected radio host in his own right, is a constitutional scholar able to break down Obamacare. Michelle Malkin is a fire-breather who reports on political corruption in both parties.
Hannity also gives ample time to people who disagree with him. Civil Rights Attorney Tamara Holder is a frequent guest. They often spar fiercely, but never in a mean-spirited way. President Obama claims to want an honest national discussion. Hannity offers that every weekday.
This is a key component of what makes Hannity as vital as he is to the conservative cause. He is that rare breed of commentator who can speak to the hard-edged conservative base without coming across as angry or mean.
Michael Savage bragged recently that he would be replacing Hannity on radio stations all across America. Savage refers to liberals as “Red Diaper Doper Babies.” This demonizing of political opponents only hurts the Republican Party and conservatism.
Hannity is an optimistic Ronald Reagan conservative who fiercely debates liberals on policy without getting in the gutter personally. He gives a vital voice to other conservatives who believe they have every right to be angry with the current state of American politics and government. He speaks to the disenfranchised outsiders on the right while maintaining a conversational style and tone that is very mainstream. On top of all of this, his Freedom Concerts have raised millions of dollars for wounded soldiers and the children of fallen soldiers.
The left knows that shutting him up would be another way to help shut conservatism itself down. They do not fear Savage or O’Reilly. Even Limbaugh was briefly wounded last year. Hannity is the guy the left has been unable to take down.
Conservatives should do well to not do the left’s dirty work for them. After all he has done for conservatives and conservatism, his name deserves to remain untarnished. He, Malkin, Bozell, Levin, and the rest of the conservatives must not have their voices silenced.
They are us and we are them, and none of us are going anywhere.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian. Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.”