It should come as no surprise to anyone that Fox News slander-monger Sean Hannity was working hard last week to demean union protesters in Michigan. What should come as a surprise, however, is that Hannity has both a background as a construction worker and is a loyal member of the AFL-CIO. Yes, Sean Hannity has lived the life and knows what the fight is about, but chooses to turn his back on personal history in order to please the powers and pocketbooks that be.
Hannity’s defamation of Michigan union members relied on commonplace fallacies such as the “thugs” label. Nothing to see here.
Yet, as duplicitous online biographies indicate, the radio Goliath once worked in the trades as a construction worker (or a building contractor...or a general contractor...or a home remodeler...it's hard to tell which). A simple twist of fate allowed him to switch careers and become one of the nation’s most popular right-wing pundits.
While working construction jobs in the blue collar bastion of Santa Barbara (if your computer just spontaneously shut off you need to disable the sarcasm detector), Hannity used his sway as a "building contractor" to get his start hosting the talk radio show “Terrible” on KCSB-FM, a volunteer college station at UC Santa Barbara. This according to a 2009 look at the station’s history in the Santa Barbara Independent:
And yet, in 1989, the then-28-year-old Hannity not only served as KCSB’s interim production director but had his very own time slot on the programming schedule. Though not a UCSB student, he managed to get involved with the station while working locally as a building contractor. Back in those days, he possessed, by his own admission, none of his current on-air slickness: “I wasn’t good at it,” he once admitted of his time at KCSB, during an interview on CBS’s The Early Show. “I was terrible.” And even though he only logged 40 total hours in the station’s control room, that was enough time to do what pundits, even rookie ones, do best: Stir up a little controversy.After growing a modest audience in his short time at KCSB, Hannity advertised himself in publications as “'the most talked about college radio host in America” which landed him a gig as the afternoon talk host of WVNN in Athens, Alabama. Let's get this straight: the guy went from contracting work in bleeding blue SoCal to ultra-conservative union-basher in the Deep South? From what the US News & World Report would likely call the "top-ranked bong-smoking university in America" to sharing ideologically driven airspace with Rush Limbaugh!?
The obvious irony in Hannity’s current role as union-basher is the speech he is allowed to freely transmit while protected by his union, the The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), member AFL-CIO. His lack of empathy for the plight of the working man is rendered even less tolerable given the premium health care benefits contained in his collective bargaining agreement achieved via the union to which he pays dues. From the Naples News shows:
A brief overview of "The Health Fund" from the AFTRA website essentially "provides comprehensive medical and hospital benefits, a dental plan, prescription drug program... and substance abuse programs," to all union members.Hannity’s hypocrisy is not reserved for the working man, though. He has a history of taking the Far Right positions on the issue of immigration:
Alas, according to the bio provided on his website, Hannity is the son of Irish immigrants. Claim it, then disclaim it, it's the Hannity way. Hannity has said his position has “evolved” in terms of the DREAM Act, legislation that helps the children of immigrants get financial aid for higher education endeavours, since he had to drop out of NYU for financial reasons. Confusing, I know, since he dropped out of NYU for financial reasons, then spent a couple decades having that not effect his immigration stance whatsover. But hey, do as Sean says, not as Sean does.
If he can change his position to more closely mirror his background in one area, why not stop bullying the workforce he was once/still is a part of? Does Hannity have a "waiting period" for his personal experience to impact his on-air personality? Will we see a pro-worker Hannity in 2016 once he crosses the threshold of utility for his time as a construction working, building contracting home remodeler?
Let's hope so, slash not, slash so.