There's no question about it, Sean Hannity is Donald Trump's biggest defender at Fox News. And his full throated defense of his God-Emperor has at times caused him to attack other conservatives, including some of his co-workers, as he did after the collapse of the GOP's Obamacare replacement legislation.
There are some conservatives who are worried that Trump is damaging the conservative movement, and they are less than happy about his supporters like Hannity being held up as the best and brightest commentators American conservatism has to offer. One conservative outlet that is not particularly enamored with the Trump/Hannity brand of conservatism is the National Review, the flagship publication of the American right founded by William F. Buckley. In January 2016 the editors of that magazine penned a commentary in which they concluded
Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot in behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.
So it seemed rather strange to some observers that the Media Research Center (MRC) would bestow on Hannity an award named in honor of Buckley. One of those observers was New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, who wrote after the award was announced,
If we have reached the point where rank-and-file conservatives see nothing amiss with giving Hannity an award named for Buckley, then surely there’s a Milton Friedman Prize awaiting Steve Bannon for his insights on free trade. And maybe Sean Spicer can receive the Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent for his role in exposing “fake news.” The floor’s the limit.
Or, in Hannity’s case, the crawl space beneath it.
Now CNN is reporting that Buckley's son Christopher called the folks at the MRC to object to Hannity receiving an award named after his father.
A source familiar with the situation tells CNN that Christopher Buckley "expressed great dismay" at the announcement that the award would go to Hannity, who has spent a great deal of time insulting conservative intellectuals on Twitter, particularly since he became a strong supporter of Donald Trump.
Buckley, sources say, called the Media Research Center and expressed his disapproval. Sources tell CNN that the MRC acquiesced and will no longer give the award to him.
CNN's sources also told the network that Hannity was allowed to claim that he will be unable to receive the award due to "a scheduling conflict" so this wouldn't look like the huge smackdown that it is.
When the story broke on Friday morning, Hannity lost it on Twitter. In a series of tweets he attacked CNN and the report's author, Jake Tapper. First it was the "I couldn't make it so I said 'thanks but no thanks'" line:
But then his rant changed to sound like that middle schooler who didn't win the trophy for best football player: "Awards are bullshit, anyway."
Now remember, all of this is supposed to be "fake news" made up by CNN. So if that was the case, why did Hannity attack Christopher Buckley, which is what happened next.
Then, in a reply to a fan who pondered whether Buckley "let emotions deem who is a worthy recipient," Hannity went after National Review Online.
Jake Tapper pushed back with a tweet of his own.
To which Hannity replied,
Sean Hannity has never been a rational figure. He's a bomb thrower who is the antithesis of the conservative "intellectualism" of Buckley and the National Review. It is hilarious enough that he has been rejected for an award that he obviously wanted very badly, but his reaction to the snub is even better.
Twitter has been the subject of a lot of criticism over the past few years, but sometimes it is a source of news and a great source of entertainment. And without it we wouldn't have the chance to watch the decline and fall of Sean Hannity in real time, which is a thoroughly beautiful thing.