“I know that people hate when I cite online polling,” Sean Hannity recently said on his Fox News show. “But when you see The Hill, and you see Slate and Time.com, these are not mainstream conservative polling or websites,” Hannity continued.
“And when they vote after a debate so overwhelmingly for Trump, it’s telling me something.”
Online polls, apparently, mean something to Sean Hannity. He obviously believes they have at least some validity and are worth reporting to his audience.
But, this is not what Hannity said when Ron Paul consistently won Fox News online polls during the 2008 Republican primaries.
Here’s a short refresher:
In this video collage, when Fox News’ Alan Colmes begins announcing the results of their online poll after a GOP primary debate in New Hampshire in 2007, he reported that Ron Paul had a significant lead over the other candidates.
“Here we go again,” Hannity said, talking over Colmes, “It’s driving me crazy.”
In another segment, Colmes continued to report that Paul is winning. “Wait, wait, wait, you know what? They’re redialing by the second,” Hannity said, implying that Ron Paul doesn’t have much support, that his fans were simply voting multiple times and all-around undermining the significance of the poll.
“(Ron Paul) is having all those three percent of people call in…” Hannity added, reinforcing the idea that Paul’s support was somehow inflated in the online poll.
Hannity seemed intent on undermining Paul’s campaign, and strangely enough, the integrity of his own network’s poll.
Of course, Hannity was correct at the time to note that online polls don’t necessarily reflect conventional polls or even political reality. The conservative host just seems to have completely changed his mind now that Donald Trump is the Republican nominee.
Fox News heads recently asked producers and talent on their network not to cite online polls.
Hannity ain’t having it.
Business Insider’s Oliver Darcy reports, “Dana Blanton, vice president of public-opinion research at Fox News, had laid out clearly to network producers that unscientific online polls ‘do not meet our editorial standards’ and should not be used on air.”
“Sean Hannity, evidently, did not get the memo,” Darcy adds.
“Hannity, taking a page out of Donald Trump’s playbook over the past week, has cited those unscientific online polls as supposed evidence the Republican nominee bested Hillary Clinton in Monday’s presidential debate,” Darcy writes “leading the charge of some of the network’s hosts who had helped Trump push his post-debate message.”
Here is Trump citing online polls as evidence of a debate victory.
“It wasn’t just that Hannity misled viewers with inaccurate information,” Darcy writes, “He took it a step further on his programs, characterizing those who did not embrace the results of online polling as out-of-touch elitists who comprise the ‘punditry class.’”
This is amusing today, as I recall the many angry Ron Paul supporters in 2008 that considered Hannity part of the Republican and conservative movement establishment because of the host’s constant dismissal of their libertarian hero.
Hannity continued to be one of Paul’s constant critics on the right in the 2012 presidential election as well, primarily on national security issues. Here is a typical inevitably hostile exchange the two often had in that election.
Trump has regularly received considerably better treatment from the host.
Last month, Sean Hannity told his audience not to worry about the polls because Donald Trump was doing well on Facebook and Twitter.
Disclosure: I worked for the Ron Paul 2012 presidential campaign.