The Hannity &…Hannity Program?
The ubiquity of news programs on contemporary American television is palpable. The four major network stations all have their own sister news station. It can be said, without many cavils, that the Fox news station, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, oscillates at varying degrees along the right side of the American political spectrum. Fox News’ longest running and second highest rated program, only behind the O’Reilly Factor, Hannity & Colmes, at the end of the year will lose its left half. Alan Colmes announced his departure from the show, planned for the end of this year. Hannity will stay on as host and as of now it appears as if no one will join him. The program will lose all of its “anachronism” and diversity. The result will be a program isomorphous with most other cable news programs. These quotidian programs often only provide one paradigm. The critical theorist Jurgen Habermas discusses the paramount concept of the public sphere. The public sphere is a space in which open discussion and dialogue take place. According to Habermas, within this arena, rationality and reason will win out. This ideal has the possibility of being prevalent, and furthermore, it is the telos toward which the public sphere and therefore news media must aspire. If our media continues to only cater to niche audiences, providing only one-sided arguments, our public sphere will be stultified and remain underdeveloped. The possibility to circumvent the colonization of our life worlds and foster reason will be razed. Our news media programs must represent an ideal form of communication in which the strongest argument will foster élan for its stance. The watching public must covet a variegated dialogue between a multitude of positions if we expect democracy and reason to flourish.