After learning that Fox News anchor Sean Hannity was set to headline a Tea Party event that was raising money for its coffers by charging admission, angry executives cancelled his appearance Thursday.
Network execs claimed they weren't aware that Hannity was set to be the headliner of the Tea Party event. They told reporters that they'd nixed Hannity's plans to broadcast from the site of the event in Cincinnati when they heard about it Thursday morning.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Fox News never agreed to allow the Cincinnati Tea Party organizers to use Sean HannityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s television program to profit from broadcasting his show from the event," Bill Shine, the networkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s executive vice president of programming, told a reporter. "When senior executives in New York were made aware of this, we changed our plans for tonightÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s show.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Event organizers were set to charge $20 for a seat near Hannity's set.
Noted the local Cincinnati paper:
Hannity will sign his book, "Conservative Victory," outside the Fifth Third Arena at the University of Cincinnati from 4:30-5:30 p.m., then interview actor Jon Voight and Joe the Plumber, inside, live, starting at 6 p.m. The plumber, a.k.a. Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, became famous in 2008 when he questioned then-candidate Barack Obama at a campaign stop in Ohio about his small-business tax policy. He became the face of middle Americans for the McCain-Palin campaign.
"It's exciting to have (Hannity) here," said Justin Binik-Thomas, the Cincinnati party's vice president of national affairs and strategy. "People are really excited to hear some conservative leaders."
Tickets are required and sell for $5 at www.cincinnatiteaparty.org or 1-877-228-7849. Only leftovers, if any, will be sold at the door. And if you want a chance to be on TV, seats around the Hannity set cost $20. The arena seats 13,000.
An organizer told the paper that tickets proceeds would go towards the overhead of producing the event, but that "overages" would go to the local Tea Party organization.
Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto did, however, appear at a Tea Party rally Thursday. The network said they didn't have a problem with his appearance because he wasn't headlined as part of the actual event.
MediaMatters, the liberal watchdog group, first highlighted Hannity's appearance and the apparent inappropriateness of having a host appear in a fundraiser for a partisan political group.