During an MSNBC panel discussion on Fox News personality Sean Hannity's disturbingly close relationship with President Donald Trump, the guests on AM Joy questioned why Fox News keeps the compromised host on the air, with one panelist pointing out that Hannity is none too bright.
According to host Joy Reid, Trump doesn't listen to more sober minds at Fox News like Chris Wallace and Shep Smith because "they're not on during prime time."
Pointing out that ethical concerns about Hannity's defense of Trump despite sharing an a attorney and operating as an outside advisor, Reid asked journalist and Fox News expert Gabriel Sherman why the network puts up him when they used to rein him in.
"Fox News tolerates essentially him being an advocate for the president," Reid suggested. "He sort of straddles the line because he's an opinion journalist, but back in 2010 the New York Times warns that he got rebuked for activism. In 2010 he was yanked from a Tea Party rally after they objected to his appearance."
"As crazy as this may sound, back when Roger Ailes was running Fox, he would occasionally make examples of people," Sherman explained. "Not because he fundamentally disagreed with their decisions, but he was a smart enough political strategist to know that you needed to have somewhat of the optics if you're going to have the lower bug in the corner of your screen that says 'news.' You've got to give something to show that you care about that stuff."
"Now the current management of Fox, they're going with whatever rates and putting pro-Trump ranting on the airwaves and Hannity is the biggest ratings of all," he added. "That's clearly the issue. They don't want to rebuke him because he's basically their prime-time lineup."
According to the Beat DC's Tiffany Cross, Hannity's advice to Trump is a "scary" thing.
"It's unusual and it's inappropriate," she explained. "He [Hannity] has no politics expertise. He perpetuated this ridiculous Obama birther movement. In 2010 he was the biggest critic of Julian Assange -- six years later he's their biggest champion."
"We're looking for Fox to come out and punish him, but he makes dollars so they don't mind that he doesn't make sense," she continued. "The scary thing is, I will say this, he has a hotline to the White House. He also has a hotline to 3 million viewers every night. And when you think about the connection between those two things, everything this president does on the domestic and global scale is meant to appease this very small sect of society he considers his base."
Asked later for her personal opinion on Hannity, Cross dismissed him as "A dopey guy with a TV show."
Watch the video below via MSNBC: