Here is how the Fox News host teed up his guest on those subjects:
We have not just Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez—about 100 House, Senate members at least and many of the Democratic presidential candidates for 2020 have bought into the New Green Deal. Everything is free, no oil, no gas. Comrade de Blasio has added no steel building or glass buildings in New York in five years. But importantly, airplanes are gone, combustion engines gone. How do you react if these are the policies you will be running against?
The odds that Democrats will run in 2020 on abolishing airplanes, combustion engines, and steel and glass buildings from New York City are zero. So why ask the question in that way? No journalistic impulse could justify it. Hannity teed up a straw man so big, even a child would be unlikely to swing and miss.
Read: Sean Hannity’s ethical mess
It’s interesting because I just heard about this crazy deal in New York City where they want to build concrete buildings with little tiny windows. You know, I built a lot of buildings, Sean. I can tell you, the bigger the window, the better I did with it. People want big windows, and now they’re going to take them down to nothing.
Such is the quality of civic information Hannity drew out of the country’s most powerful man. Here’s Hannity a bit later, asking a worthless question insofar as it could yield only information that Trump already tells the country almost daily:
The Washington Post, The New York Times received Pulitzers for their, quote, coverage of the Russian probe. You’ve seen the coverage for two years. Russia, Russia, Russia. Trump, Trump, Trump. Collusion, collusion, collusion. The Mueller report couldn’t be clearer on the issue specifically. Do you think the news media in this country and their coverage on this owes you an apology?
Inevitably, Hannity provoked the answer, “Well, they do owe me an apology, a big one,” a position that every sentient viewer already knew and that tells Americans absolutely nothing about any of the important challenges facing the country.
A few questions did prompt Trump to speak on newsworthy subjects. “What is your full reaction to the Mueller report?” Hannity said. During follow-up questions about the Russia investigation, Trump declared, “This was an attempted coup.” Hannity neither challenged the claim nor asked Trump to justify it.
Conor Friedersdorf: Sean Hannity failed to tell his viewers the truth
I do not object merely that Trump was interviewed by someone who shares his views on most subjects or who wants to see his campaign agenda come to fruition. Presidents ought to give some interviews to journalists who are sympathetic to the vision that they set forth. But those journalists should still hold them accountable to the public by asking tough questions about their progress, their unkept promises, and the thorny trade-offs that they inevitably confront.
That is the job.
Hannity was less a stand-in for the public than a sycophant, proving himself less adept at eliciting new information from Trump than the field on Twitter that perpetually asks, “What’s happening?” Given an opportunity to serve his audience and his country, he failed.