The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Judge Shouldn’t Have Disclosed — but Hannity Should Have

I think Andy makes a very strong case below on the law, and I’m willing to defer to him on this barring some really compelling counterargument (my standard practice on most legal issues, by the way).

But, while the law provides one set of standards, there are other standards at play as well. Even if it was wrong for the judge to compel the release of Sean Hannity’s relationship with Michael Cohen, it was also wrong for Hannity not to divulge it.

Hannity railed against the Cohen search without divulging the breadth and depth of his relationship with Cohen (and it’s still not entirely clear), never mind his role as a de facto adviser and spokesman for the president. It’s easy to wave this away because everyone with a functioning cerebellum already knows that Hannity is now simply an advocate for the president and that he would have made the same arguments despite any such disclosures. Those arguments can be judged on their merits.

For instance, I disclose in my column today that my wife works for Nikki Haley (as I do routinely whenever it’s relevant). During the campaign, Ramesh regularly disclosed that his wife worked for Jeb Bush. And Andy disclosed that he’s been friends with Hannity for a long time. That fact doesn’t make me think less of Andy’s legal argument. If anything, it gives it more weight. But the reader has a right to know. And Hannity had an obligation to tell his viewers. If it’s true, as reported, that Hannity didn’t want his identity to be revealed, that suggests that he at least knew such a revelation would pose a reputational problem for him — and it does.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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