Fox News show host Sean Hannity, who was to receive the William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence from the conservative Media Research Center, will not be given the distinction after all. Giving the award to Hannity, who has been a staple on Fox News and an outspoken defender of President Donald Trump has reportedly caused dismay among those associated with Buckley, who was hailed as the import important public intellectual of the United States for decades.

According to CNN, Buckley’s only son -- journalist Christopher Buckley -- is especially distressed, having expressed "expressed great dismay" that the award would go to Hannity. Hannity, who is one of the guiding stars in the world of conservative media, has nevertheless criticized various intellectuals of the conservative movement. Christopher Buckley reportedly called the Media Research Center to convey his disapproval. The founder of MRC is Brent Bozell, one of William F. Buckley’s nephews.

Due to the flap over Hannity, the Media Research Center has agreed to retreat from giving the award. According to CNN, leadership at MRC sought to pretend that a scheduling conflict prevents Hannity from accepting the award. Christopher Buckley reportedly said, "perhaps Mr. Hannity has been offered the Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Award on the same evening and had decided to leverage upwards." Mention of the award has been expunged from the MRC website.

The news instigated a firestorm of comment within conservative circles. Bret Stephens wrote at the New York Times, saying "If we have reached the point where rank-and-file conservatives see nothing amiss with giving Hannity an award named for Buckley, then surely there's a Milton Friedman Prize awaiting Steve Bannon for his insights on free trade." Stephens continued, "The floor's the limit. Or, in Hannity's case, the crawl space beneath it." Hannity tweeted a response to Stephens: "I'll say to you and the @nytimes (Fake News) I do not care what u think."

William F. Buckley was the founder of the conservative flagship publication "National Review" and the author of a number of books, including "God and Man at Yale." He also had a televised talk-show in which he debated notable intellectuals, writers, and artists of the day. He died in 2008.



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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