After a debacle by the Fox News broadcaster, the Tea Party was forced to refund Sean Hannity tickets they had sold for his scheduled appearance last week.

Tea party refunds Hannity tickets

Hannity was a no-show for the event because angry bosses at the network reportedly demanded that he cancel his appearance there. So what was the problem after all?

To make a long story short, the Cincinnati Tea Party scheduled a “tax day” rally on Thursday, April 15th. Talk show host Sean Hannity was invited to attend the event. He originally agreed to attend a book signing to promote his latest book and to do his television program at the rally. He was even there that evening and about to start the show.

Conducting television programs at news events is clearly nothing new. Network news broadcasts and opinion programs are regularly done from political party conventions, war zones, and sites of natural disasters.

The problem is that the Cincinnati Tea Party turned the Hannity appearance into a fundraising event by charging admission. In so doing they would have transformed Hannity’s Fox News program into a fundraising effort for the group rather than a vehicle for legitimate opinion journalism.

Hannity knew full well what was happening and when his bosses found out they were reportedly furious at his judgment. They demanded that he cancel the appearance and return immediately to the studio so his show was done as usual from the studio on Thursday. Good for them and bad for Sean Hannity.

Hannity is of course free to do public appearances in support of groups on his own time, something that he does frequently. What he is not free to do is commingle his lucrative Fox News contract with those private functions.

I confess a certain sense of glee in seeing Hannity brought down a notch. In my view conservative shock jocks, led primarily by Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, are chiefly responsible for the demise of Republican power in the past few years.

In seeking to promote themselves and their shows, these selfish individuals have co-opted the “conservative” label by defining it narrowly and randomly to fit their views on pet issues. The result has been devastating to the coalition that once loosely brought fiscal, social, and foreign policy conservatives together in elections.

The result of stirring up frenzy on preposterous issues like Terri Schiavo’s fate and support for George Bush’s big government spending programs was to split up the coalition that had served conservative interests well for two decades. Fiscal conservatives have loosened their affiliation from the party which has had dire consequences for conservative power and the nation itself.

It is the Tea Party movement of citizen conservatives that has rallied the fiscal conservatives back into the fold. Grassroots individuals from every walk of life led the effort while drones like Hannity and Limbaugh have been relegated to cheerleading while trying to sound influential with those “me too” cries.

My advice to them is move over and shut up. The Tea Party movement is a reaction just as much to the big spending policies started by George Bush, which conservative radio jocks supported, as it is to the continuation and acceleration of those bad policies under Barack Obama.

So we learn today that the “me too” king has erred. The Cincinnati Tea Party refunds Hannity tickets and the world rests easier today.