New York Times columnist Bret Stephens explained why he thought Fox News host Sean Hannity receiving the William F. Buckley Award was the perfect symbol of "post-literate" conservatism that is replacing the legacy that Buckley left behind. Hannity fired back from his Twitter account Thursday.
"The conservatism [Buckley] nourished was fundamentally literary," Stephens explained. "To play a significant part in it you had to know how to write, and in order to write well you had to read widely, and in order to do that you had to, well, enjoy reading. In hindsight, 2008, the year of Sarah Palin, was also the year when literary conservatism went into eclipse."
"Suddenly, you didn’t need to devote a month to researching and writing a 7,000-word critique of Obama administration’s policy on, say, Syria to be taken seriously as a conservative foreign-policy expert," he continued.
"You just needed to mouth off about it for five minutes on 'The O’Reilly Factor.' For books there were always ghostwriters," he added, "publicity on Fox ensured they would always top the Times’s best-seller lists."
Further on Stephens wrote, "And so we reach the idiot stage of the conservative cycle, in which a Buckley Award for Sean Hannity suggests nothing ironic, much less Orwellian, to those bestowing it, applauding it, or even shrugging it off."
"The award itself is trivial, but it’s a fresh reminder of who now holds the commanding heights of conservative life, and what it is that they think," he concluded.
Hannity further manifested Stephens' contention that he represented "post-literate" conservatism by responding through missives on Twitter.
"For the first time in my life I partly agree with [Bret Stephens,] I do not deserve the WFB award. I also never deserved the 2 Marconis," Hannity responded, listing his awards and achievements. "Nor do I deserve the Radio Hall of Fame, Free speech awards from Talkers or the R&R tall host of the year awards I have won. Nor do I care.
"To my audience that has given me the honor of 30 years on radio 22 years on Fox, I thank you. You mattter [sic], Faith, family Country matter," he continued tweeting. "As long as you honor me with these opportunities I will continue to fight hard for the things I truly believe in."
"I will also fight for the forgotten men and woman in America left behind, in poverty, on food stamps, and out of work. That matters to me," Hannity explained.
He followed it up by reposting a tweet calling Stephens a "jealous loser" who wishes he had Hannity's success. Apparently in agreement, Hannity said, "Can ANYONE think of just ONE memorable thing [Bret Stephens] has written? WFB was on my show numerous times, would WFB trust the [New York Times]?"