Sean Hannity, while excoriating Obama over housing crisis, quietly snapped up hundreds of foreclosed properties

And this is where we see the difference between acting “legally” and acting “ethically.” For those having trouble seeing what is wrong with Hannity’s actions, consider what a low bar acting legally is…It is perfectly legal to behave like a massive prick, but the law is not the ultimate arbiter of what is right and wrong. An ethical journalist/pundit would lay their cards on the table regarding their personal stake in any political debates. We need to move away from the tendency to shrug our shoulders and say, “well, there’s no rule against it… nothing to see here!”

ETA: It’s important for the public to learn about the way the elite have their thumbs in every pie and suck on every government teat. The capitalist class is pervasive and deeply tied to influential media, all interested in selling the neoliberal pack of lies.


What a sad belief.

I would like to believe that most people understand how much has held them back, and how many unearned advantages ensure that life is much, much nicer for a select few.

But I know that most people are effectively discouraged from seeing such things, and thus blame themselves more than they should for having to struggle so much to get by.


Things likely differ based on our own experiences, but my belief is based on my still-after-all-these-years friends from back east who didn’t make it out of the neighborhood and their expression of their own regrets, knowing that they and I started from the identical place and situation, and yet I am in every way imaginable here and they are there.

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I want to comment on the idea that buying up cheap houses during the housing collapse is totally defensible and just makes sense. Not responding to any particular commenter who made this point.

I find it disheartening that we look at profiteering off of a tragedy and say, “Well, but that’s how we’re all supposed to act, isn’t it?”

During the great blackout I had about an hour long walk on a fairly hot afternoon to get where I needed to go. Some of the convenience stores I passed were selling bottled water at exorbitant prices. Others were discounting it. One had their ice cream freezer open and was giving away the contents for free, knowing it would melt soon anyway.

Price gouging in response to supply shortages is what we are supposed to think is normal. Helping other people in a crisis is normal.

I heard about one small group of investors who, when housing prices collapsed, bought up a bunch of houses, then went to the people living in them who were facing eviction and said, “Would you like to keep living in the house making the same monthly payments you were making before the collapse?” They got a lot of takers. I don’t think anyone would come in here and say they were heartless or bad for making money off of that.

But if you looking at a situation where people have been kicked out of their homes and the banks have taken a wash so society as a whole is bailing out the banks at great cost to everyone and think to yourself, “Wow, I can make a lot of money off of this.” then you are the person price gouging water during a disaster. Or, to be a little more blunt, you are the person using a hurricane evacuation as a chance to walk out of the electronics store with a new TV.

Some people see disasters as opportunities to help. Some people see disasters as opportunities to loot. If we look at that second group and say, “Well that’s just normal” then we should hardly be surprised that our society is run by horrendous assholes.


I can’t speak for everyone. But for the people I know, the good ones are good regardless of laws etc. It’s the bad ones that point to the law justification. If not explicitly proscribed, then it’s fair game. And sometimes not even that fig leaf.

Most of the business people I know (which does not cover even a fraction of industries) want to simplify regulations not to avoid them, but because regulations can be weird, arcane, ad hoc, conflicting, and just plain confusing. Like tax law. Make them clear and concise so we can understand and follow them. Don’t have to cede any regulatory authority. Make it easier to follow the rules by making it easier to understand them. It can result in fewer mistakes by most people and fewer exploited loopholes by asshats.

As an aside, you put “guys” in quotations marks. I use the term as generic to include men and women. But one of the worst business people to cross our paths was a woman. Seeing Dr. Smith on the new Lost in Space gives me flashbacks.


I’m willing to bet there are some snags in Hannity claiming he was “investing in communities that needed investment.” Maybe someone will delve into the specifics and see just how much the communities involved appreciate their landlord.


Hannity is not a journalist in ANY sense of the word, and Faux news is not news, its propaganda.


What @milliefink said, plus - how many of these properties were “robo forclosed?” This is where the banksters sidestepped proper foreclosure processes and evicted folks who shouldn’t have been. How many of these people were put out on the street by Hannity’s actions.

NOTE: If you do the math, it comes out to ~103448.28 per house. Pretty cheap. Fuck him.


Of course that’s true, but he plays one on TV. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call him on their bullshit. We shouldn’t let assholes wriggle out of criticism by letting them claim they’re just providing entertainment. If the viewers think he’s the same as Cronkite, we should hold them to that same standard.


I do see hysteresis in the ‘movement’ and shift of laws/regs, driven by politics and who wants what. It’s natural (not necessarily good) when you consider the perceived strictness of some regulations versus the tantalizing urge for certain businesses to try and get away with as much as possible (even if aforesaid strictness is there because those certain businesses just can’t seem to stop over-reaching and — I’ll just say it – screw others over). I always take Love Canal as a lesson that should never be forgotten.


I’m not following this argument. Is it that you cannot speak against bad decisions that also benefit you? Is it that purchasing foreclosed homes is wrong?

Someone, while excoriating Trump over tax cuts, quietly filed itemized deductions
Someone, while excoriating Trump over climate denial, quietly purchased a boat

Part of Hannity’s defense is that these are not “shell companies but real companies”, which should also be looked into-- it may be that the definition of “shell company” is up for debate, but there is still an implication that he was trying to keep all this secret. There are valid reasons for being guarded about your personal business matters, but at the same time if he was doing something shady he’d keep that secret too. At the very least I think he understood that it was bad optics for him if people knew. And if Michael Cohen is involved in these real estate transactions it may turn out to be more than just bad optics, just knowing Cohen’s other shady dealings.

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Does the fact that someone who takes the positions Hannity takes about government profited enormously from HUD backed loans not strike you as just a tish intellectually dishonest?


Considering that the state currently is not equipped to consider Facebook a monopoly (it’s “free”, right, so who’s getting gouged?) the situation is more dire.

What, book learnin’ is for Coastal Elites, not Real Americans™.

Really, though, whether someone has an education or not what they really need to learn is to enjoy the small things in life. For the large and growing number of Americans who don’t get to enjoy them because they’re becoming members of the precariat or unnecessariat I wish more of them would stop counting on grifters who promise to Make America Great White Again.

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From what I know about Fox news I assume Hannity was blowing a lot of hot air. But I don’t see anything wrong with being upset with housing policy while investing in housing.

I do, however, think this argument is sound

I think it’s more than a little euphemistic to phrase it as “being upset with housing policy while investing in housing.”

Hannity isn’t just upset at “housing policy,” he’s pointedly against nearly every government program out there and wants to dismantle the regulatory and welfare states. He’s made hundreds of millions of dollars in that advocacy and has an enormous influence on elected officials. And, he wasn’t just “investing in housing,” he was profiting from the foreclosure crisis using HUD backed loans.


Of everything Sean Hannity is responsible for, this doesn’t seem all that bad. Sure he likely made a ton of money during the housing crisis, but he wasn’t as far as I can tell screwing people out of their cash. He was just buying up undervalued (foreclosed) properties to profit from the rebound. The kind of thing any person with a $90 million in available cash might do. It’s an example of how the best way to make money is to start with a lot of money, but that’s capitalism. It doesn’t seem all that related to his day job of blaming Obama/Clinton for everything bad in the world.

its really hard to codify assumed behavior from ethics if we’re not all playing from the same set of general rules, like if we were all evangelicals or all muslims or all atheists (I mean, is footbinding ethical, how about female circumcision, how about male circumcision, how about poligamy the list is enormous…people have different views)…and on trickier subjects like whether you should buy distressed assets or not (which is what I’m assuming is unethical here for you, when combined with his not disclosing it to his viewers), you are putting the person into a position that he should let the material world run by him while he throws up his hands for honor’s sake. I think it is an unclear (possibly unfair) standard. whereas actual laws are the rules of the people we have to objectively abide by (and we have ethics laws all over the place). what is so terrible about all of us getting together and voting laws to make clear what the ethical standards are?

Oh I get it. On the one hand, it’s a horrible tragedy, and the people responsible for it should be held accountable to the fullest, most extreme extent of the law. On the other hand, there’s money to be made, tons and tons of money, so why shouldn’t I be able to make money from this horrible tragedy?