Sean Hannity

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  • Wash. Post’s Erik Wemple: Sean Hannity Is “The Wrong Guy For The Anchor Chair” At RNC

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple wrote that Fox News host Sean Hannity’s refusal to report negative news stories about presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump -- including Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech -- should disqualify him from anchoring the network’s coverage of the Republican National Convention.

    Hannity has used his Fox News primetime show to defend Trump numerous times including backing him when media have called out Trump’s racist attacks, his delayed contributions to veterans, his unprecedented refusal to release his tax returns, his debunked conspiracy theories, various widely-criticized policy proposals, and for inflaming rhetoric at his campaign rallies. Media have criticized Hannity’s “unapologetic advocacy” for Trump, to which Hannity responded by asserting on his radio show, “I am not a journalist, I’m a talk show host.”

    In a July 19 Washington Post article, Wemple wrote that while CNN and MSNBC reported that Melania Trump plagiarized parts of her convention-headlining speech, Hannity instead issued “pom-pom deployment,” “raving about Trump.” Hannity’s refusal to report bad news about Trump, Wemple wrote, makes him “the wrong guy for the anchor chair” during the convention. From Wemple’s article:

    About 20 minutes after midnight, MSNBC anchors Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow announced a wee-hours breaking story. “We’ve had a remarkable turn of events,” said Maddow. “This started on social media. People on Twitter first started circulating some eyebrow-raising claims about Melania Trump’s speech this evening. That led us . . . to go dig up the archival material and check these claims, and it does appear that there are some unusual similarities, some unusual, very tight parallels between Melania Trump’s speech tonight and Michelle Obama’s speech in a similar position in the 2008 nominating convention for her husband, Barack Obama.”

    Around that time, Fox News’s Sean Hannity was raving about Trump. “First of all, she’s an amazing woman ... smart, charming, kind nice.”

    [...]

    And so it went for the next half-hour. CNN and MSNBC went into cable-news monofocus, breaking down the issue in all of its particulars: Who wrote the speech? How did this happen? What are the implications?

    Fox News viewers might not have known what was happening, because of Hannity. He was busy with non-Trump-speech-purloining material, including a chat with two mothers whose sons were killed by illegal immigrants and a panel on race. Signing off from his program, Hannity proclaimed that it had been a “great first night.” Such pom-pom deployment is what you might expect from Hannity, who is a self-professed Donald Trump supporter. So much so that he once orchestrated a round of applause from a live audience for Donald Trump’s proposal to ban entry by Muslims into the United States. Ever a transportation helper, Hannity flew Newt Gingrich to Indiana to meet with Trump as part of the vice-presidential interview process, according to CNN.

    When bad news is breaking on the Trump campaign, in other words, Hannity is the wrong guy for the anchor chair.

  • Mike Pence To Sit Down With “Republican Shill” Sean Hannity For First Appearance As Trump’s Running Mate

    Hannity Has Previously Admitted To “Going Soft In Interviews With Republicans”

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s first public appearance as Donald Trump’s running mate will apparently come in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Hannity is a “Republican shill” and a pro-Trump advocate with the tendency to be a “very soft interviewer” when interviewing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and other GOP politicians.

    According to Hannity’s show website, he “will speak with Donald Trump’s selection for vice president Mike Pence tonight, less than twelve hours after  Trump took to Twitter to announce his selection of Pence as his running mate. The interview will occur even before Trump’s joint appearance with Pence to announce the selection, which is scheduled for July 16.

    Many conservative media figures characterized Trump’s choice of Pence as “a nothingburger” and hold reservations about Pence’s abilities to explain away Trump’s controversies. But Pence’s interview with Hannity will surely present the governor an opportunity to bolster his reputation within the conservative base, given Hannity’s “unapologetic advocacy” for Trump and other Republicans. Indeed, the neologism "Hannitize" was coined to describe efforts by conservatives "to clean up a messy situation with a softball interview, typically one conducted by Sean Hannity."

    Trump has enjoyed a cozy relationship with Hannity since declaring his candidacy, with the Fox host regularly defending the candidate’s debunked claims and heavily panned policy proposals.  Hannity has also been heavily criticized for being “a very soft interviewer” during the more than 17 hours of interviews he conducted with Trump over the course of the Republican primary.

    Hannity defended his softball interviews by asserting, “I’m not a journalist, I’m a talk show host” and said on his radio show that he hadn’t been critical of Trump or Cruz because he wanted the Republican nominee to win. He has also admitted to “going soft in interviews on Republicans,” stating “I absolutely plead guilty.”

  • Hannity Uses Attack In France To Push Muslim “No-Go Zones” Myth That Fox Previously Apologized For

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Fox News host Sean Hannity, in the aftermath of an apparent terrorist attack that killed at least 77 in Nice, France, claimed that “no-go zones actually do exist in France,” where only Muslims are allowed and the government has no control.

    In January 2015, after Steve Emerson claimed on Fox News that there are parts of France and England “where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in,” two different Fox hosts apologized for letting the lie go unchallenged on their network, with Julie Banderas saying there is “no credible information to support the assertion there are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion.” British Prime Minister David Cameron called Emerson a “complete idiot” after he heard of the claim. From the July 14 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Many of the topics we've been discussing this presidential election season, immigration, Donald Trump talking about at least a temporary ban on people coming from countries that practice Sharia law. We have -- we watched the Islamization of Europe, and I've discussed it at length on this program and on my radio program. You know, for example, most people don't know that Great Britain has 88 Sharia courts or that no-go zones actually do exist in France. I know because I've covered it here on this program.

  • Wash. Post's Wemple Calls Out Hannity's Clear Conflict Of Interest Acting As News Host And GOP Campaigner

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple called out Fox News host Sean Hannity for ignoring clear conflict of interest rules by furnishing a private jet for Donald Trump vice presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich. Wemple explained that Hannity’s actions creates a “helpful case in point” for “anyone wishing to make the case that Fox News serves as an organ of the Republican Party.”

    In a July 14 column, Wemple wrote that “Hannity apparently considers himself exempt from conflict-of-interest rules binding on the rest of the industry” because he is a “talk show” host. Wemple noted that despite Hannity assertions, Hannity is not exempt from those rules “as long as his employer continues to bill his program” as part of “Fox News.” Wemple concluded, “Anyone wishing to make that case that Fox News serves as an organ of the Republican Party just found a helpful case in point”:

    Here come CNN’s Dana Bash and Dylan Byers with an authentic media-oriented exclusive: Newt Gingrich, a vice-presidential short-lister for Donald Trump’s campaign, flew out to Indianapolis on a private jet furnished by Fox News host Sean Hannity, the CNNers report. The purpose of the trip, which took place on Wednesday morning, was a meeting with Trump himself.

    [...]

    Hannity’s colleagues, of course, know full well that when you work for a news outlet, favors for friends who double as possible vice presidents are the entire organization’s business. Having previously protested that he’s a “talk show” host, Hannity apparently considers himself exempt from conflict-of-interest rules binding on the rest of the industry. He’s not, at least not as long as his employer continues to bill his program as depicted below. Focus on the red circle added to the screenshot:

    See? It says “Fox News,” not “Fox Corrupt and Conflicted Talk Shows.” Anyone wishing to make that case that Fox News serves as an organ of the Republican Party just found a helpful case in point.

  • Fox News Attacks Black Lives Matter As “Lawless” After Cheering Cliven Bundy’s Lawless Militia

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Fox News has rediscovered its love of law and order.

    In the wake of protests across the country by Black Lives Matter activists following the deaths of two African-American men at the hands of police, Fox has spent days loudly denouncing the group for its allegedly violent ways. Under the headline, “Time to end Black Lives Matter lawlessness,” Fox’s Todd Starnes recently insisted “the rules of law matters, folks. Without it, we’ve got anarchy.”

    Starnes was angry that Black Lives Matter activists weren’t arrested when they marched on a bridge in Memphis and shut down traffic there over the weekend.

    Fox hosts and guests have all been piling on Black Lives Matter, continuing the network’s long-running campaign to demonize the group. Bill O’Reilly announced that an NAACP director and African-Americans in general need to “distance themselves from Black Lives Matter” in order to create “good racial relations,” while a panel of Fox News talkers last week insisted Black Lives Matter has its “roots in violence.” And Sean Hannity recently claimed that Black Lives Matter’s “advancing narrative is killing cops.”

    In other words, just rancid stuff, as Fox whips up racial tension under the guise of defending law and order. (Rudy Giuliani on Fox: Black Lives Matter “puts a target on the back of police.”)

    Fox News’ hate rhetoric isn’t just dangerous, it also reeks of hypocrisy when you recall that back in 2014, the same Fox News flaunted its disdain for law enforcement in order to champion Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. For two decades, Bundy refused to pay federal grazing fees on the public land his cattle used. According to Fox and the conservative media then, there was no more important battle than Bundy’s symbolic showdown with the federal government.

    The rancher’s battle was supported by heavily armed militiamen and women. Insurrectionism was the ugly theme of the day. Law enforcement was the enemy. And for Bundy, Fox News acted as his publicist/public defender, rallying conservatives across the country to support a rancher who didn’t want to pay his taxes.

    • Bill O’Reilly suggested Bundy “probably is a hero in many people's eyes because he's standing up against this colossus."
    • Sean Hannity relentlessly promoted Bundy, who called the Fox News talker his “hero.”
    • Andrew Napolitano called the law-breaking rancher a "patriotic, heroic American."

    And yes, the same Todd Starnes who today is so worried about “anarchy” if Black Lives Matter activists aren’t arrested was out front defending Bundy’s lawlessness. Referencing federal employees' attempt to legally confiscate Bundy's cattle after his fees and fines, Starnes noted, "Don't they still have laws on the books about cattle rustling out in Nevada? ... Back in the day, they used to string folks up for stealing cattle."

    At the height of Fox News’ Bundy frenzy and irresponsibility (like when Hannity wondered on-air if the federal government would kill the rancher), conservative media couldn’t stop fanning fears about "government overreach" in the Age of Obama.

    The Drudge Report recklessly hyped the possibility of a violent confrontation with the anti-government militia members, and Bundy himself threatened a “Range War” against the government, claiming his son was a “political prisoner.”

    The Southern Poverty Law Center later reported,The standoff between federal agents and armed supporters of a Nevada rancher earlier this year was a highly coordinated effort by far-right militiamen.” The group noted the Bundy confrontation “was seen as a victory within the antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement after federal agents pulled out despite Bundy owing more than $1 million in grazing fees and fines to the federal government.”

    Make no mistake, the Bundy stand-off was aggressively anti-law enforcement. “Militia snipers lined the hilltops and overpasses with scopes trained on federal agents,” SPLC noted. During one confrontation, protesters taunted federal agents with insults, denouncing various officers as a "terrorist," "loser," "chickenshit," and a "fucking pussy.

    Reminder: In April 2014, Bundy uncorked a racist rant ("I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro") and thoroughly embarrassed his media supporters who foolishly portrayed him as an American hero.

    But before his sudden fall, Fox News touted Bundy and his anarchic militia supporters as symbols of American resistance. Keep that in mind next time a Fox talker denounces Black Lives Matter as lawless.

  • Fox’s Hannity Provided Gingrich With Private Jet For Trump VP Audition

    CNN: “Hannity Has Long Argued That He Is Not Subject To Journalistic Ethics Because He Is A Pundit”

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    CNN reported that Trump sycophant and Fox News host Sean Hannity provided former Fox contributor Newt Gingrich with a private jet for travel to a meeting with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during his search for a vice presidential pick.

    On July 13, CNN reported Hannity provided a private jet to Indianapolis for Gingrich as Trump “holds late-stage meetings with his VP finalists.” Trump had previously said he would consult with Hannity on his choice for running mate, and on July 12 Hannity said of the looming choice that, “I wouldn’t be happy with anyone but Newt.” CNN also reported that Trump has been consulting with Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and 21st Century Fox executive co-chairman Rupert Murdoch:

    Newt Gingrich, a finalist on Donald Trump's vice presidential shortlist, flew to Indianapolis to meet with Trump on a private jet provided by Fox News host Sean Hannity, two sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.

    The Fox News host flew the former House speaker to Indianapolis early Wednesday morning to meet with the Republican nominee as he holds late-stage meetings with his VP finalists, the sources said.

    […]

    The Trump-Gingrich meeting came at the request of the former speaker. Trump has also held meetings and phone calls about the VP post with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.

    During this time, Trump has also consulted with both Roger Ailes, the chairman and CEO of Fox News, and Rupert Murdoch, the 21st Century Fox executive co-chairman.

    On July 12, Fox News announced it suspended Gingrich from his position as a network contributor given the “intense media speculation” surrounding Gingrich as a potential VP pick and to avoid the appearance of “conflicts of interest.” While Fox News cited a conflict of interest as the reason for Gingrich’s suspension, CNN noted that “Hannity has long argued that he is not subject to journalistic ethics because he is a pundit.” Hannity has also entertained the idea of serving in an official capacity in a potential Trump administration.

    UPDATE: Sean Hannity responded to the report on Twitter, stating "Whatever favors I do for my friends is my business."

     

     

     

  • Fox Personalities Respond To Gretchen Carlson's Sexual Harassment Lawsuit With Familiar Victim-Blaming

    Fox’s Response Serves As A PSA In How NOT To Cover Sexual Harassment Stories

    Blog ››› ››› OLIVIA KITTEL

    After Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox CEO Roger Ailes, Fox News personalities have rushed to defend Ailes while disparaging Carlson’s character, dismissing her allegations, and accusing her of having ulterior motives. Their response mirrors the false tropes the network hosts push in their sexual assault coverage.

    On July 6, former Fox News host Carlson filed a lawsuit against Fox CEO Roger Ailes, alleging that he fired her “after she rebuffed Mr. Ailes’ sexual advances and also tried to challenge what she felt was unequal treatment of her in the newsroom by some of her male colleagues.” Carlson also alleged that while she was a host of Fox & Friends, her co-host Steve Doocy “engaged in a pattern of severe and pervasive mistreatment” of Carlson. Carlson has been a witness to years of sexism from her male colleagues, plenty of it directed at her.

    Several other women have come forward with complaints or contacted Carlson’s law firm to report similar experiences of mistreatment.

    Numerous Fox figures have rallied to Ailes’ defense, falling back on the network’s long-held strategy of dismissing sexual harassment – and even sexual assault – allegations by blaming the victims, trying to discredit the allegations by disparaging the victims’ characters, and rushing to defend the character of the accused. Just as New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman predicted, the “Fox News PR machine” is fighting the sexual harassment allegations by “try[ing] to discredit Carlson’s claims and any of the other women’s claims who come forward.”

    Disparaging The Victim’s Character

    After Carlson filed her lawsuit, her former Fox colleagues defended Ailes by immediately disparaging her character, dismissing her allegations, and suggesting she may have had ulterior motives.

    Greta Van Susteren suggested Carlson may have falsely accused Ailes of sexual harassment because she was “unhappy that her contract wasn’t renewed.”

    In a flurry of tweets on July 12, Sean Hannity dismissed Carlson’s allegations, suggesting that if she had really been harassed, she would not have stayed, asked for more airtime, or written to Ailes:

    Brit Hume asked Carlson why she didn’t just quit following the alleged harassment:

    This behavior isn’t new for Fox figures. In the past, Andrea Tantaros has asked, “At what point do women need to take some responsibility” for sexual harassment. Hannity blamed a victim of sexual harassment for “staying in the car” with the accused offender after the alleged harassment. Greg Gutfeld claimed that victims allege sexual harassment “to safeguard future reputation-damaging things.”  

    The network’s victim-blaming isn’t limited to sexual harassment. Hosts have blamed victims of sexual assault for “wearing a miniskirt,” characterized victims as “bad girls … who like to be naughty,” and altogether disputed the prevalence of sexual assault.

    Defending The Character Of The Accused

    Fox figures also responded to Carlson’s lawsuit by touting Ailes’ character.  

    Jeanine Pirro called Carlson’s allegations “absurd” and called Ailes a “no-nonsense guy,” saying, “I just loved him.”

    Kimberly Guilfoyle claimed that of the women she’s talked to at Fox, “Nobody believed” Carlson’s allegations, adding that Ailes “is a man who champions women.”

    Bret Baier said that’s “not the Roger I know,” and added, “I can’t say enough good things about Roger.”

    Neil Cavuto called Carlson’s allegations “sick” and said they “don’t remotely resemble the Roger that I know” because Ailes “is ALL professional.”

    Ainsley Earhardt, Martha MacCallum, and Harris Faulkner have also vigorously defended Ailes, calling him a “father figure” and a “terrific boss.”

    By focusing on defending the character of the accused, reporters treat the accused offender as the victim. And it’s not just Ailes. Fox has a history of treating accused offenders as victims, including by claiming  that the focus on campus sexual assault amounts to “a war happening on boys” and dubiously hyping the frequency of false accusations of sexual assault against men, even though  false accusations are rare.