Media Matters President Angelo Carusone called on Fox News to fire Sean Hannity following a new NPR report that confirms that the Trump administration met with a Republican donor and a Fox News contributor about a now-debunked FoxNews.com story -- relentlessly hyped by Sean Hannity -- that pushed false claims about the death of DNC staffer Seth Rich. Among other things, NPR's revelation underscores a point Media Matters has long made -- that Hannity has a history of pushing baseless conspiracy theories for political or personal gain:
“Sean Hannity vindicated Media Matters’ warnings that he is a full-blown propagandist not to be trusted or associated with. Sean Hannity's malfeasance and machinations have now been fully exposed. We now know that back in May when Hannity was promoting the Seth Rich murder conspiracy theory, it wasn't just some random occurrence, but rather part of a broader collaboration between the White House, Fox News, and political operatives aimed at fueling a distraction from the Trump administration’s problems.
This is hardly the only instance of Sean Hannity functioning as a disinformation propagandist. It's basically his business model these days. It's time for Fox News to fire Sean Hannity. And if Fox doesn't fire him, advertisers should boycott Hannity’s show so they are not complicit in Hannity's deceit and destruction."
In his quest to provide cover to President Donald Trump’s weakened administration, Hannity -- unrestrained by anyone in the Fox News bureaucracy -- became the most visible national champion of a vicious and elsewhere-retracted conspiracy theory suggesting that the late Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered because he was a source for WikiLeaks.
While Hannity attracted widespread condemnation for the bogus theory, it was FAR from his first time promoting or entertaining such wild claims on air. From claiming that the NFL’s Colin Kaepernick protested the national anthem because he “may have converted to Islam” to implying that former President Barack Obama is a terrorist sympathizer, he has a history of pushing conspiracy theories.
In May, Media Matters posted a list of Hannity’s advertisers on our website so that individuals, organizations, and media buyers could easily check which companies are financially supporting the show. In April, Media Matters launched the “Know What You’re Sponsoring” ad campaign in advance of the Upfronts, warning media buyers how risky is it for brands to sponsor Fox News.