On December 11, Fox News host Sean Hannity aired an edited quote from CNN analyst Paul Callan regarding Wikileaks and Donald Trump Jr. in order to label CNN as “fake news.” This is not the first time Hannity has deceptively edited clips to attack his perceived opponents.
During his December 11 show, Hannity aired a portion of a CNN segment about the network’s report that claimed that during the presidential campaign, Trump Jr. received an email providing website and login information for Hillary Clinton’s hacked campaign emails from Wikileaks. CNN later corrected some parts of its initial report. As reported by Mediaite, Hannity aired a part of the CNN segment on the report that implied Callan said Trump Jr. violated federal and New York state laws. But Callan’s full comment shows that he was speaking hypothetically, and actually said there was not enough evidence for a criminal case against Donald Trump Jr.
Hannity has a history of airing deceptively edited video clips to go after his perceived enemies. In 2011, CNN host Anderson Cooper called him out for clipping Cooper’s words out of context to make his straightforward report on former diplomat Joseph Wilson seem like an attack against the administration of former President George W. Bush. In that same episode, Hannity also deceptively edited clips from journalist Katie Couric and former CBS correspondent Mike Wallace.
Hannity also aired deceptive edits to attack then-President Barack Obama. In 2010, now-Fox host Howard Kurtz criticized Hannity for cropping an Obama speech, making it seem like Obama said that he was raising taxes when he was actually saying that the Bush administration had planned for the tax increase to occur after Bush left office. A year before that, Hannity aired clips from a Fox News interview with Obama, editing out specific lines in order to make it seem as if Obama had not acknowledged the role U.S. presidents played in lifting the Iron Curtain. Hannity’s deceptive edits and misrepresentations of Obama’s comments were part of his extensive anti-Obama, conservative disinformation campaign during Obama’s presidency.
In addition to clipping videos to fit his narrative agenda, Hannity has also promoted deceptively edited videos from discredited and fringe sources like James O’Keefe’s ACORN videos, Center for Medical Progress’ false attacks against Planned Parenthood, and filmmaker Ami Horowitz’s anti-Islam YouTube stunt. Hannity’s history of pushing disinformation and conspiracy theories has led to an exodus of advertisers from his Fox News program, adding to a significant drop in the network’s ad revenue. Media Matters has continued to urge Hannity’s advertisers to reconsider funding Hannity’s brand of disinformation and extremism, warning that his volatility makes him a business risk.