Fox News host Sean Hannity is hitting the campaign trail to support gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who is seeking re-election.
Hannity is a pro-Trump propagandist who has a long history of pushing smears and conspiracy theories. He reacted to the shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, MD, yesterday by blaming Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), stating: "I've been saying now for days that something horrible was going to happen because of the rhetoric. Really, Maxine?"
Both DeSantis and Gaetz are frequent guests on Fox News and have integrated the network into their respective campaigns.
Gaetz posted a June 27 promotional video for one of the stops that featured Hannity praising Gaetz on his Fox News program. The video was paid for by Gaetz’s congressional campaign. In the past, Fox News objected to a political campaign that used network footage in an advertisement. (Update: The Gaetz campaign has removed the video from its Facebook post. Media Matters downloaded the video before this piece went live; the video can be found here.)
DeSantis announced that he was running for governor during a January episode of Fox & Friends. He also mentions in the first paragraph of the biography on his campaign website that he is endorsed by “Fox News’ Sean Hannity, and radio host Mark Levin” (who is also a Fox News host).
Among other pro-Republican activities, Hannity starred in a 2016 campaign ad for President Donald Trump’s campaign; a Fox News spokesperson later claimed: “We had no knowledge that Sean Hannity was participating in this and he will not be doing anything along these lines for the remainder of the election.” He also keynoted a 2010 fundraiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee that “raised over $7 million.”
Last year, Fox News host Laura Ingraham headlined an October fundraiser for Republican Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Kelli Ward. The New York Times reported then that “Fox News hosts are not usually allowed to stump for candidates, but Ms. Ingraham was granted an exception because her show had not yet begun” (Ingraham was a Fox News contributor and frequent guest host prior to starting The Ingraham Angle).
Fox News did not reply to a Media Matters request for comment.