Sean Hannity’s dual role as Fox News host and Republican political operative creates so many conflicts of journalistic ethics that it is difficult to keep track of them all. So it comes as little surprise that Fox, a GOP propaganda channel, is increasing Hannity’s role in the network’s election coverage as the 2022 midterms approach.
Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade announced at the conclusion of a lengthy interview with Hannity on Monday that the prime-time host would be a regular feature through the election. “I just got word you’re going to be with us almost every week now,” he said.
Kilmeade’s co-hosts both touted Hannity’s election coverage. “No one has been covering the midterm elections quite like you,” gushed Carley Shimkus, while Steve Doocy offered that “nobody’s got better coverage of the midterms than you do.”
What that means in practice is that Hannity devotes far more attention to the midterm campaigns than his colleagues, and his coverage consists of unrelenting and dishonest attacks on Democratic candidates while carrying water for GOP ones.
Fox & Friends viewers got a sense of the Hannity treatment over his 11 minutes of airtime. He went after the purportedly “radical extreme” abortion positions of Democratic gubernatorial nominees Stacey Abrams (GA) and Katie Hobbs (AZ), as well as Democratic Senate nominees John Fetterman (PA), Mandela Barnes (WI), and Raphael Warnock (GA), while also hitting New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on crime.
He also praised the campaigns of Republican Senate nominees Marco Rubio (FL), Ted Budd (NC), Tim Scott (SC), Donald Bolduc (NH), Mehmet Oz (PA), Eric Schmitt (MO), Ron Johnson (WI), J.D. Vance (OH), Adam Laxalt (NV), Blake Masters (AZ), Tiffany Smiley (WA), and Joe O’Dea (CO), as well as Republican gubernatorial nominees Kari Lake (AZ) and Lee Zeldin (NY).
The biggest midterms story of last week did not come up on Monday. Hannity and the Fox & Friends crew ignored Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker reportedly urging a girlfriend to get an abortion in 2009, reimbursing her for the cost when she did so, and then urging her to get a second abortion in 2011, which she did not do and instead had their son. Instead, Hannity – who helped build Walker’s Republican brand, pulling him into the race and relentlessly supporting his candidacy – targeted Walker opponent Warnock’s “own issues that really have not played out on television yet. I think they will.”
Hannity also highlighted the role that crime might play in the election, arguing that “if Republicans have a wave election win, law and order is definitely going to be a big part of it,” and claiming that the “we are setting record after record in terms of murders, violent crime, carjackings in almost every big city in the country.” It just so happens that crime messaging is also a big part of the GOP’s Fox-forged political strategy.
Fox & Friends isn't regularly hosting Hannity in the lead-up to the midterms because they think he will bring viewers important insight into key races. They're doing it because they know he's a hack who will do everything in his power to drag the GOP to victory, which is the network's primary function.