Sean Hannity says he discounted Trump’s stock market performance. He did --- when it fell.

Hannity touted the stock market under Trump and discounts it under Biden. His excuse for that doesn’t add up either.

Sean Hannity stock market

Citation Fox News, 1/2/18

Fox News host Sean Hannity doesn’t think the stock market is a good “barometer” for the U.S. economy — at least, when its performance makes President Joe Biden look good or Donald Trump look bad.

Hannity said last week that Biden “can't point to any success that is remarkable that would warrant another four years in office,” dismissing the S&P 500’s January 19 record high as inconsequential for most Americans. But as Media Matters reported Monday, the Fox host regularly celebrated stock market highs during Trump’s presidency as one of his greatest “accomplishments.” Hannity, apparently irked by our pointing out his hypocrisy, responded yesterday on his radio show by arguing that he was always careful to include caveats in his commentary about such records during the Trump administration.

“They can throw numbers at people all day long,” Hannity said. “You know, somebody actually — James sent me a thing. ‘Hannity, you did tout the Trump stock market when it broke a record.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I did.’ But, I also had the same caveat I have now. It's not my biggest barometer about how people in this country are doing. It never has been.”

This is a flagrant lie.

First, because the Biden White House can point to numerous other indicators that the American economy is working for the public, from strong job gains to wage increases to declining inflation to booming growth. Even Larry Kudlow, the Fox Business host who was previously Trump’s top White House economic adviser, admits that recent economic performance has been better than he predicted and that Biden “gets his due.”

And second, because Hannity did not, in fact, consistently tell his audience that the stock market highs were no big deal during Trump’s presidency. On his Fox show, Hannity regularly showed them a rolling list labeled “President Trump’s Accomplishments” which featured, as its second item — above other economic indicators like wages and employment — the stock market’s “all-time high.”

Screen captures of Hannity show
From Fox News' Hannity on November 27, 2017; April 12, 2018; September 26, 2019; and December 5, 2019.

Media Matters was, however, able to identify two instances in which Hannity told Fox viewers during the Trump administration that the stock market was not a good “barometer” for the economy. Both came in March 2020, when Trump’s failed handling of the coronavirus pandemic sent the stock market into a free-fall.

On March 6, 2020, the three major U.S. stock indexes all fell more than 3%. That night, Hannity told his Fox audience that the economy was still strong and that the “jittery” stock market wasn’t a good “barometer of an economy.”

“Our economy — well, in spite of Wall Street always being jittery, it continues to show the fundamental strength is at an all-time high,” he said. “Look, I have never been the person that says — I’ve said on my radio show a lot — that says the barometer of an economy is the stock market. Markets get jittery. It's normal. It's a process. There are market corrections.”

Video file

Citation From the March 6, 2020, edition of Fox News' Hannity.

Hannity also talked down the importance of the stock market as a “barometer” on March 16, 2020, after all three indexes plunged more than 12%, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffering its third-largest loss in history and the Nasdaq composite facing its worst day ever.

“Stocks, another grisly day on Wall Street after emergency Federal Reserve action failed to quell larger economic fears about the impact of corona,” he said. “While it still anyone's guess what's going to happen in the short-term, the fundamentals are strong.” 

Hannity went on to tell Fox host Melissa Francis, “You know, it's interesting, I'm not a big stock market guy. I never use that as my biggest barometer. We're watching it fall. When we get through this, which we will, I expect the market will rise.”

Video file

Citation From the March 16, 2020, edition of Fox News' Hannity.

If you’re keeping track, Hannity doesn’t think the stock market is a good barometer when it is rising and a Democrat is president, or when it is falling and a Republican is in the Oval Office. But when it rises under a Republican president, that’s a very different story.