Sean Hannity’s latest election fraud “evidence” was too bogus for OAN


Citation Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

It’s time for everyone to point and laugh at Sean Hannity. On Monday’s show, the Fox News star cited purported evidence that the 2020 presidential election was tainted by fraud that was so obviously bogus that it had previously been rejected by the fringe-right One America News network.

As part of his nightly rant in support of President Donald Trump’s seditious attempt to overturn his election defeat by throwing out the votes of millions of Americans, Hannity suggested that people should be skeptical that President-elect Joe Biden actually won because of purportedly low viewership of his Thanksgiving message.

“What did Joe Biden get, less than a thousand people to tune in for his Thanksgiving Day message?” Hannity said. “But we’re supposed to believe he got 15 million more votes than Barack Obama and 15 million more than Hillary [Clinton].” 

Hannity’s claim echoes a Trump talking point that originated with OAN. The sycophantically pro-Trump network reported on November 27 that Biden’s Thanksgiving address “got only 1,000 views online,” citing a random Twitter user.

Trump, who has been watching OAN more frequently in recent weeks, sent a tweet highlighting the segment less than an hour later.

Trump’s tweet spurred multiple articles debunking the claim, as reporters noted that the address had received hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube and millions more on Twitter. 

Even OAN -- which had previously published unhinged conspiracy theories about the antifa ties of a battered septuagenarian protestor and an international cabal’s plot to use the coronavirus to achieve population control -- didn’t stand by the story. Later that same day, the network’s anchor said they were “correcting the record” and that Biden’s address actually received “at least hundreds of thousands" of views.

Trump, however, either didn’t see OAN’s correction or didn’t care. He continued to use the “grossly false tally” during his first post-election rally on Saturday. 

“When he made a Thanksgiving Day speech on the internet, they say he had less than a thousand people,” Trump said of Biden. “How do you have 80 million votes if you have less than a thousand people?”

Trump’s criticism of Fox over its supposedly insufficient support for his coup attempt and his praise for its competitors, OAN and Newsmax, has spurred a race to the bottom in right-wing media. The various outlets and commentators are trying to stand out and gain or preserve market share by promoting increasingly baroque election conspiracy theories. 

Hannity’s Thanksgiving faceplant is hilarious, as are the inept antics of Trump’s ludicrously out-of-its-depth legal team. But the goal they are trying to achieve -- the theft of a presidential election in plain sight, with the vocal or tacit support of virtually the entire Republican leadership -- is deadly serious.