Fox News’ Sean Hannity hosted Republican congressional candidate Lauren Boebert on his TV show — providing a prime-time platform to a candidate who has supported the violence-linked QAnon conspiracy theory.
On June 30, Boebert defeated incumbent Rep. Scott Tipon in the GOP primary for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, and has since been added to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” fundraising program. She has also promoted an endorsement by former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO), a white nationalist who has advocated COVID-19 conspiracy theories.
As Media Matters has previously explained, the QAnon conspiracy theory is based on cryptic posts to far-right online message board from an anonymous user known as “Q” and alleges that Democratic officials are leaders of a worldwide pedophilia ring, which President Donald Trump is secretly combatting.
The QAnon movement was name-checked in a leaked May 2019 FBI document highlighting the emergence of conspiracy theory-fueled domestic terrorism threats, and devotees have committed a number of murders, engaged in armed standoffs, and made politically motivated death threats. QAnon followers have vandalized churches, taken police on high-speed chases, and in one case, conspired with fellow followers to commit kidnapping.
Boebert is one of at least 73 current or former 2020 congressional candidates who have expressed support for the conspiracy theory.
After winning her primary, Boebert attempted to back away from her previous words of support for QAnon, telling Colorado Fox affiliate KDVR in July: “QAnon is a lot of things to different people. I was very vague in what I said before. I’m not into conspiracies. I’m into freedom and the Constitution of the United States of America. I’m not a follower.”
However, Boebert had previously appeared on the online show Steel Truth, hosted by QAnon supporter Ann Vandersteel, and said that she was “very familiar with it” with the QAnon movement, and that everything she heard about QAnon “is only motivating and encouraging and bringing people together, stronger, and if this is real, then it can be really great for our country.”
Hannity’s August 6 segment with Boebert and Fox News contributor Dan Bongino focused largely on the lawsuit against the National Rifle Association by New York Attorney General Letitia James, involving alleged misappropriation of funds by several top NRA leaders. (Bongino was a former host on NRATV, which folded in 2019.)
Hannity introduced Boebert as an “up-and-coming Colorado congressional candidate” who was “taking on the Washington swamp” and cited her previous public confrontation with then-Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke in 2019 over the issue of gun control.
Hannity never referred directly to Boebert’s background in fringe conspiracy theories, instead portraying her as the victim of unfair media attacks: “I notice, Lauren, you being attacked — which, by the way, welcome to the club. Dan I and I live in that world every second of every day.”
Back in 2018, Hannity himself tweeted the message, “Watch @wikileaks closely! Tick tock,” and quoted another tweet that contained the “#QAnon” hashtag.