After news broke that President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen provided legal advice to Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Vanity Fair reporter Gabriel Sherman reported: “Hannity hired Michael Cohen to help defend him against left-wing groups that were calling for boycotts.” This is a clear reference to Media Matters’ efforts to hold Sean Hannity accountable.
Hannity’s appearance on Mark Levin’s radio show on May 30, 2017, gives some relevant context. The Fox host talked at length about a secret investigation on Media Matters that would later be revealed.
MARK LEVIN (HOST): And as these things develop, we see it more and more and more. Well, of a sudden, I was a conspiracy nut, Media Matters put out this -- this grotesque smear job, where they try and destroy who you are, they cherry-pick things you’ve said out of context, things -- and they sent it to all the media, and the media were regurgitating it. Here’s my question to you --
SEAN HANNITY: Mark, let me -- let me say something --
LEVIN: -- among other things. Yeah, go ahead.
HANNITY: We’ve done a very deep dive, and I don’t know when I’m going to release it, but I’m coming out with it.
Number one, where the money’s coming from, number two, you want to talk about outrageous, insane, incendiary, over the top, vicious, vile hatred of -- and things that have been done and said?
Oh, this guy that’s been on TV all week, I don’t even know his name, Carusone or something -- oh, you should see the things that I have on him, and what he’s said, and what this group is, and who funds -- remember, Hillary helped found this group, this Soros-Clinton group --
LEVIN: Media Matters.
HANNITY: Soros, and all these other people, it’s -- this is a concerted effort to silence talk radio, they want to destroy now the Fox News channel.
The next day, Hannity talked with Melanie Morgan about Media Matters, saying he had talked to Media Matters’ President Angelo Carusone’s high school teacher.