CNN's Stelter: Hannity’s Peddling Of Conspiracy Theories “Does A Disservice” To His Audience

Brian Stelter: Hannity And Matt Drudge Prove “Donald Trump Is In Some Ways Mainstreaming Conspiracy Theories”

From the August 16 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360: 

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ANDERSON COOPER (HOST): I was kind of amazed that Sean Hannity did put that sort of analysis of that ridiculous head moving video which was obviously just [Hillary Clinton] kind of having a fake almost like spit-take reaction to what the reporter was saying. 

BRIAN STELTER: Anderson, Sean Hannity is an excellent broadcaster and he's entertaining. He's definitely an entertainer, but he's doing a disservice to his audience by peddling these conspiracy theories and the Clinton campaign, whether you agree with them or not, they are right tonight to be saying these are just conspiracy theories. They've been debunked time and time again. But unfortunately to some viewers, to some readers of the Drudge Report and Sean Hannity's show, they believe this stuff. That actually does a disservice to the audience. 


There is a grain of truth in these stories because of her health scare several years ago. But her doctor said again today --

COOPER: She had a concussion. She fell at home or something. 

STELTER: Right, and so that gave this grain of truth, and then there's been this mountain of lies that's been built on top of it. Even tonight her doctor once again saying she is in excellent health. But think about I think what this means about the conservative media ecosystem and in 2012 there was something called unskewed polls where conservatives online were convinced Mitt Romney was actually winning. Barack Obama was actually losing. And they were so surprised on election day when Romney lost. There's something similar happening now with claims, conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, convincing some Trump supporters online that actually Trump has it in the bag, that actually he's winning in the polls, actually Clinton is not going to be able to be president because she has got some secret health problem, et cetera. These voters are going to be in for a real rude awakening on election day and they're getting misinformation from some of their favorite news sources. And I think that, that's why I say they're doing a disservice to their viewers. The Drudge Report does a disservice to its audience by peddling this kind of stuff, I would use a more vulgar word, but we're on prime time here. This is stuff that does not belong on the lead website, like the Drudge Report, or on the Fox News Channel. It just  doesn't belong there. And the fact that it's showing up again and again, it shows that Donald Trump is in some ways mainstreaming conspiracy theories. 


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