On the October 19 edition of his radio show, Fox News host Sean Hannity amplified an unverified and salacious claim about Hunter Biden. The allegation began the day before when Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), appearing on Fox with anchor Maria Bartiromo, made a stunning statement with zero evidence. That segment was widely condemned for its irresponsibility, but Hannity doubled down on its baseless claims, suggesting that “a lot of this is going to pan out to be true.”
Hannity has a long history of promoting baseless lies and conspiracy theories on his Fox and radio show. In one of the most vile examples of this pattern, Hannity championed a conspiracy theory involving murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. Now, Hannity is amplifying a baseless and deranged accusation about the Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son.
This accusation comes in the midst of a larger story, first reported by the New York Post last week, involving alleged evidence of an international criminal conspiracy involving Joe Biden found on an abandoned laptop in a Delaware repair shop. The supposed evidence of this plot was obtained by smear merchant Rudy Giuliani -- President Donald Trump's personal attorney, who has a history of coordinating with Russian agents. Now, the evidence of the smear campaign against Biden is being investigated by federal officials as part of a potential Russian disinformation campaign in the lead up to the presidential election.
CNN’s Jake Tapper covered Johnson’s accusation on his show in a responsible manner. Tapper noted that Johnson made an unverified accusation, and then rightly contextualized it within the larger scope of right-wing conspiracy theories.