Sean Hannity said he didn’t believe Sidney Powell’s election lies. He platformed her anyway.
Hannity described Powell as a “F’ing lunatic”
A recent filing in the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News shows that Fox News host Sean Hannity did not believe conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell’s election fraud lies in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. He invited her as a guest on his Fox News and radio show anyway.
This latest filing shows the extent to which the network knew it was pushing false claims to its viewers in the aftermath of the 2020 election by suggesting that Dominion’s machines were involved in voter fraud. Totalling 192 pages, the lawyers for Dominion lay out a seemingly endless list of facts and evidence that show how — from producers to on-air personalities to executives to Rupert Murdoch himself — “literally dozens of people with editorial responsibility” at Fox acted with, in Dominion’s view, “actual malice.”
On pages 141-142, the filing shows Hannity hosted Powell on his radio show during the day and on his Fox News show in the evening of November 30, 2020. According to the filing, “Hannity knew what Powell would say on air: she [had] been making these same claims for weeks, including on his own nationally syndicated radio show earlier that same day on November 30, and Hannity intended to bring up her allegations about Dominion on his Fox show that night.”
Hannity would admit later under oath that he never believed that Dominion cheated Trump out of an electoral victory in 2020. From an NPR December 2022 report: “Fox News star Sean Hannity – one of former President Donald Trump's strongest allies on the air and one of his closest advisers off it – admitted under oath that he never believed the lie that Trump was cheated of victory in the 2020 presidential election by a voting tech company.”
Hannity testified that he believed that it was “obvious” that Powell’s allegations were false and claimed, “I did not believe it for one second.”
Hannity even described Powell in a text message as a “F’ing lunatic.”
Media Matters’ Matt Gertz broke down Hannity’s extensive rhetoric on Dominion Voting systems, explaining, “Hannity discussed Dominion in eight Fox broadcasts between Election Day 2020 and the end of that year. Each time, he tried to inculcate doubt in his audience regarding the credibility of the company’s voting machines.”
The filing is the latest development in the yearslong battle over Dominion Voting Systems’ lawsuit against Fox News, originally filed in March 2021. Depositions of the Fox News employees began around August 2022, and the newly released filing is by far the biggest disclosure of evidence from Dominion’s side so far in the case.
Dominion is seeking to prove that Fox News knew it was broadcasting false information by showing that its stars were admitting the truth in private even as they continued to spread falsehoods about voting irregularities on the air.
Some of Fox News’ biggest names repeated the lies about Dominion or otherwise smeared the company, including Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, and Lou Dobbs. Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, and Sidney Powell also appeared on the network to spread falsehoods about Dominion. The network continued to push the lies even after its stars and executives knew the information was false.
Among the myriad false accusations aired on Fox were claims that Dominion machines altered vote counts, that the company gave “kickbacks” to elected officials, and that the voting machines were owned or controlled by foreign governments.