Fox News host Sean Hannity closed out his program Monday night, the eve of the New Hampshire Democratic primary, with a little clip of himself at a Joe Biden campaign event in the state, where he talked to attendees. And at one point, he made an interesting challenge to one of his detractors: “Tell me one thing that I have said that’s false.”
The woman responded, “It’s how you characterize them.” Well, she didn’t have an entire research desk and archives at her disposal to give examples. So we at Media Matters are glad to help.
To begin with, a recently leaked internal memo at Fox News itself highlights Hannity’s role in spreading false and misleading information about the Ukraine scandal: He frequently hosted smear merchant John Solomon and his associates and Republican attorneys Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing to push the debunked narratives about Ukraine. Hannity also participated in pushing a smear campaign against former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, a fact that was even highlighted during the impeachment hearings. His political activities for Trump can single-handedly debunk Fox’s claims that it’s a news organization — and the notion that it tries to maintain any standard of journalistic ethics.
Hannity also shamelessly spread rumors and conspiracy theories about the 2016 murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich as part of a general right-wing effort to imply that Russians were not actually involved in hacking the DNC’s servers. Only after advertisers began pulling out from his show did Hannity deliver a two-faced declaration: “Now out of respect for the family's wishes, well, I decided for the time being not to discuss it unless there are further developments. But I also promised you, my audience, my loyal audience, that I will not stop investigating.”
Hannity also worked with John Solomon and another conservative journalist, Peter Schweizer, to push for an investigation of the supposed Uranium One scandal, claiming that it was evidence of the “real collusion” between then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russia. When the Trump Justice Department finally decided this January to end the review without bringing any charges, Hannity continued to insist there had been wrongdoing.
During the Obama years, Hannity could frequently be found pushing lies against the administration, from talking down the economic recovery to helping spread conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama’s birthplace and religion. He also once aired deceptively clipped footage to claim that Obama had “decided to give 9-11 sympathizers a voice” during a speech in Cairo, Egypt. (Interestingly enough, Hannity himself has hosted and promoted right-wing crank Dinesh D’Souza, who previously wrote an actual book arguing that the 9/11 terrorists had real grievances against America’s liberal culture.)