Anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has been feted by right-wing media figures in a transparent attempt to damage Joe Biden’s reelection campaign, previously called for advertiser boycotts against right-wing media figures he said were “lying to the American public” by denying climate change. The figures Kennedy called out — and later described as fascists — include Fox News host Sean Hannity, who is hosting a town hall for the candidate on his Tuesday night broadcast.
Kennedy condemned Hannity and other “corporate toadies” who are “lying to you” during a speech at Live Earth New York on July 7, 2007.
“And so I'm going to tell you this,” he said, “that the next time you see John Stossel, or Glenn Beck, or Rush Limbaugh, or Sean Hannity, these flat-Earthers, these corporate toadies, lying to you, lying to the American public, and telling you that global warming doesn't exist, you send an email to their advertisers and tell them you're not going to buy their products anymore.”
Hannity, who had previously jousted with Kennedy about climate change and the environment several times on his Fox show (then billed Hannity & Colmes), responded two nights later. He called Kennedy an “environmental extremist” and “a very angry man,” and went on to denounce the activist’s “incendiary rhetoric.”
The Fox host further criticized Kennedy for “taking a shot at me and everyone else who doesn't buy into his global warming hysteria” on his July 11, 2007, show. He also described him the following night as a “Learjet liberal” who is “very angry, very shrill” and “so arrogant and condescending.”
Kennedy subsequently went on Glenn Beck’s CNN Headline News program and said that he considered Beck, Hannity, and the other right-wing media figures he had criticized to be fascists.
During the July 12, 2007, interview, Beck said that “you call me a fascist for asking questions” and asked Kennedy to define the term.
“The American Heritage Dictionary defines fascism as the domination of government by corporate power,” Kennedy replied. “You and John Stossel, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh have made yourselves the primary spokesman for the domination of corporate power over American government.”
Kennedy did not return to Hannity’s Fox show until after he launched his 2024 presidential campaign, according to a review of the Nexis database. The candidate joined Hannity on May 8 to discuss how, in the Fox host’s words, voters are “abandoning” Biden and instead giving Kennedy a “whopping 20%” in the polls.
Hannity, a staunch Trump supporter who served as one of his closest presidential advisers, has frequently touted Kennedy’s campaign. In June, after airing a clip of the candidate saying that there is a “humanitarian crisis” at the U.S. border with Mexico, Hannity commented, “Wow. That’s a Democrat.”
“RFK delivering a much needed dose of reality to the entire Democratic Party, all while gaining real support and sparking, quote, jitters inside of Biden’s orbit,” the Fox host continued. “He’s also against biological men in women’s sports, and was dead set against how the country was treated with regards to COVID, and his candidacy is getting very interesting.”
Hannity then contrasted Kennedy’s “strong performance” with “the weak, frail, and cognitive mess of a president Joe Biden.”
Meanwhile, Kennedy’s standing in the polls has deteriorated, in part because Democratic voters are becoming increasingly aware that his biggest supporters are Republicans like Hannity and his Fox colleagues.