Sean Hannity | Media Matters for America

Sean Hannity

Tags ››› Sean Hannity
  • Sean Hannity told Fox viewers to donate to a GOP candidate, whose campaign then turned it into an ad

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris is running a Facebook ad featuring Sean Hannity stating on Fox News that Harris “needs your help.”

    Harris is a former pastor who has appeared in anti-LGBTQ media outlets such as Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network and American Family Association’s American Family Radio. He has a history of pushing sexist remarks and promoting bigotry against Muslims   and   LGBTQ people. Harris’ race is considered one of the most competitive in the country.

    During his October 16 Fox News show, while running through “10 more of the House races that will decide the fate of the country,” Hannity said that “in North Carolina [District] Nine, Democrat Dan McCready has a big-time cash advantage, but conservative Republican Mark Harris has a very slight edge. He needs your help.”

    Harris responded to the segment the following day with a Facebook ad soliciting donations that features video of Hannity’s remarks. According to Harris, “Sean Hannity is Correct! My opponent is a liberal awash in cash because he is #PoweredByPelosi. We need your help to win this race for the good guys.”

    Facebook’s ad performance numbers state as of posting that the ad has been viewed 5,000-10,000 times in North Carolina and the campaign has spent less than $100 on it.

    Fox News has previously asked campaigns to take down advertisements that have video from the network in them. It did not respond to a request for comment.

    The network has frequently helped Republican candidates -- both on- and off-air. Hannity himself has headlined campaign events for two Florida politicians: gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ron DeSantis and congressional candidate Rep. Matt Gaetz this year. He will travel to Texas this weekend to campaign for Sen. Ted Cruz.

  • Republicans have already empowered gangs and extremist groups

    From the Proud Boys to Turning Point USA, extremists are ascendant on the right, but legacy media are too often playing catch-up

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Let's be clear about the state of things. A well-connected sitting congressman endorsed a neo-Nazi for political office, and it wasn't the first time this sort of thing happened. To the contrary, GOP candidates across the country have links to white nationalists. The GOP president -- who is the undisputed center of the party -- is a former game show host whose administration has repeatedly defended violent extremists. And his son has even appeared on a white nationalist show. The debate is over. The extremists have taken over the party.

    And yet, legacy media outlets are too often caught completely unaware.

    On October 12, the Metropolitan Republican Club hosted Gavin McInnes, founder of the self-identified “gang” Proud Boys. During the event, McInnes re-enacted the violent 1960 murder of Japanese socialist party leader Inejiro Asanuma. After McInnes' appearance, a number of Proud Boys were taped nearby brutally beating and kicking several individuals” and shouting homophobic slurs at protesters. Videos show "more than a dozen" Proud Boys, including at least three skinheads, punching and kicking protesters on the ground.

    In response, The New York Times has covered McInnes' exploits with kid gloves and reduced his extremism to mere provocation. Just look how thrilled white supremacist Ann Coulter was with the piece:

    The Times’ irresponsible description of McInnes as simply a "far-right provocateur" is already memorialized on Wikipedia, potentially the most widely read source of information by audiences that might never have heard of him before. As Jacob Weindling wrote, "You can quote Gavin McInnes directly while describing events that happened and get a harsher description of McInnes than the NYT wrote. ... I don't know how you can call the beginning of this article anything other than white nationalist propaganda."

    Weindling is correct. Just look at McInnes’ speech to the Manhattan Republican Club, in which he told Republicans that they need Proud Boys as “foot soldiers," because of what they have in common. Or look at what McInnes said on his podcast on October 14, when he defended the use of anti-LGBTQ slurs.

    And this characterization matters. While the Times is describing McInnes as a "provocateur," and NBC News is portraying the Proud Boys as a "nationalist movement," the reality is that we're in far more dangerous territory. As Daily Beast reporter Kelly Weill noted, by making alliances with groups like the Proud Boys, “mainstream Republicans can sort of outsource the political and physical violence that they’d like to enact against opponents.”

    And McInnes is not an isolated figure: He and the Proud Boys are deeply entwined in right-wing media. McInnes was a contributor to Fox News for eight years, appearing on Sean Hannity’s show at least 24 times. In 2017, Hannity hosted another Proud Boy with ties to the violent white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally to discuss political violence. Fox host Mark Levin has given McInnes two shows on his online outlet CRTV, where McInnes has pushed extremist bigotry like promoting men’s rights activism, calling female journalists “colostomy bag for various strangers’ semen,” and glorifying violence and fighting. Fox host Tucker Carlson happily posed with Roger Stone and two Proud Boys in a Fox green room and “declined to disavow” the group when asked about it. McInnes shows up on right-wing radio and on right-wing YouTube. In an era in which the right-wing is doing everything it can to suppress opposition, it's no wonder that the Proud Boys are now part of the Republican machine.

    It's not just the Proud Boys, either.

    On the October 17 edition of Today, NBC gave a platform to Identity Evropa -- a white supremacist group actively seeking to rebrand its racism as identitarianism. The network referred to Identity Evropa as a “fringe group,” yet NBC still gave its leaders a softball interview on a show that consistently reaches the coveted demographic of adults ages 25-54; its affiliated channel MSNBC also aired segments featuring the group and other white supremacists.

    NBC’s Peter Alexander played into Identity Evropa's obsession with “optics” and rejection of “anti-social behavior” by remarking on how “clean cut” its representatives look. The segment allowed the white supremacist organization to expand its reach beyond YouTube and social media to recruit followers and promote its talking points, which include blatantly pushing white nationalism using the Republican Party as a vehicle. The group's leader was thrilled was the exposure.

    It's clear that the communications wing of the GOP has no problem with these groups.

    On October 16, Fox News host Laura Ingraham invited Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson on her show for a softball interview. Patriot Prayer is a far-right coalition whose membership overlaps with the Proud Boys and whose unity relies on their common “hatred for the left.” Gibson has personally encouraged his followers to instigate violence, promising that counterprotesters “are going to feel the pain.” Ingraham's interview conveniently ignored a report by The Oregonian that the group had "a cache of guns" including "long guns" on a rooftop in Portland, OR, before a summer protest. That's where we are: One of the president's favorite television hosts did a friendly interview with the type of person whose group sets up a cache of guns during a protest of that president.

    Fox also frequently hosts Turning Point USA’s most prominent members, Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens, close allies of the president. Left unmentioned are the extremist views of TPUSA. The Miami New Times unearthed online chats from one TPUSA chapter that feature members warning each other about not using racial slurs too often, talking about "watching underage cartoon pornography and deporting Latina women," and sharing memes about "Syrian men raping a white Swedish woman at gunpoint." An attendee at a TPUSA conference was filmed praising Nazi Germany. And when TPUSA pushed out the person who wrote "I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all. ... I hate blacks," the replacement was someone who said, "I love making racist jokes." Undeterred, Fox News hosts and top allies of the president happily attend TPUSA events, and TPUSA members openly raise money off of Fox segments that fearmonger about the liberalization of college campuses. It's quite the con.

    Or look at Fox host Tucker Carlson, an innovator in this space. Instead of mainstreaming an extremist group, Carlson is cutting out the middleman and mainstreaming men's rights and white supremacist propaganda himself.

    Make no mistake: People across America are seeing all of this and speaking up. But at some point, it'd be nice if the legacy media would notice too.

  • The banality of the Ben Sasse/Sean Hannity feud

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Republican Sen. Ben Sasse has spent the last two years trying to carve out a niche as a bold truth-teller, the natural heir to the late Sen. John McCain’s position as a figure beloved by the press for supposedly rising above partisan politics. Sasse has been a frequent critic of President Donald Trump’s rhetoric -- albeit one who fails to back up his fierce statements with action -- and has said he often considers leaving the Republican Party. The Nebraska senator is currently garnering a wave of headlines after criticizing Sean Hannity in his latest book, reigniting his feud with the Fox News host. But Sasse’s argument is both more clever and more cynical than merely calling out Hannity as a toxic element in the conservative movement. Instead, Sasse is using the naked corruption of Hannity and his ilk as an entry point to criticize the rest of the press, which he disingenuously portrays as the mirror image of Fox’s depravity.

    Hannity is one of the most powerful figures in the conservative movement. He boasts cable news and talk radio programs with massive audiences, has long been a kingmaker in the Republican Party, and parlayed his early support for Trump in the 2016 primaries into a role as one of the president’s closest advisers. After Trump’s election, Hannity remade his show into a nightly assault on the vast, shadowy conspiracy he claims has assembled to oppose the president. Hannity’s role as a fervent Trump propagandist brought him into conflict with Sasse, with the commentator denouncing the senator after Sasse criticized Trump’s attacks on the press in October 2017.

    Sasse misses much of what makes Hannity so dangerous in his book, Them: Why We Hate Each Other -- And How To Heal, choosing not to present Hannity as a distinctly bad actor, but as the embodiment of what he terms the media’s “Polarization Business Model.” This is a shell game, one in which Sasse repeatedly presents specific, damning evidence against Hannity and his compatriots in the conservative press -- describing their activities as a dishonest game in which they gin up outrage to pad their own wallets -- then condemns the rest of the media for allegedly behaving in the same way. Having thrown up his hands in this manner, Sasse is left arguing to his readers not that Hannity’s influence must be curbed, but that they should focus on their “in-person communities” and practice the “healthy habits” detailed elsewhere in his book.

    After writing that Hannity explained in a New York Times interview that the “core objective” of his programs “is to rage,” and that his show is one long diatribe telling his audience of “angry, isolated people what they want to hear,” Sasse concludes: “We’d all be better off, as would our communities, if we understood the game he and his colleagues—on both sides of the spectrum—are playing.”

    Sasse notes a case in which Hannity used a hoax tweet to suggest that progressives had cheered last year’s mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music concert, and never corrected the record. His takeaway for his readers is that “the left” and the “national ‘news’” do the same thing, though he curiously does not identify any concrete examples of them doing so.

    The senator presents a Fox News personality who tells him that “Hannity hasn’t been a conservative for years,” having determined that “teaching and defending conservatism is both harder and less effective than just hitting some crazy liberal.” He concludes that “most TV personalities are not trying to speak to any broad middle of the electorate but are rather competing only against others at roughly the same point on the ideological spectrum.”

    And after describing conversations with three top-tier conservative radio hosts who, he claims, apologized for attacking him in order to preserve their pro-Trump audiences, Sasse criticizes “so many media personalities” who “view our nation as their personal vending machine.”

    Sasse is up front that he hasn’t done the work to justify his broad conclusions. “The examples of media malpractice I detail in this chapter are predominantly from the right,” he writes, explaining that “this is a function of my daily life experience of being a Republican and representing a state that has been overwhelmingly Republican for decades.” Nonetheless, he concludes that “it is readily apparent that very similar echo chambers exist on the left side of the political and media spectrum as well.”

    As an argument, this is nonsense; Sasse substitutes rhetoric for evidence to assume that conditions are the same on both sides of the aisle. Among other mistakes, Sasse dramatically misunderstands how central Fox News and the right-wing press are to the conservative movement relative to the importance of mainstream and left-leaning media to progressives. Fox isn’t the mirror image of a normal news outlet; it’s a right-wing propaganda outlet that has routinely served as a launching pad for Republican candidates. There is no recent precedent for Trump’s relationship to the network: He’s credited it for the launch of his political career, uses its staff as the talent pool for his administration, and regularly consults with the network’s array of conservative talking heads. Hannity isn’t just a guy with some shows; he speaks to the president so regularly that White House aides refer to him as the “shadow” chief of staff.

    But Sasse is displaying a certain canniness. He is surely aware that the right has a limitless capacity for criticisms of the mainstream press. And he’s long benefited from the mainstream media’s eagerness to find Republican politicians they can lift up as somehow different from the rest. Sasse’s criticism of Hannity really benefits Sasse -- and, to some extent, Hannity himself. Sasse’s readers will come away convinced not that Hannity is a uniquely destructive force in American politics, but that he is a conventional commentator whose deleterious actions are really no different from anyone else in the press.

  • Fox News' ad chief admits that advertisers are leaving. Here's what's going on.

    Most national advertisers reject Fox News’ most prominent hosts -- and with good reason

    Blog ››› ››› ANGELO CARUSONE


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    A new report published by Politico examines the rejection that Fox News’ most prominent programs are experiencing from advertisers.

    Just how bad is it?

    According to the article, Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s advertiser base has effectively evaporated. Most national “blue-chip” advertisers won’t advertise on her show. Her advertiser base, which had included 229 brands prior to April 2018, has shrunk down to 85, with many of those either being short-burst political advertisers or less desirable direct-response ads.

    In late March 2018, Ingraham publicly ridiculed Parkland mass-shooting survivor David Hogg for not being accepted to a college he had applied to attend. Hogg and online activists responded by showing Ingraham’s history of attacks to her advertisers. Advertisers fled her program in droves, with many publicly announcing their decision and many more quietly removing their ads. Advertisers publicly exited her show a second time a few months later after Ingraham compared immigrant children detention centers to summer camps.

    As Politico observes, Fox News responded to this diminished advertiser inventory by reducing the commercial time on Ingraham’s show by about one-third -- from around 15 minutes per show to a bit more than 10 minutes per show.

    But this time statistic alone doesn’t capture the full scope of the damage, because it includes unpaid ads (like promos for Fox News programs).

    If you look at paid ads alone, Ingraham’s show has about 50 percent less ads per show now than she did before advertisers started to flee. According to a Media Matters analysis, Ingraham averaged 31 paid ads per show prior to advertisers fleeing her show in late March and now averages 17 paid ads per show.

    With most blue-chip advertisers refusing to run on Ingraham’s show, the companies filling the available slots are direct-response advertisers that “often look to buy leftover space at discounted rates and are less picky about where their ads appear,” Politico noted. Over time, this trend has the net effect of driving down the ad rates for a show. (The exact same thing happened with Glenn Beck’s Fox program, as I chronicled here in great detail.)

    In dollars and cents, Kantar Media’s Jon Swallen tells Politico, Ingraham’s advertising revenue could be down a staggering 15-30 percent!

    The advertiser problems aren’t limited to Ingraham’s show either. Dozens of companies have removed their ads from Sean Hannity’s program, and even more have told me that they block Hannity and other more extreme Fox News programs so their ads never appear in the first place.

    Fox News’ head of ad sales, Marianne Gambelli, blamed Media Matters and activists for making advertisers uncomfortable with aligning with certain content.

    Gambelli’s assessment is partially correct. Activists have been a potent force here. And, I admit, Media Matters has doggedly chronicled Fox News, and we have spent considerable time over the past year warning advertisers and media buyers about Fox News’ intensifying extremism and the risks of associating with it.

    But Gambelli ignores the bigger cause of Fox News’ growing advertiser problem: the channel’s own talent.

    Fox News’ most prominent shows -- the ones that are supposed to be most palatable for advertisers -- are also defined by bigotry, extremism, conspiracy theories, and outright volatility. From a business perspective, they’re a bad bet.

    Additionally, those shows and the network as a whole often function as an extension of the White House’s communications operation. It’s one thing for a show to have an ideological or political perspective, but much of Fox News’ programming these days is more akin to a political propaganda operation. That puts advertisers in the position of not just aligning with an ideology, but actively participating in politics -- something just about every advertiser is loathe to do.

    Earlier this month, I tweeted out this observation following a series of recent conversations with media buyers:

    In the past two weeks, I've spoken pretty extensively [with] media buyers that place a lot of ads on Fox News. There is deep anxiety brewing that they will need to shift their clients' ads away from Fox News before a massive controversy forces them to after causing reputation damage.

    After a then Fox News contributor tweeted that Prof. Blasey Ford was a "skank," one buyer who I had been pushing on for some time reached out to me saying, “This is what you've been warning about. Thank god for advertisers this didn't happen on air.”

    But what that buyer missed and I pointed out is: It just as easily could have happened on air because that kind of stuff is not abnormal for Fox News, it's actually the norm. And you can see similar odious comments daily.

    Those sentiments I was hearing were echoed by the advertising executive quoted in the Politico report:

    One advertising executive said that most brands he works with find it easier to steer clear of the Fox News prime-time block. He said CNN and MSNBC are not subject to the same concerns, since those networks’ hosts have not courted controversy at the same level.

    “Those prime-time personalities for the most part have proven themselves over time to be more trouble than they’re worth,” the executive said of Fox News.

    Indeed. The advertising industry has ample reason to feel this way.

    Last fall, Fox News viewers began smashing their Keurig machines at Sean Hannity’s behest after the company advised me that it would remove its ads from Hannity’s show:

    Fox News basically let the situation unfold for days before seemingly intervering and pressuring Hannity to tamp down the boycott of his former advertiser. But the business damage was done, as more media buyers recognized that the best way to protect their clients from the inevitable next outrage was just to keep their ads off the program in the first place.

    There’s been a steady stream of reminders, too.

    For example, Tucker Carlson courted controversy earlier this summer when he began effectively promoting an ethnonationalist ideal of people living with their own kind by arguing that diversity actually makes society weaker.

    Just a few weeks ago, citing an increase in non-white people in America, Laura Ingraham lamented that “in some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore.”

    And there are plenty more where those two examples came from.

    The bottom-line takeaway from this latest Politico piece is consistent with what I have been saying for some time now: A portion of Fox News’ programming is increasingly toxic to advertisers due to its extremism or volatility, and those shows are experiencing deep and sustained advertiser losses.

    It’s clear that Fox News isn’t going to change or address the issues either. So those advertiser problems are about to get even worse.

  • Sean Hannity claimed he had "never heard of" the Proud Boys. He hosted a member on his show in 2017.

    Jovi Val is a "prominent Proud Boy" who recently spoke at the second edition of the white supremacist rally, Unite the Right 2. He was also a guest on Hannity's radio show in 2017.

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    In reaction to the violent incident in which pro-Trump group the Proud Boys assaulted protesters after attending an event at a Manhattan Republican club by group founder Gavin McInnes, Sean Hannity falsely claimed on the October 15 edition of his radio show that he "had never heard of" the Proud Boys. In addition to hosting McInnes 24 times on his Fox News show, Hannity also hosted "prominent Proud Boy" Jovi Val on his radio show in 2017, giving him and far-right conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer a platform to talk about "political violence."

    Val has participated in Proud Boy events and last August was a speaker at the second edition of the Unite the Right rally, a white supremacist melee organized by white nationalist Jason Kessler. The first edition of Unite the Right, held in Charlottesville, VA, resulted in the death of counterprotester Heather Hayer after a white supremacist rammed a car into a crowd.

    From the July 20, 2017, edition of Premiere Radio Network's The Sean Hannity Show:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): There was an incident that occurred while dancing at a bar, OK? A person has a Make America Great hat on their head and it falls on the floor. Then a bar patron, Emma Rodriguez, allegedly stomps on this person Val’s hat. Val told The Rebel that after he asked her to stop and he placed his hand on her shoulder to move her away, Rodriguez’s boyfriend allegedly attacked Val from behind with a beer bottle. Anyway, so this individual and Rodriguez allegedly continued the assault against Val bleeding out on the floor of the bar. Anyway, here to give us more information about all of this, Laura Loomer is a commentator for Rebel, and also joining us is Dr. Joseph Pober is with us and pro-Trump activist Jovi Val. ... All right, Jovi, you’re the person that's a victim in all of this. So tell me what happened. You have a -- so I guess the --

    JOVI VAL: I was leaving a party and then we decided to go to another bar, me and my friends, and I had the Make America Great Again hat, red with white lettering, you know, the iconic one. And I’m there for a few hours just dancing and the people that attacked me were there too and finally my hat falls on the floor and I guess she took advantage of that and started stepping on it. I gave her the benefit of the doubt -- I was like, you know, maybe she accidentally stepped on it so I gave her some time to redeem herself, and it was like, nope, she’s stomping on it, she’s scraping it against the floor, mind you there’s liquor and glass on the floor, she doesn't care, she’s so angry. And I’m just looking at her like, “What are you doing?” And then she’s like, “I hate the hat, I hate you.” And I’m like, this is not -- I’m not for this right now. This is not the time for this. So I moved her away to get my hat and I go to get my hat and then the guy sees me do that to her, he sees me move her away, and next thing you know, he puts his hands on me, he punches me right in my nose, breaks my nose, cuts my face, she hits me in the back of the head with a glass bottle and I know for sure if I did not have the hat on this would have never happened. And people are saying that, you know, “Oh, you should have just waited for her to get off your hat” and I’m just like, “No, I’m sorry, but -- “

    HANNITY: Now, how many other people, Laura, because I know you spend a lot of time on social media, and Twitter, and I know you’re been doing a lot of reporting and commentating for Rebel, but how many instances of this are happening that nobody is reporting?

    LAURA LOOMER: There's a lot of them, all across the country, but Jovi was the second friend of mine and the second Trump activist in one week here in New York City to be attacked and beaten. There were a group of Proud Boys who went to a bar in New York the same week that Jovi was attacked and they were wearing their hats and they were with a disabled individual, and a Democrat who described himself as a member of antifa took the cane away from the disabled Republican and used it to beat the other Trump supporters over the head. So, one of my friends, he had to get staples in his head because his head was cracked open because he was a victim of left-wing political violence. Another one of my friends who was there received a broken -- I don’t know if he broke his nose but he definitely had a black eye and some cuts on his face. So, the injuries are severe and Dr. Pober, after examining Jovi’s face, had said that if he had been hit a little harder Jovi’s face could have been paralyzed, he lost a significant amount of blood and it could have actually killed him. So when are we going to start classifying antifa and these violent leftist groups as terrorist organizations, when is [New York City Mayor] Bill DeBlasio going to take a stand against these hate crimes against conservatives?

    Previously:

    Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes: "I have a lot of support in the NYPD and I very much appreciate that"

    Gavin McInnes advocates using the slur "faggot"

    Fox News attacks liberals after far-right group Proud Boys assaults protesters on the streets of New York

    Member of violent men-only fraternal organization Proud Boys goes on Infowars to recruit

    Video by John Kerr. This post has been updated with additional information.

  • Arizona journalists debunk edited video used by conservatives to smear Democratic Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema

    Blog ››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT


    Melissa Joskow / Media Matters

    Conservative media used an out-of-context video to falsely claim that Senate candidate Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) called all Arizonans "crazy." As local journalists explained, the full context of her remarks shows that Sinema was clearly referring only to Republican lawmakers in Arizona who were promoting extremist legislation, such as the state’s racially discriminatory SB 1070 "papers please" law.

    This smear originated with an October 11 tweet from the Twitter account “The Reagan Battalion,” described by The Associated Press as “an anonymous conservative group,” which published a 65 second-long video with clear edits at the 23 and 30 second marks, stripping Sinema's remarks of necessary context. According to the tweet, Sinema mocked “Arizonans as 'Crazy' and calls Arizona the 'crazy' state."

    As of 11 a.m. EDT today, that crudely edited video had roughly 240,000 views. The Reagan Battalion later posted a full 5 minute 23 second version on its YouTube account, suggesting it had the full context all along. The original, uncut video had only 3,129 views as of 11 a.m.

    Fox News host Sean Hannity ran with this false framing, citing The Reagan Battalion and saying the video showed Sinema "calling Arizonans, the people she wants to vote for her, crazy."
     

    Conservative outlet Independent Journal Review (IJR) embedded the deceptively edited Reagan Battalion video and tweet in a piece that falsely blared in its headline: “Leaked Video Shows Arizona Dem Senate Candidate Mocking Arizonans as ‘Crazy’ While in Texas.” Talk radio host and MSNBC contributor Hugh Hewitt tweeted: “Wow: ‘Sinema Called Arizonans “Crazy” at Texas Democratic Event in 2011,’” linking to a Washington Free Beacon story with a similarly misleading headline, despite the body of the piece acknowledging that she was referring to Republican lawmakers. Fox & Friends also aired an edited version of Sinema’s remarks which included her reference to Republicans lawmakers, yet the show still falsely claimed in an on-air graphic that “Sinema mocked Arizonans as ‘crazy’ in 2011.”

    But local journalists quickly made clear that conservatives were wrong to claim Sinema was referring to all Arizonans as “crazy.” Arizona Capitol Times editor Luige del Puerto called out The Reagan Battalion in a tweet, pointing out the clear edits and demanding it “show the unedited version so we can hear her whole speech.” He also told IJR that it was wrong to promote the misleadingly edited video. And The Arizona Republic published an article on Sinema’s full remarks with the correct context and a factually correct headline: “Kyrsten Sinema in 2011: 'There’s something wrong with the people in public office in Arizona.’” The lede of the article stated: “Rep. Kyrsten Sinema seven years ago ridiculed as ‘crazy’ the Republican elected officials leading the state at the time, and the anti-illegal immigration legislation that began in Arizona and was being replicated in state Capitols across the nation.”

    And Sinema was absolutely correct about the extremist nature of the Republican legislators in Arizona. The 2010 Arizona anti-immigrant bill SB 1070, known as the “papers please” law because it required police to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being in the country without authorization, was so extreme that the Supreme Court struck down three out of four provisions of the law in 2012. The remaining provision that required officers to question people’s immigration status and demand immigration documents was largely rendered moot in 2016 when the state settled a lawsuit brought by immigrants’ rights groups. The Arizona Republic explained that the law “sparked a national outcry” and “led to a torrent of canceled trips to Arizona by would-be tourists and conventioneers, and travel bans by cities and organizations around the country who deemed the legislation discriminatory and in violation of federal law.” The same article pointed out other extreme legislation introduced by Republicans in the state legislature that year:

    In 2011, the year of Sinema’s remarks, Republicans at the Arizona Capitol had introduced other legislation targeting undocumented immigrants.

    One bill would have required hospitals to check a person’s legal status and notify law enforcement if they suspected the person was in the United States illegally. Another would have banned illegal immigrants from going to state universities and community colleges, and from getting federal benefits.

    A third targeted the issue of birthright citizenship.

    All of the bills failed.

    Russell Pearce, who was singled out in Sinema’s remarks and authored the SB 1070 legislation, was forced into a recall election over the bill and lost to another Republican the year after it was signed into law.