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Sean Hannity

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Sean Hannity is a conservative political commentator and hosts a nationally syndicated radio show, as well as two television shows on the Fox News Channel. In a 2013 interview Hannity said that he is a “registered Conservative” and ”not a Republican, though people often mistake me for one.” Hannity has authored three books.

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Sean Hannity

American television host, conservative political commentator

Sean Patrick Hannity[3] (born December 30, 1961)[4] is an American talk show host and conservativepolitical commentator. He is the host of The Sean Hannity Show, a nationally syndicated talk radio show, and has also hosted a commentary program, Hannity, on Fox News, since 2009.

Hannity worked as a general contractor and volunteered as a talk show host at UC Santa Barbara in 1989. He later joined WVNN in Athens, Alabama and shortly afterward, WGST in Atlanta. After leaving WGST, he worked at WABC in New York until 2013. Since 2014, Hannity has worked at WOR.[5]

In 1996, Hannity and Alan Colmes co-hosted Hannity & Colmes on Fox. After Colmes announced his departure in January 2008, Hannity merged the Hannity & Colmes show into Hannity.[6]

Hannity has received several awards and honors, including an honorary degree from Liberty University. He has written three New York Times best-selling books: Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism; Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism; and Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama's Radical Agenda, and released a fourth, Live Free or Die, in 2020.[7]

Hannity has sometimes promoted conspiracy theories, such as "birtherism" (claims that then-President Barack Obama was not a legitimate U.S. citizen), claims regarding the murder of Seth Rich, and falsehoods about Hillary Clinton's health. Hannity was an early supporter of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Hannity often acted as an unofficial spokesman for the president,[8] criticizing the media and attacking Robert Mueller's inquiry into Russian interference in Trump's election.[9] He reportedly spoke to Trump on the phone most weeknights. He spoke at the president's lectern during a Trump rally, and White House advisors characterized him as the "shadow" chief of staff.[11] According to Forbes, by 2018 Hannity had become one of the most-watched hosts in cable news and most-listened-to hosts in talk radio, due in part to his closeness and access to Trump.

Early life and education

Hannity was born in New York City, New York, the son of Lillian (née Flynn) and Hugh Hannity.[4][12] Lillian worked as a stenographer and a corrections officer at a county jail, while Hugh was a World War II veteran and family-court officer.[13] He was the youngest of four siblings and the only boy.[13] All his grandparents immigrated to the United States from Ireland. He grew up in Franklin Square, New York on Long Island.[13]

In his youth, Hannity worked as a paperboy delivering issues of the New York Daily News and the Long Island Daily Press. His parents were initially supporters of President John F. Kennedy, eventually growing more Republican in their views as time went on, though they resisted being overtly political at home.[13][14]

Hannity attended Sacred Heart Seminary in Hempstead, New York[13] and St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary in Uniondale, New York.[15] He attended New York University and Adelphi University, but did not graduate from either.[13]

Career

In 1982, Hannity started a house-painting business and a few years later, worked as a building contractor in Santa Barbara, California.[16] He hosted his first talk radio show in 1989 at the volunteer college station at UC Santa Barbara, KCSB-FM, while working as a general contractor. The show aired for 40 hours of air time.[17][18] Regarding his first show, he said, "I wasn't good at it. I was terrible."[19]

Radio

Hannity's weekly show on KCSB was canceled after less than a year after a controversy. During two shows, gay and lesbian rights were discussed in what was considered to be a contentious manner. (See LGBT issues below.) The university board that governed the station later reversed its decision after a campaign conducted on Hannity's behalf by the Santa Barbara chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the station had discriminated against Hannity's First Amendment rights. When the station refused to issue Hannity a public apology and more airtime, he did not return to KCSB.[20][14]

After leaving KCSB, Hannity placed an ad in radio publications, presenting himself as "the most talked about college radio host in America".[14] Radio station WVNN in Athens, Alabama (part of the Huntsville media market), then hired him to be the afternoon talk show host.[17] From Huntsville, he moved to WGST in Atlanta in 1992, filling the slot vacated by Neal Boortz, who had moved to competing station WSB. In September 1996, Fox News co-founder Roger Ailes hired the then relatively unknown Hannity to host a television program under the working title Hannity and LTBD ("liberal to be determined").[21]Alan Colmes was then hired to co-host and the show debuted as Hannity & Colmes.

Later that year, Hannity left WGST for New York, where WABC had him substitute for their afternoon drive time host during Christmas week. In January 1997, WABC put Hannity on the air full-time, giving him the late-night time slot. WABC then moved Hannity to the same drive-time slot he had filled temporarily a little more than a year earlier. Hannity was on WABC's afternoon time slot from January 1998.[22]

In their 2007 book Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That Is Destroying America, conservative Cal Thomas and liberal Bob Beckel describe Hannity as a leader of the pack among broadcasting political polarizers, which following James Q. Wilson they define as those who have "an intense commitment to a candidate, a culture, or an ideology that sets people in one group definitively apart from people in another, rival group".[23] The WABC slot continued until the end of 2013. Since January 2014, Hannity has hosted the 3:00–6:00 p.m. time slot on WOR in New York City.[24]

Hannity's radio program is a conservative political talk show that features Hannity's opinions and ideology related to current issues and politicians. The Sean Hannity Show began national syndication on September 10, 2001, on more than five hundred stations nationwide.[25] In 2004, Hannity signed a $25 million five-year contract extension with ABC Radio (now Citadel Media) to continue the show until 2009.[26] The program was made available via Armed Forces Radio Network in 2006.[27] In June 2007, ABC Radio was sold to Citadel Communications[28] and in the summer of 2008, Hannity was signed for a $100 million five-year contract.[29] As of March 2018, the program is heard by more than 13.5 million listeners a week.[30] Hannity was ranked No. 2 in Talkers Magazine's 2017 Heavy Hundred[31] and was listed as No. 72 on Forbes' "Celebrity 100" list in 2013.[32]

In January 2007, Clear Channel Communications signed a groupwide three-year extension with Hannity on more than eighty stations.[33] The largest stations in the group deal included KTRH Houston, KFYI Phoenix, WPGB Pittsburgh, WKRC Cincinnati, WOOD Grand Rapids, WFLA Tampa, WOAI San Antonio, WLAC Nashville, and WREC Memphis.

Hannity signed a long-term contract to remain with Premiere Networks in September 2013.[34]

At the beginning of 2014, Hannity signed contracts to air on several Salem Communications stations including WDTK Detroit, WIND Chicago, WWRC Washington, D.C., and KSKY Dallas.[35]

Television

See also: Hannity & Colmes, Hannity's America, and Hannity

Hannity was a co-host of Hannity & Colmes, an American political "point-counterpoint"-style television program on the Fox News Channel featuring Hannity and Alan Colmes as co-hosts. Hannity presented the conservative point of view with Colmes providing the liberal viewpoint.

While Hannity's views are typically politically and socially conservative, he has spoken supportively about birth control, which has led to on-air clashes with pro-life guests such as Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International.[36] Hannity said if the Catholic Church were to excommunicate him over his support for contraception, he would join Jerry Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church.[37]

In January 2007, Hannity began a new Sunday night television show on Fox News, Hannity's America.

In November 2008, Colmes announced his departure from Hannity & Colmes. After the show's final broadcast on January 9, 2009, Hannity took over the time slot with his own new show, Hannity, which has a format similar to Hannity's America.

Books

Hannity is the author of four books. Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism was published in 2002, and Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism was published in 2004 through ReganBooks. Both these books reached the nonfiction New York Times bestseller list, the second of which stayed there for five weeks.[38][39] Hannity has said he is too busy to write many books,[38] and dictated a lot of his own two books into a tape recorder while driving in to do his radio show.[40]

Hannity wrote his third book, Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama's Radical Agenda, which was released by HarperCollins in March 2010.[41] The book became Hannity's third New York Times Bestseller.[42]

In 2020, Hannity released his fourth book, Live Free or Die.[43]

  • Let Freedom Ring:Winning the War of Liberty Over Liberalism, William Morrow, August 1, 2002, ISBN 978-0060514556.
  • Deliver Us From Evil:Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism, William Morrow, February 17, 2004, ISBN 978-0060582517.
  • Conservative Victory:Defeating Obama's Radical Agenda, HarperCollins, March 30, 2010, ISBN 978-0062003058.
  • Live Free or Die:America (and the World) on the Brink, Threshold Editions, August 4, 2020, ISBN 978-1982149970.

Freedom Concerts

From 2003 until 2010, Hannity hosted country music-themed "Freedom Concerts" to raise money for charity.[44] In 2010, conservative blogger Debbie Schlussel wrote that only a small percentage of the money raised by the concerts goes to the target charity, Freedom Alliance.[45] The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), also in 2010. The FTC complaint alleges that Hannity was "falsely promoting that all concert proceeds would be donated to a scholarship fund for the children of those killed or wounded in war".[46] The complaint filed with the IRS claims that Freedom Alliance has violated its 501(c)3 charity status.[47] The concerts stopped around the same year.[48]

Awards and honors

Other activities

Hannity has had cameo appearances in film and television, having a brief voiceover in The Siege as an unseen reporter, and appearing in Atlas Shrugged: Part II and the second season of House of Cards as himself.[54][55] He executive produced and appeared in the 2017 film Let There Be Light, which also stars Kevin Sorbo.[56]

As of April 2018, Hannity owned at least 877 residential properties, which were bought for nearly $89 million.[57][58] He purchased some of the homes with the help of loans from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and most are in working-class neighborhoods.[59] His property managers have taken an aggressive management approach with a much higher than average eviction rate. The Washington Post reported that his property management team has used eviction proceedings both to remove tenants and to generate revenue. His property managers have claimed that Hannity has no active role in the management of the more than 1,000 properties he has a stake in.[60]

Commentary, controversies, and criticism

According to The Washington Post, Hannity "repeatedly embraces storylines that prove to be inaccurate" and takes positions that change over time.[14] In the opinion of The New York Times, Hannity is "barreling headfirst into the murky territory between opinion and out-and-out conspiracy theorism".[13] Hannity often promotes conspiracy theories without explicitly endorsing them, unlike Alex Jones. The New York Times wrote that this "has the effect of nourishing the more wild-eyed beliefs of his fans while providing Hannity a degree of plausible deniability".[13]The New Yorker wrote in 2019 that Hannity had "[spewed] baseless conspiracy theories with impunity".[61]

During the Bush years, Hannity "loyally supported the president's policies".[14] During the Obama administration, Hannity "leaned more heavily on stories he believed were being given short shrift by the 'liberal media' – stories about where Obama was born, and who deserved blame for the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya".[14] In 2017, The Washington Post wrote that "what Hannity has stood for – at least for the past couple of years – is Trump."[14]

Birtherism

Although Hannity said he believed President Obama was born in the U.S., to answer queries on Obama's citizenship, he repeatedly called on Obama to release his birth certificate.[62][63] Hannity described the circumstances regarding Obama's birth certificate as "odd".[61] Hannity also defended and promoted those who questioned Obama's citizenship of the U.S., such as Donald Trump. Hannity invited Trump to his show while Trump was a leader in the birther movement; during an interview with Hannity, Trump said Obama "could have easily have come from Kenya, or someplace".[13] Hannity said in response, "The issue could go away in a minute. Just show the certificate."[13] Even after Obama produced his birth certificate in 2008, certified by the state of Hawaii, Hannity kept calling on Obama to release his birth certificate, asking why did he not "just produce it and we move on?"[64] In October 2016, Hannity offered to purchase a one-way ticket to Kenya for Obama.[65]

Candidacy of Donald Trump

Hannity is known for his pro-Trump coverage.[13][14][66] According to The Washington Post, "Hannity's comeback coincided with his early, eager embrace of his fellow New Yorker ... Trump attacked the Gold Star father, and Hannity stood by him. Trump went after a federal judge of Mexican descent, and Hannity backed him. After the Access Hollywood tape emerged of Trump making lewd comments about inappropriate sexual behaviour towards women, Hannity continued to defend him: 'King David had 500 concubines, for crying out loud.'"[14] After the inauguration, the first interview the new president gave to a cable news channel was conducted by Hannity.[14] Hannity additionally defended the Trump administration's false claim that Trump's inauguration crowd was the biggest ever.[14]

Hannity has been criticized as being overly favorable to the candidacy of Donald Trump, and granting Trump more airtime than other presidential candidates during the 2016 primaries.[67] Hannity, for instance, let Trump promote the false claim that Rafael Cruz, father of Trump's rival presidential candidate Ted Cruz, was involved in the John F. Kennedy assassination.[14] He admitted to favoring Republican candidates, though without indicating a preference for Donald Trump over Ted Cruz.[68] According to Dylan Byers of CNN, Hannity during interviews "frequently cites areas where he agrees with Trump, or where he thinks Trump was right about something, then asks him to expand on it", and "often ignores or defends Trump from criticism".[68]

Tensions between Cruz and Hannity appeared to reach a boiling point during a contentious April 2016 radio interview, during which Cruz implied Hannity was a "hardcore Donald Trump supporter" and Hannity responded by accusing Cruz of "throw[ing] this in my face" every time he asked a "legitimate question".[69]Jim Rutenberg commented in August 2016 that Hannity is "not only Mr. Trump's biggest media booster; he also veers into the role of adviser," citing sources who said Hannity spent months offering suggestions to Trump and his campaign on strategy and messaging. Hannity responded to the report by saying, "I'm not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next President of the United States. ... I never claimed to be a journalist."[70] (In an article published in December 2017, Hannity said "I'm a journalist. But I'm an advocacy journalist, or an opinion journalist.")[13] Hannity has feuded with several conservatives who oppose Trump, including National Review's Jonah Goldberg,[71][72]Wall Street Journal foreign affairs columnist Bret Stephens,[73] and National Review editor Rich Lowry.[74]

Conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton

During the 2016 presidential election, Hannity periodically promoted conspiracy theories regarding Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.[75][76][77][78] Hannity repeatedly claimed that Clinton had very serious medical problems and that the media was covering them up.[14][75][79][80] He misrepresented photos of Clinton to give the impression that she had secret medical problems.[75][77] He shared a photo from the fringe news site Gateway Pundit and falsely claimed that it showed her Secret Service agent holding a diazepam pen intended to treat seizures, when he in fact was holding a small flashlight.[75] He booked doctors on his show to discuss Clinton's health; although these people had never personally examined Clinton, they made alarmist statements about her state of health which turned out to be false.[75][77] At one point, Hannity promoted an unsubstantiated report that Clinton had been drunk at a rally; at another point, he suggested that Clinton was drunk and that her campaign needed to "sober her up".[81]

Murder of Seth Rich conspiracy theories

In May 2017, Hannity became a prominent promoter of the conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party had a DNC staffer killed.[82][83][84][85][86][14] Shortly afterward, he faced backlash from both left- and right-wing sources and lost several advertisers, including Crowne Plaza Hotels, Cars.com, Leesa Mattress, USAA, Peloton and Casper Sleep deciding to pull their marketing from his program on Fox News.[87][88][89] However, USAA decided to return to the show shortly after following a negative outcry against its decision to pull out.[90] Conservative magazine National Review compared the story to a flat earth video, called it a "disgrace" that Hannity and other conspiracy theorists were hyping the story, and called for them to stop.[91]

In March 2018, Seth Rich's parents filed a lawsuit against Fox News for pushing conspiracy theories about their son's death. The suit alleges that the network "intentionally exploited" the tragedy for political purposes.[92] On Oct. 12, 2020, Fox News agreed to pay millions of dollars to the Rich family.[93]

Claims about election fraud

Hannity came under criticism during the 2016 presidential election for false claims about election rigging during interviews. Hannity responded to this by citing Mitt Romney's failure in the 2012 United States presidential election to obtain any votes in 59 of 1,687 Philadelphia voting districts as proof of election rigging. However, Factcheck.org and PolitiFact found that it was not unusual at all for this to occur, as those electoral districts are heavily African-American. Philadelphia elections inspector Ryan Godfrey also refuted Hannity's claim.[94][95]

WikiLeaks

In 2010, Hannity said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was waging a "war" on the United States, and that Wikileaks put American lives in "jeopardy" and "danger" around the world. He also criticized the Obama administration for failing to apprehend Assange.[96][97] In 2016, after Wikileaks published leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee, Hannity praised Assange for showing "how corrupt, dishonest and phony our government is".[97][98] He told Assange in a September 2016 interview, "I do hope you get free one day. I wish you the best."[99] The following month, Hannity claimed that WikiLeaks has revealed "everything that conspiracy theorists have said over the years" about Hillary Clinton is true.[100]

In February 2017, Hannity retweeted a WikiLeaks tweet linking to an article by the conspiracy website Gateway Pundit, claiming that John McCain was a "globalist war criminal". McCain's spokeswoman called Hannity out on it, asking him to "correct the record". Hannity later deleted the tweet.[101] In May 2017, Hannity made an offer to Assange to guest host his Fox News TV show.[102]

Relationship with Donald Trump and Michael Cohen

Hannity developed a close relationship with Trump during the election and has become even closer during his presidency.[61] The two men speak on the phone multiple times a week, discussing Hannity's weekday show, the special counsel investigation, even evaluating White House staff.[61][11][103][104] Hannity shares, The Economist asserts, "Mr. Trump's love of conspiracy theories and hatred of snooty elites".[105] They speak so often that one Trump adviser has said Hannity "basically has a desk in the place".[11] On the air, Hannity echoes Trump's attacks on the media and Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[106] Trump sometimes quotes Hannity to others or promotes the show to his Twitter followers. Hannity has encouraged Trump to shut down the government to get funding for a border wall, as well as his declaration of a national emergency over the US–Mexico border.

According to reports by the Los Angeles Times and New York magazine, Hannity frequently talks to Trump by telephone after Hannity's weekday broadcasts,[104][107] and Hannity is one of several dozen cleared callers whose calls to the White House public switchboard can be connected directly to the president.[107]

Hannity stirred controversy in April 2018 when it was revealed that he shared a lawyer, Michael Cohen, with Trump. In a breach of journalistic ethics, Hannity had failed to disclose that Cohen was his lawyer while at the same time taking to the Fox airwaves to defend Cohen and criticize those who investigated him.[108][109][110][111]

On April 9, 2018, federal agents from the U.S. Attorney's office served a search warrant on the office and residence of Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney.[112] On the air, Hannity defended Cohen and criticized the federal action, calling it "highly questionable" and "an unprecedented abuse of power".[113] On April 16, 2018, in a court hearing, Cohen's lawyers told the judge that Cohen had ten clients in 2017–2018 but did "traditional legal tasks" for only three: Trump, Elliott Broidy, and a "prominent person" who did not wish to be named for fear of being "embarrassed".[114][115][116] The federal judge ordered the revelation of the third client, whom Cohen's lawyers named as Hannity.[114] Although Hannity has covered Cohen on his show, he did not disclose that he had consulted with Cohen.[117]

Fox News released a statement on April 16, 2018, attributed to Hannity: "Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective. I assumed those conversations were confidential, but to be absolutely clear they never involved any matter between me and a third party."[118] Also, NBC News quoted Hannity as saying: "We definitely had attorney–client privilege because I asked him for that,"[119] while Hannity said on his radio show that he "might have handed him ten bucks" for the attorney-client privilege.[118][114] Lastly, Hannity tweeted that his discussions with Cohen were "almost exclusively" about real estate.[120]

The following day, news reports revealed that Hannity had shared another lawyer with Trump, Jay Sekulow. Sekulow had written a cease-and-desist letter to KFAQ on Hannity's behalf in May 2017, and later represented Trump in connection with the Mueller investigation.[121][122]

In August 2018, Hannity allowed Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani, another personal lawyer for Trump, to host Hannity's radio show; the duo proceeded to defend Trump and promote arguments made by the Trump administration.[123]

According to The New Yorker, Hannity has reversed on the issue of negotiations with North Korea: during Obama's presidency, Hannity called negotiations with North Korea "disturbing", whereas he called Trump's negotiations with North Korea a "huge foreign-policy win".[61]

In June 2019, Hannity expressed outrage at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's comment that she would like to see Trump "in prison". Hannity declared: "Based on no actual crimes, she wants a political opponent locked up in prison? That happens in banana republics – beyond despicable behavior." Aaron Rupar of Vox criticized Hannity for "obvious hypocrisy", noting that Hannity himself had said in January 2018 regarding Hillary Clinton: "I think Hillary should be in jail. Lock her up."[124] Aaron Blake of The Washington Post described Hannity's comment as "a pretty obvious bit of gaslighting", noting Hannity's loyalty to Trump, whose campaign rallies have featured chants of "Lock her up", and also Hannity's comments that Trump was free to investigate Clinton.[125]

Hannity played the most important role in persuading Trump to pardon the convicted murderer and war criminal Clint Lorance.[126]

Criticism of FBI, DOJ, and special counsel

During President Trump's administration, Hannity has repeatedly been highly critical of the FBI, DOJ, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and others investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.[127] According to a review by Media Matters of all transcripts from the 254 episodes of Hannity's show from Mueller's appointment (May 17, 2017) to May 16, 2018, Hannity had 487 segments substantially devoted to Mueller (approximately two per episode), opened his program with Mueller 152 times (approximately three times per week), and the content of his show was highly critical of the probe and the media's coverage of the probe.[128] He has called the Russia inquiry a "witch hunt", an "utter disgrace", and "a direct threat to you, the American people, and our American republic".[127] Hannity has expressed skepticism of the U.S. intelligence community's view that Russia hacked the Democratic National Convention's emails during the 2016 election and has promoted various conspiracy theories. In March 2017 he publicized a theory, first proposed at the Wikileaks Twitter account, that the CIA could have done the hacking while making it look like Russia did it.[129] In August he suggested that Seth Rich may have been the leaker.[130]

Hannity has described the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as James Comey's tenure as FBI Director, as "one giant incestuous circle of corruption".[131] In April 2018, Hannity ran a segment where he claimed there were "criminal" connections between Bill and Hillary Clinton, Mueller, and Comey.[131] Hannity asserted that there were three connected "Deep State crime families" actively "trying to take down the president".[132][131] A guest on the segment, attorney Joseph diGenova, called Mueller's team "legal terrorists" and referred to Comey as a "dirty cop".[133]

Hannity also claimed that Mueller had been involved in the corrupt dealings of several FBI agents in connection with Boston, Massachusettscrime bossWhitey Bulger.[134] The federal judge who presided over a lawsuit concerning the corrupt dealings said Hannity's claims were unsubstantiated and that Mueller was never accused of any wrongdoing nor even mentioned during the proceedings.[134]

In June 2018, after reports that Mueller's probe had asked witnesses to turn their personal phones over to investigators for examination, Hannity sarcastically suggested on air to the witnesses that they "follow Hillary Clinton's lead" and destroy their personal phones so they cannot be examined.[135][136]

In May 2019, after Mueller gave a statement saying the Special Counsel investigation did not exonerate Trump of crimes, Hannity said Mueller was "basically full of crap" and did not know the law.[137]

Uranium One

From 2015 into 2018, Fox News broadcast extensive coverage of an alleged scandal surrounding the sale of Uranium One to Russian interests, which Hannity characterized as "one of the biggest scandals in American history".[138] The Fox News coverage extended throughout the programming day, with particular emphasis by Hannity.[139] The network promoted a narrative asserting that, as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton personally approved the Uranium One sale in exchange for $145 million in bribes paid to the Clinton Foundation. Donald Trump repeated these allegations as a candidate and as president.[140] No evidence of wrongdoing by Clinton had been found after three years of allegations, an FBI investigation, and the 2017 appointment of a Federal attorney to evaluate the investigation. In November 2017, Fox News host Shepard Smith concisely debunked the alleged scandal, including saying that Clinton did not personally approve the sale, infuriating viewers who suggested he should work for CNN or MSNBC.[141][142] Hannity later called Smith "clueless", while Smith stated, "I get it, that some of our opinion programming is there strictly to be entertaining. I get that. I don't work there. I wouldn't work there."[143][144]

A two-year Justice Department investigation initiated after Trump became president found no evidence to justify pursuing a criminal investigation.[145][146]

Deep state

Hannity has advocated the QAnon[147] and "deep state" conspiracy theories. The latter proposes a government officials network is working to hinder the Trump administration. He has described the deep state as a "Shadow Government" and "Deep state swamp of Obama holdovers and DC lifers".[148][149] In March 2017, he called for a "purge" of Obama-era bureaucrats and appointees in government.[150] In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, conservative columnist Bret Stephens disputed Hannity's deep state allegations, saying they were an example of the "paranoid style in politics".[151] Later that month, Hannity said NBC News was part of the deep state.[152] In May 2017, he reiterated that deep state/intelligence operatives were trying to destroy the Trump presidency.[153]

In March 2018, Hannity attacked Special Counsel Robert Mueller, saying his career was "anything but impeccable".[154] Hannity said Mueller was friends with former FBI Director James Comey and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and that he "cannot be expected to honestly investigate scandals that his friends are directly involved in".[155] He said these individuals were involved in "one massive, huge, deep-state conflict of interest after another. Now they're protecting themselves. They're trying to preserve their own power."[131] Mueller and Comey are professional acquaintances but not known to be friends, while Trump attorney general Bill Barr said in 2019 that he and Mueller had been friends for thirty years.[156]

In 2016, Hannity vociferously defended Roger Ailes when he was accused by multiple women of sexual harassment.[13][157] In May 2017, Hannity paid a tribute to Ailes after he died.[158] Hannity called him "a second father" and said to Ailes' "enemies" that he was "preparing to kick your a** in the next life".[158]

In April 2017, Hannity came to the defense of Fox News co-president Bill Shine after it was reported that Shine's job was at risk.[159][160] At least four lawsuits alleged that Shine had ignored, enabled or concealed Ailes' alleged sexual harassment.[159][160][161]

In September 2017, several months after Bill O'Reilly was fired from Fox News in the wake of a number of women's alleging that he had sexually harassed them, Hannity hosted O'Reilly on his show.[162][163][164] Some Fox News employees criticized the decision.[163] In the interview, O'Reilly attacked liberal media watchdog groups and said he should have fought harder when those groups targeted his advertisers.[163] According to CNN, during the interview, Hannity found kinship with O'Reilly as he appeared "to feel that he and O'Reilly have both become victims of liberals looking to silence them".[163]

Hannity came under criticism in October 2017 when he attacked Democrats after it became known that a large number of women had accused Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer and donor to Democratic causes, of sexual harassment.[165] Critics noted that Hannity had weeks earlier defended and hosted his coworker Bill O'Reilly who was fired following a number of sexual harassment allegations.[165][166]

LGBT rights

In the radio show for KCSB, which was the subject of controversy in 1989, Hannity made anti-gay comments.[167][168] He called AIDS a "gay disease" and said the media was hiding salient information from the public.[14][168] Two editions featured anti-gay activist Gene Antonio, a Lutheran minister,[169] discussing his book The AIDS Coverup: The Real and Alarming Facts about AIDS. In the book, Antonio claims that AIDS can be spread by people sneezing in close proximity to each other. Hannity encouraged Antonio when he said that AIDS spread when gay men consumed each other's feces,[14] said that homosexuality was a "lower form of behavior", compared homosexual sex to "playing in a sewer" and gay people of being "filled with hatred and bigotry".[167] When a lesbian, another broadcaster at the station, called into the show, Hannity said "I feel sorry for your child."[13][167][170] Hannity was quoted at the time as having said "anyone listening to this show that believes homosexuality is a normal lifestyle has been brainwashed."[13][14][171] The ACLU opposed his firing and petitioned the station to reverse their decision. Hannity demanded a formal apology and double the airtime. While the station did offer to allow Hannity to return, they would not meet Hannity's additional demands and he declined to return.

In 2017, Hannity said he regretted the comments and that they were "ignorant and embarrassing".[172][167]

Immigration

Hannity opposed amnesty for undocumented immigrants; however, in 2012 he said he had evolved on the issue and favored a "pathway to citizenship".[173][14] Later, he opposed that idea.[14] By 2018, he was described as an immigration hardliner by CNN, The Washington Post, and New York magazine.[174][175][176] In August 2018, Trump suggested that he might shut down the government to force Congress to fund his border wall, boasting that Hannity agreed with the action.[177]

Islam

Hannity has warned of sharia law coming to the United States.[178] Hannity opposed the building of Park51, a mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center site.[178]

Hannity promoted the idea of "Islamic training camps right here in America", which were based on an unsubstantiated "documentary" by the Christian Action Network.[179]

In 2006, Hannity was critical of Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to U.S. Congress, being sworn into office with an oath on a Quran. Hannity equated the Quran with Mein Kampf, asking a guest on his show whether he would have allowed Ellison "to choose, you know, Hitler's Mein Kampf, which is the Nazi bible?"[180][181]

Torture

In 2009, Hannity said he supported enhanced interrogation, a euphemism for torture. He also volunteered to be waterboarded for charity.[182][183] In response, Keith Olbermann pledged to donate $1,000 for every second of waterboarding Hannity underwent. In 2017, Hannity continued to advocate for waterboarding, raising the example of using it against a kidnapper.[184] According to Media Matters, Hannity has not been waterboarded as of March 2018.[185]

Climate change

Hannity rejects the scientific consensus on climate change. In 2001, he described it as "phony science from the left".[186] In 2004, he falsely claimed that scientists couldn't agree on whether global warming was "scientific fact or fiction".[186] In 2010, Hannity falsely stated that so-called "Climategate" – the leaking of e-mails written by climate scientists that, according to climate change deniers, demonstrated scientific misconduct, but which all subsequent inquiries found to show no evidence of misconduct or wrongdoing – was a scandal that "exposed global warming as a myth cooked up by alarmists".[187] Hannity frequently invites critics of climate science onto his shows.[188]

Death panels

Hannity promoted the falsehood that the Affordable Care Act would create so-called "death panels".[189][190][191] According to a study by Dartmouth College political scientist Brendan Nyhan, Hannity's show, along with the Laura Ingraham Show, were the first major conservative media personalities to latch onto the false claim of Betsy McCaughey, a former lieutenant governor of New York, that the Affordable Care Act contained death panels.[190] When Sarah Palin stirred controversy by promoting the death panels myth, and argued her case in a Facebook post, Hannity defended her and said, "I agree with everything that she wrote."[192] Hannity also claimed that he found the specific pages in the Affordable Care Act containing provisions on death panels.[192]

A 2016 study found that Hannity promoted a number of falsehoods about the Affordable Care Act.[192] For instance, Hannity falsely alleged several times that Democratic Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus had said Social Security could be "insolvent in two years" due to the Affordable Care Act.[192] According to the study, Hannity, unlike other Fox News hosts such as Bill O'Reilly and Greta Van Susteren, "took a more direct approach, aggressively supporting Republicans and conservatives and attacking Democrats and liberals, endorsing the more spurious claims long after they were proven incorrect, and putting advocacy above accurate reporting, to further the network's themes opposing reform".[192]

Jake Tapper

In November 2017, Fox News distorted a statement by Jake Tapper to make it appear as if he had said "Allahu Akbar" can be used under the most "beautiful circumstances" in the immediate aftermath of the 2017 New York City truck attack wherein a terrorist shouted "Allahu Akbar".[193] Fox News omitted that Tapper had said the use of "Allahu Akbar" in the terrorist attack was not one of these circumstances.[193] A headline on FoxNews.com was preceded by a tag reading "OUTRAGEOUS".[193] The Fox News Twitter account distorted the statement even more, saying "Jake Tapper Says 'Allahu Akbar' Is 'Beautiful' Right After NYC Terror Attack" in a tweet that was later deleted.[193]

Even after the Fox News Twitter account had deleted the tweet on Tapper's out-of-context comments, Hannity repeated the out-of-context comments to his viewers, calling Tapper "liberal fake news CNN's fake Jake Tapper" and mocking his ratings.[194][195]

Appearance at November 2018 Trump rally

On November 4, 2018, Trump's website, DonaldJTrump.com, announced in a press release that Hannity would make a "special guest appearance" with Trump at a midterm campaign rally the following night in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.[196] The following morning, Hannity tweeted "To be clear, I will not be on stage campaigning with the President."[197] Hannity nevertheless spoke at Trump's lectern on stage at the rally, immediately mocking the "fake news" at the back of the auditorium, Fox News reporters among them. Several Fox News employees expressed outrage at Hannity's actions, with one stating, "a new line was crossed".[198] Hannity later asserted that his action was not pre-planned, and Fox News stated it "does not condone any talent participating in campaign events".[199] Fox News host Jeanine Pirro also appeared on stage with Trump at the rally. The Trump press release was later removed from Trump's website.[196]

Foreign policy

In 2009, Hannity said of the Iraq War, "we were victorious in spite of the Democrats' efforts and attempts at preventing victory."[200] During the 2016 election, Hannity vouched for Trump's claimed opposition to the Iraq War, "Mr. Trump and I disagreed about the Iraq war; I was for it and he was against it."[201]

In June 2019, Hannity called on Trump to "bomb the hell of out Iran" after Iran shot down a U.S. drone.[202] After the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, Hannity opened his show by saying, "tonight the world is safer as one of the most ruthless, evil war criminals on Earth has been brought to justice."[203]

Ukraine

In February 2020, The Daily Beast acquired a leaked document entitled "Ukraine, Disinformation, & the Trump Administration" produced by a Fox News research team. The document warned of "disinformation" being pushed by frequent Hannity guests, including Rudy Giuliani, John Solomon, Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova. Among other criticisms, the analysis noted that on his show Hannity discussed with Toensing and diGenova an affidavit from former Ukrainian prosecutor general Viktor Shokin that accused Joe Biden of getting him fired to end an investigation into Burisma Holdings, which employed Biden's son. The affidavit was drafted at the request of attorneys for Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash,[204] but neither Hannity nor his guests disclosed to viewers that Toensing and diGenova were among Firtash's attorneys.[205]

COVID-19 pandemic

In February 2020, amid the spread of COVID-19 to the United States, Hannity said "many on the left are now all rooting for corona to wreak havoc in the United States. Why? To score cheap, repulsive political points."[206] In March 2020, he characterized the virus as a "hoax",[207] and said it "may be true" that the outbreak was a "fraud" perpetrated by the "deep state".[208][209] Later in March, as the disease spread into a global pandemic and Trump declared it a national emergency, Hannity started to take the virus more seriously, denying that he had referred to it as a hoax.[210][211] In July 2021, on live television, Hannity encouraged the audience to consider vaccination.[212]

Personal life

Family and lifestyle

Hannity met Jill Rhodes in 1991 when he worked at WVNN in Huntsville, Alabama and she was a political columnist for the Huntsville Times.[213] The two married in 1993.[16] In June 2020, the couple announced that they had divorced the previous year but had separated years prior.[214]

Hannity has since dated colleague Ainsley Earhardt.[215] In August of 2019, Hannity and Earhardt arrived together as guests for a wedding at Trump National Golf Course in Colt's Neck, NJ. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been hosting her Fox & Friends program from a remote studio in the basement of Hannity’s Long Island mansion.[216]

Hannity has two children from his marriage to Rhodes: a son, Patrick, born in 1998, and daughter, Merri, born in 2001.[213] Both children graduated from Cold Spring Harbor High School. Patrick attended Wake Forest University where he played tennis.[217][218][16] Merri attends The University of Michigan where she also plays tennis. In high school, Merri was the fourth highest ranked tennis player in New York State.[219]

In 2018, Forbes estimated that Hannity's annual income was $36 million,[172] and the Guardian reported that he was believed to be the "hidden owner" of about $90 million in property that had been purchased by shell companies.[220] In April 2021, he purchased a $5.3 million house several miles from Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence.[221]

In 2014 he said he has carried a weapon "more than half my adult life".[222] According to Hannity, he has a brown belt in martial arts and trains four days a week in the sport.[223]

Religion

Hannity left the Catholic Church in 2019, citing "too much institutionalized corruption". However, he has said that as he has aged, his Christian faith has "gotten stronger" and that he needs and wants God in his life.[224]

Bibliography

  • Hannity, Sean (2002). Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism, New York: ReganBooks, ISBN 0-06-051455-8.
  • Hannity, Sean (2004). Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism, New York: ReganBooks, ISBN 0-06-058251-0.
  • Hannity, Sean (2010). Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama's Radical Agenda, New York: Harper Paperbacks, ISBN 0-06-200305-4.
  • Hannity, Sean (2020). Live Free or Die: America (and the World) On the Brink, New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN 978-1-982-14-9970.

See also

References

  1. ^https://www.politifact.com/personalities/sean-hannity/
  2. ^https://www.salon.com/2013/06/19/sean_hannity_im_not_a_republican/
  3. ^Hannity, Sean Patrick (December 26, 2011). "About Sean Hannity". Hannity.com. Archived from the original on January 5, 2012. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
  4. ^ ab"Sean Hannity: Television Host, Television Personality (1961–)". Biography.com. Archived from the original on May 17, 2020. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  5. ^Hinckley, David (September 2, 2013). "Sean Hannity extends contract, paving way for switch from WABC to WOR". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  6. ^Shea, Danny (December 25, 2008). "Alan Colmes to Leave "Hannity and Colmes", Will Not Be Replaced". The Huffington Post. New York City: Huffington Post Media Group. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  7. ^Concha, Joe (April 29, 2020). "Hannity planning first book in ten years: 'Live Free or Die'". The Hill. Washington, D.C.: Captiol Hill Publishing. Retrieved May 9, 2020.
  8. ^Garger, Megan (November 6, 2018). "Sean Hannity Is Trump's Shadow Press Secretary". The Atlantic. Boston, Massachusetts. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  9. ^Zhao, Christina (May 30, 2019). "Fox News' Hannity, Carlson, Ingraham attack Mueller: He's a "sleazy and dishonest" "mean girl" who's "full of crap"". Newsweek. New York City. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  10. ^ abcCosta, Robert; Ellison, Sarah; Dawsey, Josh (April 17, 2018). "Hannity's rising role in Trump's world: 'He basically has a desk in the place'". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on April 27, 2018. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  11. ^McGoldrick, Debbie (March 15, 2018). "Sean Hannity on Trump's great America". Irish Central. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  12. ^ abcdefghijklmnoShaer, Matthew (November 28, 2017). "How Far Will Sean Hannity Go?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on November 29, 2017. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  13. ^ abcdefghijklmnopqrsFisher, Marc (October 10, 2017). "The making of Sean Hannity: How a Long Island kid learned to channel red-state rage". Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 12, 2017. Retrieved October 12, 2017.
  14. ^"Neighbors in the News > Closed high school saves iconic statue". The Long Island Catholic. n.d. Archived from the original on August 8, 2017. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  15. ^ abcLipton, Michael A. (February 11, 2002). "The (Far) Right Stuff". People. Vol. 57 no. 5. Archived from the original on March 15, 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2013.
  16. ^ ab"Hannity Bio". The Sean Hannity Show at WDBO. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
  17. ^"Sean Hannity: Construction Worker, Union Member, Sack of Sh*t". Daily Kos. Washington D.C.: Kos Media, LLC. December 19, 2012. Retrieved March 14, 2020.
  18. ^"'Hannitization' Of America". CBS News. New York City: CBS Corporation. May 23, 2004. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
  19. ^Rendall, Steve (November–December 2003). "An Aggressive Conservative vs. a 'Liberal to be Determined'". Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
  20. ^"Alan Colmes". alan.com. Archived from the original on November 9, 2006.
  21. ^"Sean Hannity is a multi-media superstar, spending four hours a day every day reaching out to millions of Americans on radio, television and internet". WABC. Archived from the original on October 12, 2008. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
  22. ^Thomas, Cal; Beckel, Bob (2007). Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That Is Destroying America. New York City: William Morrow. pp. 3–6. ISBN .
  23. ^Hinckley, David (December 6, 2013). "WOR ends an era in New York radio and officially kicks off the new coming war with rival WABC". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  24. ^"Canon Communications LLC: Home"(PDF). Affiliates.abcradionetworks.com. Archived from the original(PDF) on March 26, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  25. ^"Sean Hannity Profile". WSGW. 2006. Archived from the original on August 11, 2007. Retrieved November 5, 2008.
  26. ^"Canon Communications LLC: Home"(PDF). Affiliates.abcradionetworks.com. Archived from the original(PDF) on March 26, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2009.
  27. ^"Disney and Citadel Announce Completion of ABC Radio Merger" (Press release). The Walt Disney Company. June 12, 2007. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
  28. ^Bachmann, Katy (July 21, 2008). "Sean Hannity Gets $100 Million Deal". Huffington Post. New York City. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
  29. ^"The Top Talk Radio Audiences". Talkers Magazine. Springfield, Massachusetts: Talk Media, Inc. March 2018. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  30. ^"2017 TALKERS Heavy Hundred 1-25". Talkers Magazine. Springfield, Massachusetts: Talk Media, Inc. May 22, 2017. Archived from the original on September 26, 2017. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  31. ^"Sean Hannity". Fox News. New York City: News Corp. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  32. ^"Clear Channel Radio Renews Sean Hannity Through 2010" (Press release). Clear Channel Communications. September 28, 2006. Archived from the original on October 4, 2006. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
  33. ^Byers, Dylan (March 12, 2013). "Hannity signs 'long-term' contract". Politico. Arlington, Virginia: Capitol News Company. Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  34. ^Boyce, Phil (January 14, 2014). "Sean Hannity Moves to WDTK-AM 1400 in Detroit". MarketWatch. New York City. Retrieved January 17, 2014.
  35. ^"Hannity, priest clash on doctrine". Washington Times. Washington, D.C.: News World Communications. March 13, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  36. ^Royal, Robert (March 30, 2007). "Sean and Rudy's excellent adventures in moral theology". National Catholic Reporter. Vol. 43 no. 22. p. 19.
  37. ^ abContemporary Authors Online, Thomson Gale, 2005.
  38. ^(PDF). August 7, 2007 https://web.archive.org/web/20070807124253/http://affiliates.abcradionetworks.com/abcradio/seanhannitybio.pdf. Archived from the original(PDF) on August 7, 2007.
  39. ^Poniewozik, James; Sean Hannity (November 5, 2002). "10 Questions for Sean Hannity". Time. New York City. Archived from the original on January 25, 2007. Retrieved October 13, 2008.
  40. ^"Sean Hannity writes book on defeating Obama, Democrats". USA Today. Mclean, Virginia: Gannett. February 16, 2010. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Hannity
Sean Hannity of Fox News joins Trump on stage

Hannity is an accomplished author with three #1 best-selling books. His first book, “Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism,” rode the New York Times Best-Sellers list for a remarkable 17 weeks. His follow-up, “Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism,” debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best-Sellers list and held strong for five consecutive weeks. In similar fashion, “Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama’s Radical Agenda” was released in 2010 and it quickly took the #1 spot.

A gutsy talk-show host who always lands on the “right side” of the issues, Hannity is the host of FOX News Channel’s Hannity, which airs weeknights from 9 to 10 p.m. ET. Hannity, who joined the network in 1996, offers a mix of news, commentary, guest interviews and more on the program each night. Prior to the launch of Hannity, he was co-host of the #1 prime-time cable news debate show, Hannity & Colmes, for over 10 years, in addition to hosting #1 weekend program Hannity’s America, both airing on the network.

Hannity’s energy, charisma, Reagan conservatism scores high points with audience and critics alike as he continues to be one of the hottest commodities in media.

Sours: https://www.wccsradio.com/the-sean-hannity-show/

News s hannity fox

Fox News host Sean Hannity received a round of applause on Tuesday for comments he made Monday night urging his viewers to “please take Covid seriously” and telling them, “I believe in the science of vaccination” — remarks seemingly standing in contrast to the kind of vaccine skepticism Fox has been trafficking in for months now.

A clip of Hannity’s comments has been viewed more than 5.4 million times on Twitter as this is written, and was described as the “monologue of the night” by Politico.

Some observers interpreted that clip and others from Monday of Fox News personalities endorsing Covid-19 vaccines as evidence a change of tone is afoot at America’s most-watched cable news network. But don’t be fooled — Fox’s Covid-19 coverage is still a mess.

Consider, for instance, that the viral clip of Hannity talking about vaccines came immediately before he pivoted to a story about a college athlete who was temporarily paralyzed after she took a different sort of vaccine in 2019 — the subtext being that inoculations are more dangerous than the experts would have you believe and that mandates are ill-advised. (Hannity has previously tried to discredit Covid-19 vaccines by saying stuff like, “the great Dr. Fauci has been wrong so often” and proclaiming he was “beginning to have doubts” about getting the shot.)

Or consider, as Matt Gertz detailed for Media Matters, that Hannity’s comments were sandwiched between shows anchored by Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham that both pushed vaccine misinformation:

On Monday, Carlson revived his lie about a government database purportedly showing thousands of deaths from the vaccines and urged viewers to ignore journalists who are encouraging vaccination because they want to “make you comply,” over on-screen graphics reading “MANY VACCINATED PEOPLE ARE HOSPITALIZED” and “OUR LEADERS WANT US TO SHUT UP & NOT ASK QUESTIONS.” Ingraham’s broadcast likewise stressed reasons to question “the efficacy of the vaccine itself among adults.”

It’s true that Hannity was not the only Fox News personality to speak out on behalf of vaccines on Monday. While Hannity stopped sort of explicitly asking his viewers to get vaccinated, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy went further and said, “If you have the chance, get the shot. It will save your life.”

But Doocy was undermined by Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade, who claimed in response that it’s not the government’s job “to protect anybody” and said of those who choose not to get vaccinated, “if you feel as though this is not something for you, don’t do it, but don’t affect my life.” (A person’s choice to not get vaccinated does in fact affect other people by making it more possible for deadlier mutations of the virus to develop.)

Later Monday, Kilmeade hosted an hour-long show in which he said things like, “Why does it matter how many Covid cases we have in this country?” and, “Since when do we count on the president of the United States for health care advice? Let me answer that, we do not.”

So while Doocy was praised by the Washington Post for his comments encouraging people to get vaccinated, Kilmeade’s vaccine skepticism was actually a more prominent theme of the network’s programming on Monday.

This sort of incoherency is a feature of Fox News, not a bug

Fox News didn’t immediately respond to a Vox request for comment about what guidelines, if any, hosts are provided about how to talk about Covid-19 and Covid-19 vaccines on their shows. (The disease continues to kill an average 268 Americans per day this week, and if trends from May hold, over 99 percent of those individuals are likely unvaccinated.)

But incoherency has been the hallmark of the network’s coverage since the beginning.

For instance, in March of last year, I wrote about how Hannity insisted he had “never called the virus a hoax” just nine days after he decried it as “this new hoax” that Democrats were using to “bludgeon Trump.”

Carlson, meanwhile, flip-flopped from saying “of course” masks work in March 2020 to proclaiming they “have no basis in science” just four months later. Though he reportedly directly urged then-President Donald Trump to take the coronavirus seriously in the early days of the pandemic, in recent weeks Carlson has repeatedly hyped unconfirmed and dubious self-reported accounts of vaccine side-effects to insist that getting inoculated is riskier than experts lead people to believe.

And as I detailed last December, a major theme of Fox’s Covid-19 coverage in the winter months was trying to reframe the pandemic not as a humanitarian disaster that at the time was killing more than 2,000 Americans daily, but as an economic problem created by Democrats that predominately hurt business owners and workers.

More recently, Fox’s approach has been to highlight rare negative reactions to the Covid-19 vaccine, ignoring the broader context that getting vaccinated is far safer than actually contracting the disease. The Food and Drug Administration, for example, recently reiterated that even after a new rare side effect of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was found, “the known and potential benefits clearly outweigh the known and potential risks.” Fox has also misleadingly suggested those who have had Covid-19 don’t need to get vaccinated.

Sprinkled amid all this vaccine skepticism and hostility have been out-of-context soundbites here and there from hosts (even including Carlson) that can be interpreted as endorsements of vaccines. These bites aren’t reflective of the network’s broader coverage of the pandemic but at least provide a pretext for Fox spokespeople to try and push back on claims its coverage has been irresponsible, and are good enough to convince casual observers of Fox that the network is pivoting.

Cues from elites — including Fox — matter

Carlson’s top-rated show is viewed by nearly 3 million viewers each night, and Hannity draws over 2.6 million. Furthermore, in 2019, the average age of a Fox News viewer was 65 — an age at which people are particularly at risk from the coronavirus, especially if unvaccinated.

Questioning the vaccine has consequences. As Philip Bump recently detailed for the Washington Post, there’s a correlation between Fox News viewership and vaccine hesitancy. So not only are the Carlsons and Kilmeades of the world putting the lives of their own viewers at risk by discouraging them from getting vaccinated, they’re jeopardizing everyone’s health and well-being by making it more difficult to reach herd immunity.

As my colleague German Lopez explained, cues like this from elites (like former President Donald Trump or cable news hosts) have had real consequences in polarizing how Americans responded to the pandemic — including, now, vaccines:

[T]he share of Republicans who reject the vaccine hasn’t significantly budged all year, remaining in the range of 41 to 46 percent.

Measuring the correlation between a state’s vaccination rate and 2020 election results, Masket found a coefficient of 0.85, with 1 meaning a one-to-one correlation and 0 representing no correlation. As Masket noted, “We almost never see this high a correlation between variables in the social sciences.” In fact, he added, “vaccination rates are a better predictor of the 2020 election than the 2000 election is. That is, if you want to know how a state voted in 2020, you can get more information from knowing its current vaccination rate than from knowing how it voted 20 years ago.”

Meanwhile, Ryan Grim of the Intercept reported on Monday that Fox News has implemented a Covid-19 vaccination passport program for its own workforce, suggesting it recognizes the value of vaccinations internally even while it pushes skepticism publicly.

Unsurprisingly, even as Hannity’s Monday comments were being applauded, Kilmeade on Tuesday’s edition of Fox & Friends continued to push vaccine skepticism.

“The vaccine is not nearly as effective against this delta variant as they say,” Kilmeade falsely claimed.

In reality, the CDC says the Covid-19 vaccines approved for emergency use in the US protect against severe hospitalization and death caused by all known variants. As is the case with much of the discussion of vaccines on Fox News, Kilmeade’s comments on Tuesday misleadingly conflated a positive Covid-19 case with a severe Covid-19 case, ignoring that while it’s still possible to get Covid-19 after being vaccinated, it’s much less likely that a case will result in hospitalization or death.

Sours: https://www.vox.com/22585354/hannity-fox-news-covid-19-coverage
Sean Hannity Blasts John Oliver Over Criticism of Fox News' Coverage of Portland Protests - THR News

Sean Hannity currently serves as host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) Hannity (weekdays 9-10PM/ET). He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York.Read More

As one of the most prominent and influential conservative voices in the country, Hannity showcases his candid, provocative style and conservative commentary on politics and the American agenda. The show also features Hannity's signature monologue where he opens the hour breaking down hot topics of the day. In addition, Hannity recently joined the new streaming platform FOX Nation with his own weekday program titled Hannity on Air which features a livestream of his monologue from his nationally syndicated radio program The Sean Hannity Show.

Most recently, Hannity contributed to FNC's coverage of the U.S. summit with North Korea live in Hanoi, Vietnam on his weeknight primetime show, Hannity. During his on-site coverage, he presented an interview with President Donald Trump following his meeting with Kim Jong Un to discuss the latest news surround the summit. In addition, he presented the first interview with President Donald Trump following his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. In 2018, Hannity contributed to FNC's live coverage of the United States and North Korea summit that took place in Singapore. Hannity's coverage of the historic meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un delivered 5.9 million total viewers, making it the highest-rated program across broadcast and cable primetime that evening. Following the North Korea summit, Hannity presented an interview with President Trump that dominated the cable news competition, averaging 4.1 million total viewers.

Throughout his time at FNC, he has secured interviews with numerous key newsmakers and political figures, including Vice President Mike Pence, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then-President George W. Bush, then-Vice President Dick Cheney, Reverend Jesse Jackson and then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich as well as an exclusive interview with George Zimmerman.

Previously, he co-hosted Hannity & Colmes with Alan Colmes for 12 years which was ranked as the second-highest rated program in cable news.

Known for his provocative style and free-wheeling, passionate commentary on politics and the American agenda, Hannity has become one of the most popular radio personalities nationwide. As host of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, syndicated to more than 500 stations and heard in all of the top 50 markets, he has a loyal listenership of 13.5 million. Hannity is currently ranked No. 2 in Talker Magazine's Top 100 Talk Host in America and was listed as No. 72 on Forbes' "Celebrity 100" list in 2013. In October 2003, Hannity received two NAB Marconi Radio Awards for Network Syndicated Personality of the Year and is a three-time consecutive winner of the Radio & Records National Talk Show Host of the Year Award.

Prior to his roles with WABC and FNC, Hannity hosted a radio talk show in Atlanta on WGST-AM and was a frequent substitute for fellow talk show host, Rush Limbaugh on WABC in New York. He is also the author of three New York Times bestsellers, "Let Freedom Ring: Winning the War of Liberty over Liberalism," "Deliver Us From Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism" and "Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama's Radical Agenda."

Sours: https://www.foxnews.com/person/h/sean-hannity

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