Home / News / Sean Hannity’s ‘Coverage’ of Trump’s Collusion Scandal Has Taken a Sinister New Turn

Sean Hannity’s ‘Coverage’ of Trump’s Collusion Scandal Has Taken a Sinister New Turn

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Special warn Robert Mueller’s examination into Russian division in the 2016 presidential election has taken on a new coercion and gotten closer to the Oval Office over the past few weeks. His prosecutors are reportedly planning to indict Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign authority whose financial entanglements with Russians forced his abdication last summer. Mueller is also reportedly seeking White House papers relating to several of Trump’s many controversial actions and has begun questioning current and former White House staff.

But when Trump sits down with Fox News horde Sean Hannity this Wednesday for the pair’s 69th interview since he launched his presidential campaign in Jun 2015, he can rest positive that he won’t need to answer tough questions about Mueller’s investigation. Hannity’s loyalty to the boss has taken an peremptory spin in new months, as Trump has come under complicated authorised and media inspection over either his electoral feat was due in partial to efforts by the Russian supervision to accelerate his campaign.

Media Matters reviewed Hannity’s opening monologues on his Fox promote from mid-May by the finish of August, examining the segments for a far-reaching operation of factors, including his coverage of the Russia story. (Mid-May is when Mueller was named special warn and Hannity began promoting the swindling theory that a murdered Democratic staffer, not Russian hackers, had stolen Democratic emails.) Hannity’s nightly digression sets the tinge for the residue of his show, laying out many of the themes and arguments he will plead with his panels of mostly excusable guests. These 61 monologues opposite 16 weeks exhibit the stories Hannity believed were many critical to describe to his Trump-supporting assembly — and the increasingly dim and conspiratorial messages he’s been feeding them. Media Matters also reviewed Hannity’s guest over the same period.


In this study:

In Sean Hannity’s 61 Fox News opening monologues from May 15 by Sep 1:

Hannity’s top guest over the term of the study was Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers for the Russia probe, who seemed in 37 episodes of the program.

Like the other hosts Trump has incited to for on-camera interviews in new months, Hannity is a constant sycophant. The Fox horde was effectively a unconditionally owned auxiliary of Team Trump during the 2016 election, providing the claimant a height for incredibly obsequious interviews, channeling his articulate points with little clarity of eccentric thought, and even appearing in a Trump campaign ad. Hannity drew critique from his colleagues in the worried press for putting faithfulness to Trump above party or ideology, and he earned rebukes from Fox for putting support for Trump before the network’s standards. But Trump won, and now Hannity advises the boss of the United States while concurrently portion as his biggest media booster. Trump in spin uses open rallies to gush over the Fox host’s “honest” coverage.

Hannity responded by branch his broadcast into a forum to undermine what he terms “black-helicopter, tinfoil-hat swindling theories about ostensible Trump-Russia collusion,” while arguing that the president’s foes have committed crimes that must be investigated.

In show after show, Hannity has been poisoning the good for Mueller’s “deeply corrupt” examination and laying the grounds to support the boss if he seeks an peremptory recourse. In Hannity’s telling, there is no justification to support the suspicion of Trump-Russia collusion, making the examination a swindling to destroy the boss masterminded by Democrats and the media, who are reluctant to examine the “real” criminals. These embody Hillary Clinton, not only for her private email server but since her campaign presumably “colluded” with both Ukraine and Russia, and the “deep state” officials who “unmasked” Trump associates who communicated with unfamiliar people.

Hannity is decoration his 3 million-strong audience to extol Trump if he fires the special warn or to yield the examination as deceptive if it is allowed to pierce forward, while scheming them to hearten if the president’s Justice Department takes movement against his domestic foes. If Trump moves to further undermine the order of law, as he has frequently suggested he competence do, he will do so with the romantic support of the Fox horde and his viewers.

Hannity’s much-maligned bid to champion the swindling theory that the late Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered since he was a source for WikiLeaks is the many widely publicized sign of the host’s eagerness to cranky any line to criticise the Russia story. As the horde done clear, he was dredging up these swindling theories and victimizing Rich’s family privately since he suspicion it would transparent Trump. “If it was loyal that Seth Rich gave WikiLeaks the DNC emails,” Hannity said on May 18, “wouldn’t that blow the whole Russia collusion account that the media has pulling out of the water?”

Hannity’s story fell apart, to his finish disgrace. But in the weeks and months that followed, Hannity continued to make undermining that “Russia collusion narrative” his top priority.

Hannity suggested that Trump did not cooperate with Russia in some-more than half of monologues

Over the march of the 16 weeks of monologues we reviewed, as the Mueller investigation began and a host of reporting raised new questions about the reprobate and potentially illegal function of Trump and his associates, Hannity frequently positive his viewers that there was no justification to advise Trump had colluded with Russia and that reports to the discordant were “conspiracy theories.” Hannity done such statements in 31 of the 61 monologues.

Hannity’s many visit guest was Trump’s Russia examine counsel (second was Fox’s pro-Trump lawyer)

Jay Sekulow, a conservative litigator with a nationally syndicated radio show who became a member of the authorised group representing Trump in the Russia examine in June, seemed in a whopping 37 episodes of Hannity’s Fox program over the march of the study, the many of any guest on the show. Sekulow uses those unchanging appearances to offer the host’s bid to transparent his client of any misdeeds, as good as to accuse Comey and other critics of the boss of breaking the law.

Sekulow, a tie on worried TV and sometime guest host on Hannity’s radio show with “virtually no knowledge in law coercion investigations or white-collar matters,” was hired to offer as “the ubiquitous TV face of Trump’s defense” since the boss believed he’s good at fortifying him on TV. It’s likely that one of the places Trump saw Sekulow making that defense was on Hannity; in the weeks before he started making media appearances as a member of Trump’s authorised team, the counsel went on that show to pull Seth Rich swindling theories, to secretly explain Trump had been “vindicated” by Comey’s congressional testimony, and to baselessly and frequently credit the “pathetic” former FBI executive of breaking the law.

While Sekulow done appearances on all the news networks to plead the Russia examine early in his reign as Trump’s lawyer, CNN reported on Aug 14 that “recently, Sekulow has only been on Fox News,” where he has “been generally distinguished on Hannity’s show.” In that protected space, Sekulow was free not only to urge Trump, but also to credit Democrats of a horde of crimes. (Hannity also pronounced in Apr 2017 that he had hired Sekulow as his own personal counsel due to what Hannity described as an explain that he had been surveilled by the Obama administration.)

Hannity’s second many unchanging guest was Fox’s Gregg Jarrett, who seemed in 36 episodes of the program over the term of the study. Once a lesser-known network anchor, Jarrett recently emerged as the leading Trump authorised defender who isn’t on his payroll. Like Sekulow, he uses his appearances on Hannity to put forward legally indeterminate explanations of since the Trump team’s actions have been excusable while claiming that the president’s opponents and investigators have broken the law. Jarrett has secretly claimed that even if the boss or his group colluded with Russia to change the 2016 election, they wouldn’t have broken any laws; called for Mueller’s removal; accused Comey of interference probity by his interactions with the president; and called for a special prosecutor to examination Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

Hannity criticized Mueller in 12 monologues

Hannity criticized Mueller in 12 of the 61 monologues, 20 percent of the total. According to the Fox host, Mueller “is really aimed at interlude the president, delegitimizing him and hopefully, in the minds of some, making certain he gets thrown out of office.” He is “out of control” and “needs to be stopped” since of his inquisitive “mission creep.” It “is time to start questioning the investigator,” Hannity claimed in July, adding, “Did he mangle the law? Is he being unethical? … Does that need to be a case of recusal?” He also called Mueller’s examination “deeply corrupt.”

Hannity called Mueller’s examination a “witch hunt” in 11 monologues

Echoing the president, Hannity termed the Mueller examination a “witch hunt” a sum of 19 times in 11 monologues. According to the Fox host, Mueller is engaged in “the construction of one of the biggest domestic magician hunts in the story of this country,” which Hannity claims is “politically motivated.”

Hannity pounded Mueller for ostensible “conflicts of interest” in 15 monologues

On Jun 12, Hannity began accusing Mueller of having a “conflict of interest” since the examination involves questions of either Trump blocked probity when he fired Comey, whom Hannity describes as Mueller’s “longtime friend.” Citing Jarrett, Hannity claimed that this loyalty violates sovereign law and requires Mueller’s recusal. Trump himself pushed the claim in a Fox coming shortly after. Hannity frequently steady the charge, making it in 15 monologues over the march of the study, 25 percent of the total. But the span are reportedly not close, and supervision ethics experts have said that the Comey-Mueller attribute “doesn’t arise to the turn of an illegal conflict.”

Hannity tried to delegitimize the examination by citing the domestic donations of Mueller’s group in 13 monologues

Hannity has also scrutinized the ostensible conflicts of Mueller’s team, highlighting domestic donations some of the lawyers had done to Democrats in 13 monologues to explain that they can't be impartial. Terming the group a “Democratic hit squad,” Hannity asked his assembly on Aug 2, “Are we really to trust tonight that Mueller couldn’t find inactive people who have not plainly upheld Democrats?”

The Trump authorised group and White House staff similarly sought to use such information to disprove the investigation, but a Justice Department examination in August found “no apparent conflicts of interest” for any member of the team.

Hannity has called for Mueller to step down or for the investigation’s evident finish in 7 monologues

Based on the fraudulent charges discussed above, Hannity has pulpy for Mueller to step down or for his investigation’s stop in 7 monologues. “It is time to now close down this domestic magician hunt that is really directed at interlude the president, delegitimizing him and hopefully, in the minds of some, making certain he gets thrown out of office,” Hannity said in June. “It’s that serious.”

Hannity accused Hillary Clinton of colluding with Russia in 25 monologues

Not anticipating it sufficient to explain that Trump did not cooperate with Russia, Hannity has frequently claimed that, in fact, it was Clinton who was guilty of the “real collusion” with Russia, making that evidence in 25 monologues, 41 percent of the total.

Hannity’s end is mostly formed on two things: the campaign-era regressive myth that Clinton privately authorized the sale of a uranium mining company to the Russian supervision (the State Department actually had one vote on a nine-member row that authorized the deal, and the dialect representative pronounced that Clinton was not consulted), and that former President Bill Clinton “doubled his speaking fees in Moscow” (Hannity uses that accurate word in eight opposite monologues; while Clinton was paid $500,000 by a Russian company to broach a speech, he regularly delivered speeches for such fees during that period).

None of this creates any sense, and it is at contingency with the views of the U.S. comprehension community, which found that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin with the aim of harming Clinton’s campaign since “Putin and the Russian Government grown a transparent welfare for President-elect Trump.”

Hannity accused Clinton of colluding with Ukraine in 12 monologues

On Saturday, Jul 8, The New York Times first reported that the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. had in Jun 2016 “arranged a assembly at Trump Tower in Manhattan with a Russian counsel who has connectors to the Kremlin.” Over the next few days, it became clear that Trump Jr. had set up the assembly — which Manafort and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a top campaign official, also attended — after being sensitive that the counsel would yield deleterious information on Hillary Clinton as partial of the Russian “government’s support” for the Trump campaign.

In response to this ban bombshell, Hannity began claiming that not only was the Donald Jr. assembly much happening about nothing, but that the real scandal was that “Clinton allies” had been purportedly colluding with Ukrainian supervision officials to change the election. The claim, formed on a fallacious reading of a January Politico story, was widely rejected elsewhere in the press, yet it was championed by Hannity’s pro-Trump colleagues. Hannity first done this evidence in his Jul 10 monologue, the first after the Times story was published; he steady it in his next 5 uninterrupted monologues and in 11 of his next 17 monologues.

Hannity criticized Comey in 23 monologues

Hannity criticized Comey in 23 monologues, 38 percent of the total. The Fox horde has said the former FBI executive “deserved to be fired,” job him an “utter and finish failure” and a “national embarrassment” who “disrespected the Constitution,” and saying he is “obviously disgruntled,” has “a fight now against the president,” and is “angling for his multimillion-dollar book deal, a miniseries, prime-time interviews, a movie,” and a gig with MSNBC. Hannity also said Comey “is zero some-more than a calculating, deceit narrow-minded domestic penetrate who has thrived in the D.C. swamp.”

Hannity accused Trump’s viewed domestic enemies of crimes dozens of times

Hannity not only frequently declares that Trump is trusting of any crime and that the examination into his actions and those of his associates should be halted, but he also suggests that the president’s accusers and critics are the genuine criminals, and that investigations are indispensable to bring them to justice.

He done such claims about:

Hannity also frequently alleges that Obama administration officials and members of the sinful “deep state” unlawfully “unmasked” the names of Trump associates who communicated with unfamiliar persons, doing so in 14 monologues, 23 percent of the total. The Fox horde uses this explain to disagree that the concentration on the Trump-Russia examine is misplaced, indicating to the“unmasking” as the loyal crime estimable of investigation. As Hannity put it on Jul 24: “The only crime that we know was committed in this whole Russia collusion furious crow follow is the unmasking and leaking of tender comprehension about Lieutenant General Michael Flynn and giving his name to The Washington Post. That is a defilement of the Espionage Act. That’s a felony. That’s a crime. That needs to be investigated.”


Media Matters identified all Sean Hannity opening monologues formed on Nexis transcripts between May 16, 2017, and Sep 1, 2017. Two coders exclusively assessed any digression for either it enclosed the following criteria, with a third coder breaking deadlocks:

  • Hannity suggested that Donald Trump and/or his associates did not cooperate with Russia;
  • Hannity criticized Robert Mueller;
  • Hannity claimed Mueller has a dispute of interest;
  • Hannity categorically called for Mueller to step down or called for the investigation’s termination;
  • Hannity termed Mueller’s examination a “witch hunt”;
  • Hannity criticized the Mueller team’s domestic donations;
  • Hannity criticized James Comey;
  • Hannity suggested Hillary Clinton’s campaign colluded with Ukraine;
  • Hannity suggests Clinton colluded with Russia;
  • Hannity suggested Comey should be investigated and/or pennyless the law;
  • Hannity suggested Mueller should be investigated and/or pennyless the law;
  • Hannity suggested Clinton should be investigated and/or pennyless the law;
  • Hannity suggested Barack Obama should be investigated and/or pennyless the law; and
  • Hannity suggested Loretta Lynch should be investigated and/or pennyless the law.

Media Matters also reviewed episodes of Hannity’s show during the duration and identified any guest the program hosted.

Rob Savillo and Shelby Jamerson contributed research.


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