Last week, Donald Trump launched a conspiracy theory about the upcoming general election, which the real estate mogul claims could be “rigged.” This led some folks to wonder if Trump was pulling a strategic move, or perhaps he was simply preparing a handy defense in the event he loses. When President Obama fielded the subject during a press conference, he barely suppressed his laughter and called the idea “ridiculous.”
On Sunday morning, CNN’s Brian Stelter ripped into Fox News’ Sean Hannity for “handing Trump the mic” and helping to fuel Trump’s conspiracy theory by not challenging the candidate to justify his stance. Stelter also laid into Bill O’Reilly, but Hannity received the brunt of the criticism:
“Hannity should have asked more questions. Interviewers, even the ones that support the person they’re interviewing, have an obligation to probe further and push back when a candidate says something dangerous. And this is dangerous. Suggesting an election is going to be stolen, this is Third World dictatorship stuff.”
Stelter pointed out how Hannity is simply allowing Trump to make serious accusations and allowing them to “seep into the discourse” without contextualization. And Stelter questioned why Hannity isn’t fact checking and is acting “conspiratorial” — a word that Hannity actually used to describe himself while discussing a Philadelphia Inquirer report that claimed Mitt Romney didn’t receive any votes in 59 Philly precincts. In response, Stelter pointed out an NBC Chicago report that claimed the same issue for Barack Obama in some Utah precincts.
Stelter concluded that Hannity was being “irresponsible” for using his microphone to aid Trump: “Right now, it is the Republican candidate who is trying to delegitimize our Democratic process without proof. It is unpatriotic for any interviewer or any journalist to help him.” Naturally, this led to a war of words on Twitter. Hannity wasn’t cool with being accused of not fact checking, so he asked Stelter, “Do u prep?”
Stelter then endorsed a reply that told him, “Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.”
Stelter also reinforced his claim of Hannity’s unpatriotism.
Naturally, this Twitter argument did not lead to a peaceful resolution. Hannity tried to change the subject by calling Hillary Clinton a liar.