The liberal media is out to get Sean Hannity. Or at least that’s the other narrative he’s doubled down on this week, besides a now-retracted story concerning a false conspiracy theory involving the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich. He’s on a pre-planned hiatus till Tuesday, but he’s taken to other platforms, including a string of Twitter rants and a new interview with the Huffington Post, where Hannity says “liberal fascists” at Media Matters are trying to get him fired.
First, let’s start with that hiatus. Fox News stated it has everything to do with Memorial Day weekend and not with the Hannity’s show hemorrhaging advertisers — and that “those who suggest otherwise are going to look foolish.” Sean Hannity said as much on Twitter, too, and anticipated how the media would spin his long weekend as a soft firing.
The Huffington Post reports that Media Matters president Angelo Carusone’s take on Hannity’s tweet storm is that it indicates “palpable fear and anxiety” that he’ll be the next Bill O’Reilly, taken down by an exodus of advertisers amidst scandal. Of course, Media Matters did have something to do with sponsors’ flipping on Hannity when they published a list of Hannity’s advertisers, a move that Hannity described to Huffington Post as a “kill shot” campaign supported by TODAY, George Soros, and Hillary Clinton.
He told Huffington Post that he had done or said “nothing” wrong and that his opponents are operating out of political interest:
“There’s nothing that I did, nothing that I said, except they don’t like my position politically. They’ll try to ratchet up the intensity of their rationale. It does not justify an attempt to get me fired. And that’s what this is. This is an attempt to take me out. This is a kill shot.”
Hannity also made clear to the Huffington Post that he’s the only one responsible for his continued insistence that Seth Rich’s murder has something to do with the DNC email hack, Wikileaks, and attempts to “frame” Russia:
“I did it out of my own heart. Nobody tells me what to say on my show. They never have and frankly they never will. I’m not that type of person you can say, ‘Go on air and say this.’ That’s been the beauty of Fox News all these years. They leave me alone.”
Hannity echoed the same sentiment on Twitter, too, insisting that Fox didn’t put words in his mouth.
However, despite repeatedly making his independence clear, Hannity also sees his troubles as part of a larger purge of Fox News’ “old guard,” first with Ailes and later with O’Reilly, through advertising boycotts and media pressure. “There is an attempt, at this moment in time, to absolutely shut down the Fox News Channel and render it, frankly, a shadow of its former self,” Hannity said in the Post interview.
It’s Fox News’ influence in the election, and his own, that Hannity sees as the reason the conservative station is now under apparent assault. “Probably they don’t want me around for the 2018 elections and the 2020 elections,” he told HuffPo. “So I do believe if they can shut me down, silence me, there’s political benefits for them.”
It remains to be seen which, if any, advertisers, follow Cars.com and at least five others, and if that will have a lasting impact on Hannity’s career. It will also be interesting to watch how Hannity and Fox continue to work out their relationship, and not only in terms of Hannity’s show continuing.
How and to what extent Hannity and Fox choose to be defined by one another after Hannity’s insistence that Fox’s retraction of the Rich story was not his own is one unanswered question. And it leads to another — will Hannity makes good on his promise to drop remarks on the Seth Rich case for now? If he doesn’t, advertisers might not be the only entities deciding how loyal they are to Hannity’s brand.
A Statement From Fox News: “Like the rest of the country, Sean Hannity is taking a vacation for Memorial Day weekend and will be back on Tuesday. Those who suggest otherwise are going to look foolish.”
(Via Huffington Post)