The role of Fox News during the presidency of Donald Trump is essentially the same as Pravda’s in Russia. It is as close to state-run television news as we get in the United States. The network will almost always support Trump and defend him from any and all criticism. And the most fawning Trump flunky at Fox is, without a doubt, Sean Hannity.
During the campaign, Hannity hosted Trump on his program more than any other candidate. And Trump appeared on his show more than any other show on TV. Hannity even publicly endorsed Trump in the midst of the campaign. So no one should be surprised that he is still licking Trump’s Ferragamos. But this week he went even further. Hannity is now joining the President’s pro-Putin fan club and opposing America’s intelligence community.
Analysis of all available data about the hacking of Democrats has produced near unanimous agreement that Russia was the culprit. Seventeen separate intelligence agencies agree with that assessment. And the ever-growing number of connections between Trump and his inner circle are cause for concern. Unless, that is, if you’re Sean Hannity.
On his radio show last week Hannity floated an absurd and utterly unsupported allegation acquitting Putin’s gang of any wrongdoing. He asserted that the CIA “uses stolen malware to attribute cyberattacks to nations like Russia.” Hannity said that this was revealed in documents from WikiLeaks, but that isn’t true. It was merely part of a press release that WikiLeaks put out, but was not supported by the actual documents. Then Hannity continued this line of nonsense on his Fox News program (video below). His guest, Lt. Col Tony Shaffer (ret), said that it was the CIA that hacked the Democrats. Despite having said the very same thing himself on the radio earlier that day, Hannity pretended to be surprised. In the following exchange with Shaffer he wondered:
Hannity: You’re telling me this whole Russian story – that the media’s been running with for months and months and months – that it was our people that did it and they just put the fingerprints of the Russians on it?
Shaffer: That’s right. I don’t have proof of it, but I’m telling you this is what I’ve heard.
The notable part of this charade is that Shaffer openly admits that he has no proof. But that doesn’t stop Hannity from participating in spreading this crackpot conspiracy theory. In order to believe his ramblings you would have to dismiss the findings of the entire intelligence community. Plus, you would have to dismiss them in favor of unfounded opinions based on Russian denials. It hardly seems patriotic to side with a hostile foreign adversary over American national security professionals.
In addition, you’d have to ignore all of the connections already proven between the Russians and Trump’s “brain” trust. They include Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner, J.D. Gordon, and Roger Stone. What are the odds that a single candidate – now president – would have so many associates tied to communications with our Russian foes? This can’t be written off as coincidence.
Nevertheless, Hannity struggles vainly to absolve Russia of any complicity with the hacking. Instead, he places the blame squarely on his fellow Americans. It’s unclear why Hannity thinks that’s a better scenario. His theory asserts that it was the CIA that hacked Democrats in order to sabotage Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He believes that Trump’s victory was assisted by rogue and treasonous spooks. And this is better how? At least he seems to be accepting that Trump is an illegitimate president who won as the result of unlawful interference. Except that in his blind haste to exonerate Putin, he doesn’t appear to know that he believes that.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.