CNN’s Brian Stelter didn’t just suggest Sean Hannity was unprofessional and irresponsible but blasted him as “unpatriotic” for helping to promote Donald Trump’s accusation that the election will be rigged “without a shred of evidence.”
On Sunday’s Reliable Sources, Stelter noted the importance of conservative media in countering Trump’s baseless but “dangerous” fear mongering. (Transcript excerpts via Media Matters.)
STELTER: Voices who are trusted by Republicans, trusted by Trump’s base should be the ones reassuring people about the integrity of the voting system. So is that happening? No. Conservative media is helping Trump spread doubts without a shred of evidence. Here, let me show you how not to interview a candidate about something as serious as this. This is Sean Hannity just handing Trump the mic.
Stelter played a clip of Hannity’s interview with Trump last week in which Hannity asked Trump to “explain” why he thinks the November election will be rigged.
Trump did not explain. He merely reiterated the conspiracy theory:
TRUMP: I’m telling you, November 8th, we better be careful. Because that election’s going to be rigged and I hope the Republicans are watching closely or it’s going to be taken away from us.
Instead of challenging a word, Hannity thanked Trump and ended the interview.
Stelter let Hannity have it.
STELTER: That’s it? If there were ever a time to extend an interview to challenge a candidate, that was the time. Don’t feed me baloney about Hannity’s show being only an hour long and that he might have run out of time. This interview was on tape. The producers should have kept it going. 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.
Now, maybe Trump’s just making excuses for an eventual loss. But here’s where the media’s role comes in. Journalists cannot just play these sound bites, quote these claims, and then move on to the next subject. We can’t just let it seep into the discourse like it’s normal. We have to stop and fact-check and contextualize.
Stelter was exactly right.
But he wasn’t done. He played another clip of Hannity coming up with his own conspiracy theory to suggest the election will be rigged. Then Stelter let Hannity have it again:
STELTER: Hannity is not a journalist, but he has a megaphone, and he’s using his megaphone irresponsibly. If a Democratic candidate were saying this stuff, saying the election could be rigged, then every word of this essay would apply to him or her. But right now it’s the Republican candidate for president who is trying to delegitimize our democratic process without proof. It is unpatriotic for any interviewer or any journalist to help him.
Stelter also got in a dig at O’Reilly for not challenging Trump, too.
Watch it below, from the August 7 Reliable Sources, via Media Matters.
UPDATE: Hannity has responded by attacking Stelter.
As pointed out by Mediaite, the segment Sean had a diaper fill over where Stelter criticizes him covered Hannity’s exact follow-up example he used to counterpunch against Brian. Hannity didn’t even watch the clip! Just blindly repeated the same debunked bulls—t talking point that got him and Der Furor talking election conspiracies in the first place. What a fool!
Salon had a wonderful article on Lewis Charles Levin, the Donald Trump of the mid-19th century: http://www.salon.com/2016/08/03/meet_the_donald_trump_of_the_1840s_lewis_charles_levin_rode_the_wave_of_righteous_anger_partner/.
Guess what party Levin led. Oh, it was the Know Nothings. Obviously the roots of the Trump wing of the GOP. ;^)
Wow — now there’s a shock . . . not.
Like Stelter said, “Hannity is not a journalist, but he has a megaphone . . .” and the non-journalist Hannity, like the non-presidential non-politician Drumpf, can never let any criticism of himself, no matter how valid, go unanswered . . .
Fox’s web propaganda arm is headlining an original article slamming Hillary’s economic record in the Senate [coincidentally I’m sure] the day a ‘reformed’ Donald – fresh from his time out to calm is last temper tantrum – is giving his grand economic speech.
Can I survive the next 92 days? 😵
About the content; if anybody has a right to bitch about rigged elections, it’s democrats. What with rascist voter id laws, inadequate polling facilities and states with republican election officials who are crooked as a dog’s hind leg.