Donald-Trump-surrogate-playing-cable-news-host Sean Hannity got called out again on CNN, this time for his dangerous and baseless rumor mongering about Hillary Clinton's health.
You may recall that Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s media criticism show, Reliable Sources, ripped Hannity last week for his “unpatriotic” promotion of Trump’s “rigged election” fear mongering designed to undermine confidence in our nation’s election process.
Get ready for a new Hannity tirade.
Hannity’s history of baseless smears of Clinton’s health
For a little back story (as I’ve been transfixed by the Olympics and haven’t posted about it), Hannity has been desperately promoting baseless accusations about Hillary Clinton’s health.
On August 8, Hannity suggested Clinton is suffering from brain damage, based on a photo of her being assisted up some stairs in February. After Fox’s own Dr Siegel helped give cred to the smear, Hannity played a video that he claimed he didn’t want to play but had to “just out of fairness” that he claimed looked like a “mini seizure.” Then on August 10, Hannity tried and failed to persuade two doctors that Clinton suffers from seizures, even though Siegel helped raise suspicions by saying it was “possible.” (Videos are below.)
None of that seems to matter to Fox News, which has allowed these smarmy “questions” to keep being asked without any serious attempt to answer them. Meanwhile, AP reporter Lisa Lerer has unequivocally debunked the "mini seizure" video. Think she’ll be on Hannity tomorrow night to correct the record? We’ll see.
Stelter proves Hannity is a ‘reckless’ news host
Today, Stelter gave it to Hannity not just for promoting baseless, right-wing smears but for shirking his responsibility as a news host, opinionated or not.
From the Media Matters transcript, with my emphases:
STELTER: Let me be clear. That was reckless speculation by Sean Hannity. All of it. This whole “Clinton is secretly sick” thing has been promoted by conservative news sites for years. There’s a grain of truth to the idea about her health because she did have a health scare in 2012. It was well-reported at the time. But her doctors say she is now physically fit to be president. There is no doubt about that. But Hannity is not interested in the truth about Clinton’s health. If he was, he could have interviewed people who were actually there during the episodes that he’s exploiting. Let’s take the one at the very end. Hannity said Clinton was violently uncontrollably jerking her head. He said the reporter got scared. Sean, why not go ask the reporter? Go ask the reporter. The AP’s Lisa Lerer wrote about this. She says Fox never contacted her and said she was never scared. Here’s what she says really happened that day. Reporters were asking Clinton about a meeting with Elizabeth Warren. Lots of questions, lots of questions to ask. So Lerer writes, “Perhaps eager to avoid answering or maybe just taken aback by our volume, Clinton responded with an exaggerated motion, shaking her head vigorously for a few seconds.” Look, conspiracy theories are so much more interesting than the truth. But the last time I checked, Fox still has the word “News” in its name.
It's not just Hannity being reckless
Stelter is exactly right in every way. But it’s not just Hannity who does this sort of thing on Fox. On Fox Business, Lou Dobbs used a video of Clinton being surrounded by Secret Service agents, during an eruption by animal rights protesters, to suggest something is being hidden about her medical condition - also without interviewing anyone who could have shed light on the subject.
Eric Bolling also recently employed the same tactic, albeit with a different subject, as host of “no spin zone” The O’Reilly Factor. Bolling promoted the right-wing theory that a DNC worker had been murdered by the Clintons without indicating any investigation had been done by anyone at Fox.
Yes, Fox still has the word “News” in its name but until it starts acting like it deserves that honor, we need people like Stelter and others calling out the charade.
Watch it all below, from the August 14 Reliable Sources on CNN, via Media Matters. And get the popcorn ready for Hannity’s next bullyboy tantrum.