Sean Hannity sanctimoniously announced Wednesday night, “In serious situations, truth matters. Facts matter. And, unfortunately, there’s been way too much politicizing” of the coronavirus pandemic. Then – you guessed it – Hannity started to dishonestly spin and politicize Donald Trump's [mis]handling of the outbreak.
The Hannity show aired immediately after Trump’s mistake-laden address that immediately sent the global markets plunging. But, predictably, Hannity described it as “more decisive action and leadership” from Dear Leader.
Hannity is suddenly posturing as a lover of unity. Meaning, he is demanding everybody fall in line behind Trump – or be smeared.
HANNITY: Now, here’s something that the media will not tell you. Here’s something Democrats that have been playing politics will not tell you and I think we should all listen to the president. This is not about politics, this is about our American family. There’s gonna be plenty of time for politics down the road.
If you believe that, I’ve got a degree from Trump University to sell you.
Then there was this:
HANNITY: Make no mistake. In serious situations, truth matters. Facts matter. And, unfortunately, there’s been way too much politicizing of this, too much – well, untruths being told and actually, even some actually weaponizing what is a global pandemic. That all needs to stop. I hope it will.
Sure enough, it wasn’t long before Hannity started up his own politicizing and weaponization. First, Trump is glorious just for not being "lead from behind" Obama:
HANNITY: For more perspective, we go back to 2009. That year, more than a thousand Americans had died in a six-month period from H1N1, better known as swine flu, that virus, and 20,000 Americans had contracted the pandemic before President Obama, himself, declared a national emergency. One of his health officials on Day 11 did, in fact, say it was an emergency to release some funding. Gotta tell the truth on all cases. But a thousand Americans at that point had died. Ultimately, that disease killed around – well, 12,000-plus Americans in its first year.
Now, perspective aside, our current president, Donald Trump, - well, he’s not leading from behind. In fact, more facts. No president has ever done more, acted more quickly to slow the spread of a disease.
Sorry, Seanie-Pooh, but that is just ridiculous. Trump bungled the response and has spread misinformation, including on the Hannity show. Last night, Ashish Jha, who runs the Harvard Global Health Institute, called the federal response “a fiasco.”
Here’s Hannity not politicizing about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden over his disapproval of Trump’s first travel ban in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
HANNITY: By the way, the travel ban went into effect. The president ordered that on February 2nd for all non-U.S. citizens who recently visited China, even though most officials feared it was too soon for travel restrictions.
Now, the political side of this, Joe Biden suggested that ban was xenophobic. CNN – over there, they said we were stigmatizing people from other countries.
Dr. Fauci, on this program last night: the president’s quick ban on travel from China likely saved thousands of lives. That one act in three weeks – unprecedented – probably literally saved thousands of Americans from contracting that disease and probably some, the elderly, those with underlying health issues – those with compromised immune systems from – yes, facing potential death.
Hannity's version of what Fauci said is either a spectacular misunderstanding or a deliberate falsehood. FACT CHECK: Infectious disease expert Fauci told Hannity the travel ban would at best delay a big outbreak.
FAUCI: When you do a travel ban, whether or not you're really going to interfere with any aspect of an outbreak, because you might delay it, but what's going to happen is that you'll wind up having a big outbreak anyway. That's true. When you have multiple different countries at the same time who have outbreaks and you can't exclude the entire world.
Once again, I will point out that this pre-scripted commentary was almost surely approved by a Fox News producer.
It’s bad enough that Fox News allows Hannity to spread dishonest propaganda in service of propping up Trump. But to let him pose as an impartial arbiter of facts is especially despicable at a time like this.
You can watch Hannity gaslight Fox viewers below, from the March 11, 2020 Hannity.