As you may have heard, the Mueller report revealed that Sean Hannity knew about the now-infamous June, 2016 Trump Tower meeting, yet kept that potentially colossal scoop to himself and, presumably, from the “news” division at Fox News.
The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple noted that Hannity called the meeting “meaningless” after the New York Times broke the news to the rest of us on July 8, 2017. But, as page 99 of Volume II of the Mueller report reveals, Hannity knew about the meeting more than a week before that: “[Then-Chief of Staff Reince] Priebus recalled learning about the June 9 meeting from Fox News host Sean Hannity in late June 2017."
Now: If Hannity honestly felt that the meeting highlighted the wobbliness of the collusion narrative, then why didn’t he, an avowed supporter of the president, break the news of the meeting — and argue his point of view? Perhaps it was because he had reached the same conclusion of then-White House aide Hope Hicks, who in late June reviewed the emails that had set up the meeting. She “recalled being shocked by the emails because they looked ‘really bad,’ ” according to a line from the special counsel’s report. Given the dishonest statement that he dictated, the president apparently shared that sentiment.
Whatever the case, Hannity stood still. To borrow the sort of conspiratorial spirit so commonly vented on Hannity’s own show, this is a coverup! The Erik Wemple Blog asked Fox News about this situation. Did the network know about the situation before the Mueller report came out?
Apparently, nobody at Fox News got back to Wemple to explain why the network was scooped by a rival news organization when its star anchor had the information long before. Shades of the Stormy Daniels payoff story, eh?
We can all make very educated guesses about why Hannity kept the news from Fox viewers until the Times did: It didn’t make Trump look good or his foes look bad. Wemple suggested, correctly in my view, that “the corruption runs even deeper” because minimizing damage to Trump also minimizes damage to Hannity, “whose managerial fingerprints are all over this White House.”
And I’ll argue that the corruption goes even deeper than that. Fox’s own fortunes are now inextricably linked with Trump’s. Sure, Fox is slightly hedging its bets or putting up window dressing with Democratic candidates’ town halls and some challenges to Trump orthodoxy (which are routinely ignored on prime time). But if the Trump ship carrying Hannity and the rest of the Trump lickspittles sinks, Fox’s fortunes will surely go deeply underwater as well.
In other words, don’t hold your breath waiting for Fox to come up with any decent explanation for sitting on a scoop. Because there isn’t one.
In his April 21, 2019 report below, CNN’s Brian Stelter discussed how Hannity’s silence harms Fox’s “news” brand. But with its own silence, Fox is harming its own.
(Hannity image via screen grab)
P.S. I do like the way every new page is thanking me for my comment, Ellen. Some may take it as unnecessary pressure to perform, but I see it as a challenge!