On Day Five of Hurricane-gate, Sean Hannity lied to the viewers of Fox News’ most-watched show and defended Trump’s misinforming about the threat of Hurricane Dorian which he then covered up with lies and even a crime. And Fox News was fine with that.
As I’ve previously posted, rather than admit he made a mistake when he warned that Alabama was in peril from Dorian, Donald Trump has tried to cover up his blunder with a pack of lies, including a comically and illegally altered weather map. As Dorian bore down on the Carolinas yesterday, Trump continued to obsessively defend his bungle. The Washington Post summed up Trump’s efforts on Thursday, “In effect, Trump was attempting to bend time — claiming that a projection that was several days out of date was accurate at the time he warned Alabama of a dire threat that didn’t exist.” In addition to the maps and tweets, Trump even had the White House “release a 225-word statement defending his erroneous warnings that Alabama was ‘going to get a piece’ of the storm,” The Post noted.
The Post also confirmed what we all suspected: Trump was the Sharpie-wielding map disfigurer.
Trump’s deceit couldn’t have been more blatant or more ineptly disguised. As Media Matters’ Matt Gertz aptly put it, “[O]nly a total hack without the slightest shred of fidelity to the truth, a sniveling sycophant whose only core value is loyalty to the president, a propagandist of the sort featured on state TV channels in authoritarian countries would try to back Trump up on this.” In other words, Sean Hannity was willing to demand that viewers not believe their eyes and ears as he insisted that the emperor was indeed wearing new clothes.
With laughable hypocrisy, Hannity called reports of Trump's flimflam “fake news media bias.”
“Pretty much every newsroom in American screwed this up and lied to you by accusing the president of lying,” Hannity said. His voice dripping with sarcasm, he said, “Oh, look at that,” as the screen displayed Trump’s tweets of weather maps dated August 29 and 30, “proving,” according to Hannity that Trump told the truth.
What it really proved is that Hannity is either as woefully ignorant as Trump and/or as deliberately deceitful. The fact is that Trump’s fallacious warning to Alabama, on Sunday, September 1, was made after those maps were superseded and he had been briefed with an update. That update would have showed the originally low-likelihood threat to Alabama had lessened. Instead, Trump tweeted that the threat had increased to something extremely severe:
In addition to Florida - South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated. Looking like one of the largest hurricanes ever. Already category 5. BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS EVERYONE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2019
Clearly, Hannity sees his job as propping up and shilling for Trump – while gaslighting viewers by posing as a truthteller. “If you watched the media mob, you would think the president was lying, as they always do. Just another absurd example of Trump Derangement Syndrome,” Hannity accused.
Hannity continued his chicanery by playing clips of other cable news pundits, not on Fox, of course, calling out Trump’s ineptitude, malfeasance and dereliction. Hannity responded with just the kind of class we would expect: He called them “a lot of psychotic jackasses in the media mob.” With more sarcasm, he sneered, “I’m sure we’ll get their apology, that’ll be forthcoming.” He added that he wished he had time to name “every name.”
Unfortunately for Hannity, his own guest punctured his balloon. That was no liberal, it was one of Fox’s favorite meteorologists, the climate denier Joe Bastardi. Sad!
HANNITY: Was that track correct, that the president was looking at, at the time, that it was going to go across Florida? Was that an accurate track, that actually happened?
BASTARDI: Well, no. The spray of the computer models at the time, if you look at the spray, the spray is over 600 miles in the Gulf of Mexico and if you look closely, there’s a deep black line that the computer model had and that is the mean of all the models together and what happens is –
HANNITY (interrupting): Right, but it’s very early, right? Alright, so let me ask you -
BASTARDI: It’s very early but by the – the problem was, and I have to say this, you make the statement Sunday, by Friday, people [meteorologists] are taking it up east to Florida and the models all shifted over the weekend. So that’s what caused the confusion.
I never judge anyone by their weakest day I'm not in the president's shoes, but I wouldn’t have made that statement.
Oops, that was so not what Hannity wanted to hear! So Mr. Truthteller interrupted before Bastardi could say more, claiming he was running out of time. What Hannity meant was, he didn’t want to spend any more time hearing about Trump’s misinformation. The segment continued for another two minutes, now with Bastardi and the other guest, media reporter Joe Concha (without a single scientific credential in his Twitter bio) on board bashing concerns about climate change.
As I've also previously said, while there is something very comical about this episode and, fortunately, there seem to have been no repercussions (other than to Trump's image and his ego), it's a very serious problem to have a commander-in-chief misinforming Americans as a potential national emergency looms. Then, to spend days trying to cover it up compounds the issue. If Hannity had any decency, he'd be urging his Bedtime BFF to leave office, not trying to delude people about his competence.
It strikes me as quite possible that the Bastardi exchange was little more than Fox kabuki theater, i.e. that the network put Bastardi there with the intent (and Hannity may well have known) that he would contradict Trump's hurricane lie. But that brief correction is no excuse for allowing a host to rave with the kind of BS that Hannity spewed.
Watch Hannity’s sniveling sycophancy below, from the September 5, 2019 Hannity, via Media Matters.
Trump skipped a diplomatic visit to Poland to allegedly manage the government response to Dorian. Instead he played golf (3 times?) where – insert laugh track – the White House claimed they briefed him between holes. The bulk of the media’s attention should be on Trump’s dereliction of duty and lack of empathy for the victims of Dorian.
The fact is this entire ‘weathergate’ story is proof Trump’s golf game kept him from being engaged in hurricane Dorian. No doubt he blabbered about a days old weather map because he was too busy goofing off to get regular full briefings and the Alabama projections are the last thing he’d even seen.
Childhood is not easy for anyone that is ‘different’ in any way other kids can identify. Skin colour, disability or disfigurement, accent, unusual height, speech impediment, fatness or skinniness – bullies have a lot to pick from when they want to make a schoolmate’s life hell. It always baffles me how parents can knowingly send their kids into life with a name that is sure to draw derision.
“You’re a Bastardi and you come from a long, proud line of Bastardis!” What a way to start out.