As CNN’s Anderson Cooper scores the kinds of big interviews Sean Hannity can only drool over, and as his ratings slip, he has started lashing out at Cooper. Cooper is not only undaunted, he is taunting Hannity on the air.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Hannity is the mystery client of Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Hannity was roasted, even on his own show and by colleague Juan Williams for not revealing the relationship while he was covering Cohen. Cooper took a dig Wednesday night:
COOPER: The consequences have been swift. Fox News did what any respectable news organization would do when faced with the knowledge that one of its anchors went on the air time after time after time to breathlessly report on someone without disclosing his own personal connection to the story. I’m kidding. They don’t care.
Cooper, whose second hour on CNN is pitted against the 9 PM ET Hannity show, has recently boosted his ratings with a headline-grabbing interview with Trump’s alleged mistress, Karen McDougal. Cooper also delivered record-setting ratings for 60 Minutes with his interview with porn star Stormy Daniels, who also claims to have had an extramarital affair with Trump. Next week, Cooper will probably have another blockbuster with his live town hall scheduled with former FBI Director James Comey.
Hannity, on the other hand, has lost his grip on the top rung of the ratings ladder. In March, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow show, which also airs at 9 PM, overtook Hannity as the most-watched cable show, both in total numbers and in the valuable 25-54 age group. He has all but begged Comey to come on his own show.
The idea of Cooper gaining on him, too, must be gnawing at poor Hannity. Though not enough to deviate from his Groundhog Day version of “news analysis.”
Instead, Hannity is lashing out. On his Wednesday night show, he complained that Cooper “acts more like Jerry Springer than a newscaster.” He then juxtaposed clips of Springer and Cooper to “prove” the point. Of course, Cooper was interviewing women who had claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump and then faced intimidating attempts to silence them. Those are important details that Hannity left out.
Cooper is not letting up. Last night, he raked Fox News over the coals for bogusly blaming Comey for the Boston Marathon bombing and promoting a false smear about special counsel Robert Mueller.
The Mueller smear involved a completely-debunked claim that Mueller was responsible for four innocent men remaining in prison in order to protect FBI informant Whitey Bulger. Cooper noted that former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz (who might as well tote a sign saying, “Nominate me for the next Supreme Court opening!”) seems to have started the Mueller smear. Though Dershowitz has since walked it back, Cooper pointed out that Dershowitz also said, “further investigation seems warranted.”
COOPER: Now of course, by then, the genie was out of the bottle and the president’s supporters, hellbent on smearing the Russia investigation, have taken said genie and run with it. And you know what that means: Enter Sean Hannity.
Cooper played a clip of Hannity melodramatically announcing that Mueller was “in charge while these men were rotting in prison.” We also saw Hannity’s Glenn-Beck-like graphic of the “Mueller Crime Family?” as Hannity even more melodramatically announced that “Four, four men wrongfully imprisoned for decades … all while Mueller’s office looked the other way.”
COOPER: Oh, Sean. When you’re not interested in facts you can blame anyone for anything, but those pushing this factually incorrect tale might do a better job of maybe checking their dates and actually getting their story straight.
Will Hannity retaliate with another bonkers rant a la the one about Jimmy Kimmel? Stay tuned!
Meanwhile, watch Cooper’s blistering takedown below, from CNN's April 19, 2018 Anderson Cooper 360°, via Media Matters.
(Mashup screen grabs thanks to NewsHound Richard)