The host addresses an about-face on Thursday night in assessing the veracity of the N.Y. Times’ bombshell story.
Fox News host Sean Hannity was on the receiving end of some Internet mockery for his broadcast on Thursday night, when he initially discounted a New York Times story about Donald Trump ordering the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller and then seemed to accept it later in his show, after a Fox News reporter confirmed it.
Initially, Hannity said of the bombshell report: “They’re trying to change the story … The New York Times is trying to distract you.” Then, after Ed Henry confirmed the thrust of the story, Hannity changed his tune. “All right, so we have sources tonight just confirming to Ed Henry that yeah, maybe Donald Trump wanted to fire the special counsel for a conflict. Does he not have the right to raise those questions? We’ll deal with this tomorrow night.”
This seeming about-face generated headlines like “Hannity tried to call the Trump-Mueller report fake news — and failed spectacularly” (Vox.com) and, on HuffPost, “Watch As Sean Hannity Gets A Brutal Reality Check On Live TV.”
On his radio show on Friday, Hannity explained what happened. He said he learned of the Times report 10 minutes before air-time, and called around to his sources in the White House, including lawyer Ty Cobb. “I saw it early, and I started working the phones: ‘Aright, is it true?'” he said.
Hannity said he was unwilling to rely on the Times, which he said relies too often on anonymous sources. “I am not going to ever, ever, ever use The New York Times as my source,” he said. “I just refuse.”
He criticized the mainstream media, which he said resents him and his approach to reporting. “The fact that I will never be like them, they just can’t seem to ever get over it,” he said. “We’re doing real work and they’re chasing a rabbit that’s going around in a circle.”
Hannity also re-hashed a criticism of the newspaper from late November, when he objected to the photo of him splashed on the cover of The New York Times Magazine. “I’ve never seen a cover that atrocious in my entire life,” he said on Friday.
One of the great @FoxNews clips of all time pic.twitter.com/0DKllSAlqO
— Amol Rajan (@amolrajanBBC) January 26, 2018