After his recent adventures in trying to revive a fact-free conspiracy claim that a murdered DNC staffer was the real source of hacked documents given to Wikileaks, thereby making the Trump-Russia scandal vanish in a puff of illogic, Sean Hannity will be taking a couple of days off to cool his heels. But don’t worry, Fox News viewers — this is absolutely nothing like Bill O’Reilly’s “vacation” where Fox sent him to go live at a nice farm upstate. Hannity will definitely be back after the holiday weekend, says Fox News, which apparently hopes taking the man’s big dumb mouth off the air for a few days will slow or stop a growing advertiser boycott.
On Tuesday, the day after FoxNews.com pulled its May 17 story claiming “new evidence” linked DNC staffer Seth Rich with the leaks, Hannity said on his radio show that he would “retract nothing,” but by Tuesday evening on Fox News, Hannity had decided, out of “respect” for the Rich family, to stop promoting the story “for now.” He then went back to Twitter to hint that he still had oodles of important evidence to share about Rich (and his supposed assassination by Hillary Clinton death squads), but has to sit on it for now because he’s such a goddamn gentleman and because liberal fascists are out to get him kicked off the air, as liberal fascists do. By Wednesday, at least seven advertisers had pulled their ads from the Hannity show, and Kimberly Guilfoyle, co-host of “The Five,” announced she’d be filling in for Hannity Thursday and Friday. It’s unclear whether Hannity would be hosting his radio show, which runs at 6:00 Eastern, for those two days.
After online speculation that Hannity might be getting the same vacation-leading-to-a-firing treatment O’Reilly did, Fox News issued a statement explaining that everything was perfectly normal and that Hannity really was just on vacation, you fools:
Like the rest of the country, Sean Hannity is taking a vacation for Memorial Day weekend and will be back on Tuesday […] Those who suggest otherwise are going to look foolish.
Hanitty himself offered a similar sentiment on the Twitters, laughing at all you morons who think a mere advertiser boycott could bring him down:when O’Reilly went away for “a month,” Fox issued a statement guaranteeing he’d be returning, and O’Reilly said it was just his ordinary vacay, nothing to see here. Gosh, similar language, too:
I often takes some time off around this time of the year. I grab some vacation, because it’s spring and Easter time. Last fall, I booked a trip that should be terrific. Not gonna tell you where it is, but we have a contest [online]… I’ll have a full report when I return.
And nobody ever won that guessing contest, sadface :(
In an interview with Huffington Post Wednesday, Hannity said even though he’s the target of a liberal witch-hunt, he regrets nothing:
“There’s nothing that I did, nothing that I said, except they don’t like my position politically,” he said. “They’ll try to ratchet up the intensity of their rationale. It does not justify an attempt to get me fired. And that’s what this is. This is an attempt to take me out. This is a kill shot.”
He also insisted his decision to temporarily stop pursuing the Rich story on Fox was entirely his own, because nobody pushes around Sean Goddamn Hannity, see? He’s Irish, and you don’t make him mad, see? Sean Hannity is a FREE MAN!
“I did it out of my own heart,” he said. “Nobody tells me what to say on my show. They never have and frankly they never will. I’m not that type of person you can say, ‘Go on air and say this.’ That’s been the beauty of Fox News all these years. They leave me alone.”
We’d like to think that he was then gassed, taken to an island, and informed he would henceforth be called “Number Six.”
Despite Hannity’s protestations, CNN’s Dylan Byers reports Hannity may have had just a skosh of help in making up his mind all by himself:
[Four] sources at Fox told CNNMoney that Hannity did face internal pressure to back off the Rich story, even if he made the decision to do so on his own. Suzanne Scott, the network’s president of programming, and other executives met with Hannity on Tuesday and encouraged him to stop advancing the theory.
Fox News did not comment, and Hannity did not respond to a request for comment […]
Fox News staffers have told CNNMoney that they are frustrated and embarrassed by Hannity’s peddling of the conspiracy. “It is disappointing because it drags the rest of us down,” one senior Fox News employee said earlier this week.
While the sudden vacation (and the denials it means anything) are very similar to the process of making Bill O’Reilly an unperson, at least with Hannity we’ll know by Tuesday whether Fox decides he’s still a profitable asset. If you’re in the mood to let advertisers know you aren’t a fan of fake news, the list of Hannity advertisers is still up at Media Matters. Heck, if an advertising boycott really does drive him from Fox, at least Hannity can take some satisfaction in having been right for once.
Be seeing you, Mr. Hannity.
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