Sean Hannity escalated his feud with journalists this week, suggesting that President-elect Donald Trump shut out the press and launching a bizarre Twitter rant about one reporter.
On his radio show on Tuesday, Hannity bashed several major media outlets.
“Maybe Donald Trump should rethink how he deals with media,” he said. “Why should CNN have a seat in the White House press room? Why should NBC have a seat there? Why should The New York Times have a seat there, or Politico? They all think they’re journalists, they’re all full of crap, and they’ve all been exposed.”
“Until members of the media come clean about colluding with the Clinton campaign and admit that they knowingly broke every ethical standard they are supposed to uphold, they should not have the privilege, they should not have the responsibility of covering the president on behalf of you, the American people,” he said.
A cursory look at major media outlets― including the ones Hannity called out― will show a slew of negative stories about the Clinton campaign. These include the former secretary of state’s use of a private email server, her paid speeches to Wall Street and the FBI’s decision to reopen her investigation days before the election. Media outlets were actually criticized for focusing on the latter piece of news, which turned out to be not much of a story at all.
Hannity sent a series of tweets late Wednesday attacking a Mediaite reporter who had written about him, demanding she admit to voting for Clinton.
Hannity’s tirade is a page out of Trump’s book. The president-elect has already broken with press tradition by traveling without a pool, ditching reporters to go to dinner and using his Twitter account to attack media outlets. On Tuesday, he canceled― and then quickly uncanceled― a planned meeting with New York Times staffers, whom he said changed “the terms and conditions of the meeting at the last moment (the Times has fiercely denied this.)
These incidents, combined with Trump’s frequent attacks on journalists during the campaign, have stoked fears about the future of press freedom in the U.S. Trump rarely holds press conferences, repeatedly refused to let journalists who had covered him negatively into events and even threatened to “open up libel laws” to make it easier to sue outlets.
And if he takes Hannity’s advice, his relationship with the media isn’t like to improve.