Lawless rancher Cliven Bundy praised "hero" Sean Hannity for promoting his cause during an appearance on a conspiracy radio show during which he also warned a civil war could only be avoided if federal "bureaucrats" are disarmed by county sheriffs.
Bundy has been in conflict with the federal government for decades over his refusal to pay grazing fees for his cattle herd's use of public lands. A recent attempt by the Bureau of Land Management to enforce court orders allowing the confiscation of Bundy's cattle to settle unpaid fees and fines was suspended due to safety concerns after armed militias rallied to Bundy's cause and some militia members pointed guns at BLM law enforcement.
Despite threats of violence from Bundy and his supporters -- and the fact his legal claim against paying grazing fees is incredibly weak -- right-wing media have praised Bundy as a conservative champion standing against an outsized federal government. Amid endless sympathetic coverage on Fox News, host Sean Hannity emerged as the network's leading advocate for Bundy.
Media Matters and others have criticized Hannity's "totally irresponsible" journalism, including his support of Bundy's extreme positions, invocation of the deadly Waco standoff, and his touting of the possibility that the federal government will kill Bundy.
During an April 21 appearance on 9-11 truther Alex Jones' conspiracy radio show, Bundy offered thanks to Hannity for promoting his cause. While he said the men disagreed about whether armed militias are the first or last line of defense against government overreach, Bundy said of Hannity, "He is my hero and he supported me and this movement and I appreciate and love him for it. Support him 100 percent." For his part Jones said, "I want to commend Sean Hannity because he has been really bad on a lot of issues but he has a lot of courage doing the right thing here. So I appreciate him being supportive of this."
Bundy also expanded on his past call for the disarmament of BLM agents and predicted that if local sheriffs did not take guns from "bureaucratic armies," then civil war will occur. Warning that BLM agents will join forces with "bureaucratic armies" to form "the strongest army in the world," Bundy suggested that county sheriffs' failure to disarm this force means that "the American people will be faced against American people before long if this is not straightened out." He later added that federal law enforcement should be disarmed by sheriffs "one county at a time" in order to avoid "a civil war."
Like Hannity, Jones has been a tireless advocate for Bundy. In addition to hosting Bundy multiple times on his radio show, Jones was an early proponent of an easily debunked conspiracy theory that posited Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was behind a nefarious plot to bar Bundy's cattle from public lands in order to build a solar power plant there at the behest of a Chinese energy firm. Jones offered another conspiracy theory during the April 21 interview, suggesting that Reid will "blow something up. Maybe even Reid will attack his own offices and then blame it on you." Bundy responded, "They can't do that because of people like you," and added Jones' "integrity" would preclude the government from framing the rancher with a false flag operation.