Sean Hannity

Tags ››› Sean Hannity
  • Politico: Secret Service Veterans “Strongly Denounce” Gary Byrne’s Crisis Of Character

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    A new report from Politico highlights criticism from several Secret Service veterans targeting an upcoming anti-Hillary Clinton book from former Secret Service officer Gary J. Byrne. Those current and former Secret Service members argue Byrne “was too low-ranking” to have witnessed the gossipy events he details in the book and suggest he is lying for political and financial benefit.

    Byrne’s Crisis of Character, which is set to be released next week, has received widespread promotion from conservative media outlets. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has plugged the book several times on Twitter, claiming it shows Clinton does not have the temperament to be president. Trump also referenced the book during a June 21 Fox & Friends appearance, saying “her Secret Service agent” claims “she’s a total mess.”

    Unsurprisingly, the Drudge Report, which has repeatedly promoted allegations from Crisis of Character, reports that Byrne will give his first TV interview promoting the book on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show (Hannity has already pushed the book, including during an interview earlier this month with Trump).

    In contrast to the widespread praise from Trump and right-wing media outlets, Secret Service veterans think Byrne’s book is not credible. In a June 21 article, Politico reports complaints about the book from “several high-level members of Secret Service presidential details,” who say Byrne is “inflating his role,” relaying unverified gossip, and making “security harder by eroding the trust between agents and the people they protect.”

    The nonpartisan Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service (AFAUSSS) will reportedly release a statement ripping the book, which Politico says “very carefully calls Byrne a liar.”

    From Politico:

    On Tuesday, AFAUSSS, which is strictly nonpartisan, is set to release a statement blasting Gary Byrne author of “Crisis in Character,” saying members “strongly denounce” the book, which they add has made security harder by eroding the trust between agents and the people they protect.

    “There is no place for any self-moralizing narratives, particularly those with an underlying motive,” reads the statement from the group’s board of directors, which says Byrne has politics and profit on his mind.

    AFAUSSS rarely issues public statements of any kind.

    The book has rankled current and former members of the Secret Service, who don’t like anyone airing their business in public — but who also take issue with Byrne inflating his role. Byrne was a uniformed officer in Bill Clinton’s White House. But that’s the lowest level of protection within the White House and around the president.

    People familiar with West Wing security laugh at the idea that Byrne or any uniformed officer ever would have walked in on Bill Clinton anywhere, whether in a meeting or, as a New York Post article over the weekend claims, in the middle of a make-out session in the Map Room with the late daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale. The Secret Service presidential detail would have stopped him. (That affair was a well-worn rumor during the Clinton years, though strongly denied by Eleanor Mondale, who died of brain cancer in 2011.)

    [...]

    The group’s statement, which POLITICO obtained in advance of its release, very carefully calls Byrne a liar.

    “One must question the veracity and content of any book which implies that its author played such an integral part of so many [claimed] incidents. Any critique of management by one who has never managed personnel or programs resounds hollow. Additionally, why would an employee wait in excess of ten years after terminating his employment with the Service to make his allegations public?” it reads.

  • Fox Overlooks Trump’s Middle East Business Ventures While Hyping His Clinton Foundation Criticism

    ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    While pushing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s criticisms of the Clinton Foundation for accepting charitable donations from Middle Eastern countries, Fox News personalities failed to note Trump’s business ties in the Middle East and his campaign manager Paul Manafort’s previous work with dictatorial regimes.

  • O'Reilly Is Now Challenging Hannity As Trump's Biggest Fan At Fox News

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    At a time when the roof seemed to be collapsing in on his campaign, Donald Trump found some recent refuge in the form of Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program.  

    Stumbling through a self-inflicted crisis that was sparked when Trump suggested that an American-born judge with “Mexican heritage” could not be impartial presiding over lawsuits pending against Trump University, the presumptive Republican nominee found himself under constant attack. The denunciations came even from within the conservative media and from members of the Republican Party.

    But amid the hailstorm of contempt, O’Reilly provided temporary shelter this week when he told Fox viewers that the federal judge in question ought to recuse himself from the Trump U. lawsuit as Trump had insisted. O’Reilly didn’t sign off on the idea that the judge’s heritage made him untrustworthy. But the Fox talker did suggest Trump had created such a controversy with his comments that it would just be better for the judge to step aside.

    In other words, O’Reilly wanted to reward Trump for his bullying tactics. He wanted to reward Trump’s novel strategy of trying to create conditions for a judge’s recusal by manufacturing a controversy about the judge. Or as The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple put it, “In Bill O’Reilly’s world, friends excuse friends for being racist.”

    O’Reilly also recently laid down a marker when he announced it was completely out of bounds to discuss whether Trump’s a racist. “You don’t use the ‘R word’ unless you are David Duke,” O’Reilly told Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX). “Unless you have got a history of trying to denigrate minorities or other people.”

    O’Reilly insists he knows Trump’s not a racist because O’Reilly’s known him a long time. But of course, the Republican has a very clear “history of trying to denigrate minorities or other people.” (Including suggesting that Mexican immigrants are “rapists” and proposing that Muslims be banned from entering America.)

    In a campaign season that’s featured an unusual amount of squabbling between the GOP nominee and Fox personalities -- two forces normally united in their partisan pursuits -- O’Reilly’s willingness to stand beside Trump and his bizarre attack on a judge suggests O’Reilly might be picking his lane for the general election within Fox News by cozying up -- even more than he already was -- to the unpopular GOP nominee.

    For good reason, Sean Hannity has largely served as the poster boy for Fox News’ willingness to embrace Trump’s candidacy. Hannity’s fawning Trump coverage has led to widespread ridicule, including heated arguments with Trump’s former chief rival for the nomination, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).  

    But O’Reilly’s handling of Trump has been just as embarrassing. O’Reilly has given Trump the kid gloves treatment over any number of scandals during the course of the campaign, and as the calendar shifts to the general election, things only seem to be getting friendlier between the two.

    There’s little doubt that Hannity sycophantic programming has produced ratings dividends. In May, his show enjoyed the largest year-to-year ratings boost among viewers 25-54 at the network. Hannity’s 35 percent bump helped him pass Megyn Kelly and become Fox’s second-highest rated show.

    Hannity still trails O’Reilly, who’s in no danger of losing his 16-year streak as Fox’s best-rated host. And it’s possible O’Reilly was always going to end up serving as Trump’s television consigliere. (The two have been pals for decades.) But O’Reilly also sees the Nielsen needle moving and understands what produces good ratings at Fox: being nice to Donald Trump. (New York recently reported that, "According to one Fox News producer, the channel's ratings dip whenever an anti-Trump segment airs.”)

    In general, you don’t get the feeling O’Reilly has posters of Trump hanging in his basement the way viewers might assume Sean Hannity does at home. But there’s little doubt that O’Reilly now functions as a de facto Trump campaign advocate. (Even though O’Reilly gets defensive about that claim.)  And there’s also little doubt that O’Reilly wants to cash in on that Trump champion role between now and November and make sure nobody else at Fox News passes him while cornering the Trump cheerleading market.

    There’s no question within Fox News, ratings envy fuels rivalries between program hosts. When Megyn Kelly enjoyed a star turn last year in the wake of being publicly attacked by Trump, CNN reported that O’Reilly resented her success. In fact, O’Reilly even lobbied internally that a post-debate special Kelly hosted which garnered huge audiences shouldn’t be counted toward her regular ratings tally, according to CNN.

    Amidst hostilities between Fox News and Trump in February, O’Reilly hosted the GOP politician for an interview where he unloaded more criticism on Kelly. Noticeably, O’Reilly did nothing to defend his Fox colleague during the interview. Kelly later told More magazine, “I do wish that O’Reilly had defended me more in his interview with Trump. I would have defended him more.”

    And increasingly, that has become O’Reilly’s permanent role, to serve as a Trump protector. “Trump appears on the O’Reilly Factor almost weekly, engaging in pointless blather with its host—they joke about their friendship, while O’Reilly lobs softball questions (before spending the rest of the show telling his other guests how tough an interview he just conducted),” noted Isaac Chotiner at Slate recently

    Added Erik Wemple at the Post, “Three decades of [sharing] ballgames and vanilla milkshakes have turned ‘The O’Reilly Factor’ into a laundry room for Trump. His messes come in, and O’Reilly, OxiClean in hand, cleans them up for him.”

    O’Reilly No Spin Zone has been turned into a Soft Landing Zone for Trump.

  • Hannity Answers Trump’s Call To Attack Detractors Of His Racist Attacks On Federal Judge

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    A day after presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump ordered his surrogates to “go after” critics of his racist attacks against the federal overhearing the Trump U. case, Fox News host Sean Hannity took to his radio show and attacked Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for their “willingness” to go criticize Trump, but being “too weak, too timid, too afraid” to criticize President Obama.

    On June 6, Bloomberg Politics reported that during a conference call, Trump instructed his surrogates to “go at” the people criticizing his racist attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel, and described his detractors as “racists.”

    The following day, on the June 7 edition of The Sean Hannity Show, Hannity defended Trump by attacking Republicans who have criticized Trump’s racist attacks:

    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): How do you explain Hillary saying that Robert "the former Klansman" Byrd was her mentor? Or that J. William Fulbright, a known segregationist, was Bill Clinton's mentor. Oh, we can ignore those little happenings in the past, why shouldn’t we, that's not textbook. We got Hillary's brother in law on tape, Roger Clinton, using the N word 15 times.

    [...]

    OK I don't want to hear it, I can't stand hearing people that are ignorant like that. I just can't. So, there's a lot of political conflicts galore here. You got a judge, anyway, the federal judge here who actually takes this thing to class action, this is a judge that probably should have recused himself. This is a judge who is part of a radical, or at least associated with the radical wing of La Raza and I think Trump's mistake was making it not about what it was, which was politics. I think that’s what it should have been about from the beginning. And he pretty much said as much and it’s time to move on. But not in the minds of Republicans. Republicans want to hit the self-destruct button. Republicans want to teach we, you, the people a lesson because you didn't vote for any of the candidates of their choice. So they’re just jumping on the bandwagon, admitting as quickly as possible things they'd never do against Obama.

    [...]

    I see more willingness to fight Trump by Republican leaders than I do in their willingness , in any of the eight years Obama has been in office now, to fight and stop Obama’s radical agenda. Starting with the campaign in ‘07 and ‘08. They were too timid, and too weak, too afraid to bring up anything involving Obama's radical past. Well, you know what? What's worse? Trump's comments about this judge, which was obviously inarticulate, I didn't hear Paul Ryan talk about Reverend Wright being racist, I didn’t hear Paul Ryan making the case that somebody that hangs out with, gave speeches with,sits on boards with and starts his political career in the home of a domestic -- unrepentant domestic terrorist isn't fit for the job. I didn’t hear Lindsey Graham make that case either and it was his buddy John McCain running at the time.

    Anything that they can do; I didn’t see the stuff in his two books Audacity of Hope or Dreams of My Father, “white man’s greed runs the world in need” Obama said? Is that worse than Trump’s comments? Everybody’s got selective moral outrage. Everybody’s all offended by words but it only depends on who utters the words that offends them. Because they’ll make all sorts of excuses, time and time again, if they don't want to pick that particular political fight.

    Hannity’s reputation as a Trump sycophant has been widely criticized and mocked, with media outlets calling out Hannity’s “unapologetic advocacy” for Trump,  including Hannity telling Trump during an interview that he was a supporter of his and stating that “I don’t hold back that I’ll be voting for Donald Trump.”

  • A Guide To Hannity's Desperate Defenses Of Trump

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Fox News host Sean Hannity, a staunch supporter of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, has defended Trump numerous times, backing him when journalists and experts criticized his “racist” comments about a judge, debunked his claims, and dubbed his policy proposals “fact-free.”