Pointing out the hypocrisy and shady ethics of pro-Trump media is low-hanging fruit. But the fact that it’s such an easy endeavor makes it worthwhile, which brings us to the latest revelations surrounding Sean Hannity of Fox News — that he is the third mystery client of President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen.
The news creates a big problem for Hannity and his brand. He’s used his platform on Fox to mount passionate and militant defenses of the Trump presidency. He’s even had Cohen on his show to defend himself against accusations that he made a secret trip to Prague — a trip that allegedly confirms part of the Steele dossier. But Hannity didn’t disclose to his audience that his relationship with Cohen goes beyond friendship.
On the April 16 edition of his show, Hannity tried to downplay his relationship with Cohen.
“For hours and hours, the media has been absolutely apoplectic and hyperventilating over some breaking news that I was listed in court today as a client for longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen,” he said.
When his own guest, lawyer Alan Dershowitz, lectured Hannity for not disclosing his ties to Cohen, Hannity wasn’t having any of it. “If you understand the nature of it, professor … I have the right to privacy. … It was such a minor relationship.”
Hannity claimed that he’d never paid Cohen and had only “occasional brief conversations” with him “about legal questions” and “input and perspective.” This contradicted his earlier claim that he had in fact paid Cohen because he “definitely wanted attorney-client privilege,” He added that his discussions with Cohen “never rose to any level that I needed to tell anyone that I was asking him questions.”
But as the folks at Media Matters point out, back in 2015, Hannity didn’t have such a dismissive view of media figures failing to disclose their ties to political figures. When the Washington Free Beacon reported that ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos had donated to the Clinton Foundation without disclosing it to his viewers, Hannity lost it.
“A major scandal developing tonight surrounding ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos who was forced to apologize earlier today over a huge conflict of interest after it was revealed that he donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation from 2012 to 2014,” Hannity said at the opening of his May 14, 2015 show.
Media Matters put together a video contrasting Hannity’s views on disclosure from then until now.
Featured image via screen grab