CNN’s Brian Stelter Calls Hannity “Unpatriotic” For Spreading Trump’s Rigged Election Baloney

The media critic delivered an essay on Sunday's broadcast of 'Reliable Sources' taking conservative media to task for boosting Trump's dangerous claims.
brian stelter hannity

During Sunday’s broadcast of CNN’s Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter unleashed a torrent of fair and accurate media criticism on Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. Stelter took both to task for enabling and boosting Donald Trump’s dangerous and fact-free claims that the upcoming general election will be rigged. As the media critic pointed out, even if a journalist or cable news host publicly favors a politician, they should still challenge assertions made by that figure rather than parrot them. Especially when there is doubt behind the claims.

Stelter started off his video essay by highlighting Trump’s recent warnings that the election system is rigged and that the results will be unfair to him. He noted that experts have called Trump’s claims preposterous and President Obama has said that it is ridiculous. However, for Republicans, the media sources they trust most are “helping Trump spread doubts without a shred of evidence.”

Prior to playing a clip from a recent Trump interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Stelter said “let me show you how not to interview a candidate about something as serious as this.” The clip showed Hannity asking the GOP nominee to explain why he feels the election will be rigged and allows Trump to uncritically spout out some nonsense that Sean never bothers to follow up on.

In response to Hannity’s interviewing style, Stelter smacked the Fox host on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.

“That’s it? If there were ever a time to extend an interview to challenge a candidate, that was the time. Don’t feed me baloney about Hannity’s show being only an hour long and that he might have ran out of time. This interview was on tape. The producers should have kept it going. Hannity should have asked more questions. Interviewers, even the ones that support the person they’re are interviewing, have an obligation to probe further and push back when a candidate says something dangerous and this is dangerous. Suggesting an election is going to be stolen? This is third-world dictatorship stuff.

Now, maybe Trump’s just making excuses for an eventual loss. But here’s where the media’s role comes in. Journalists cannot just play these sound bites, quote these claims, and then move on to the next subject. We can’t just let it seep into the discourse like it’s normal. We have to stop and fact-check and contextualize.”

But he wasn’t done. He also let Hannity and O’Reilly have it regarding their backing of Trump’s assertion that the 2012 election was stolen from Mitt Romney. After O’Reilly let Trump make those claims without pressing him on any of it, Hannity “picked up the ball and ran with it blindly.” Stelter shows another clip, this time of Hannity interviewing Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich, in which the conservative pundit goes full tin-foil hat about the 2102 election, bringing up the fact that precincts in inner-city Philly and Cleveland showed no votes going for Romney.

At the end of the Hannity clip, Sean remarks that maybe he’s being conspiratorial. Once again, Stelter laid waste to Hannity.

“OK, let’s pause it right there. Yes Hannity, you are being conspiratorial. A Google search would show that there are also precincts in other states, like in Utah, where Obama did not get a single vote. Hannity is not a journalist, but he has a megaphone, and he’s using his megaphone irresponsibly. If a Democratic candidate were saying this stuff, saying the election could be rigged, then every word of this essay would apply to him or her. But right now it’s the Republican candidate for president who is trying to delegitimize our democratic process without proof. It is unpatriotic for any interviewer or any journalist to help him.”

What’s awesome is how Stelter called Hannity and O’Reilly unpatriotic for helping Trump raise doubts about the country’s democratic process and system. He knows damn well that that shit stings.

Hilariously, Hannity tried to hit back at Stelter on Twitter. But all he really did is expose the fact that he didn’t watch the essay, or at the very least, pay attention to a word that Stelter uttered.



Stelter helpfully pointed out that he did answer Sean’s conspiracy claims in the piece and it would have been helpful if Sean watched before replying on Twitter.



“Do u prep?” indeed.

Below is video of the segment:

Justin Baragona is the editor and publisher of Contemptor. Prior to starting the site, he worked on the editorial staff of PoliticusUSA. During that time, he had his work quoted by USA Today and BBC News, among others. Justin began his published career as a political writer for 411Mania. He currently resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife and pets.
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