Nearly a week after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot, Paul D. Ryan, former speaker of the House and board member of Fox Corp., emailed Rupert Murdoch an article from conservative site the Dispatch: “The Alternate Reality Machine,” about how Fox News and other outlets propagated misinformation about the riot. Murdoch responded, “Wake-up call for Hannity, who has been privately disgusted by Trump for weeks, but was scared to lose viewers!”
The intrepid-appearing Hannity? Scared?
What this means, in effect, is that night after night in the weeks following the November 2020 election, Hannity was faking it. Effectively, too: In December 2020, the Erik Wemple Blog compiled an A-to-Z guide of all the election-denial boosterism that Hannity aired during this period. It was voluminous, often incorporating input from then-White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who would later join the network as a commentator.
We know from the filings that people at Fox News lied about the facts; they knew that the stolen-election claims were bunk but kept circulating them anyway. Murdoch’s disclosure suggests another level of dishonesty, however — that the network also betrayed a gut feeling about Trump. Again, just for audience retention.