In case you needed a reminder that Sean Hannity isn’t a journalist so much as a GOP operative with a talk show, look to the texts he was sending Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows between the 2020 election and Joe Biden’s inauguration.
On Friday, CNN published a new report spotlighting texts that depict the two men talking strategy on how to help Trump win the election, hyping each other up to overthrow democracy, affirming their friendship, and—when it became clear that Trump would probably have to leave office—discussing a joint North Carolina real estate venture.
Consider the following exchange on election day:
Meadows: “Stress every vote matters. Get out and vote. On radio.”
Hannity: “Yes sir. On it. Any place in particular we need a push.”
Meadows: “Pennsylvania. NC AZ. Nevada.”
Hannity: “Got it. Everywhere.”
The texts illustrate that Hannity initially seemed to believe Trump’s lies that massive election fraud secured Biden’s victory.
On November 29, Hannity wrote: “I’ve had my team digging into the numbers. There is no way Biden got these numbers. Just mathematically impossible. It’s so sad for this country they can pull this off in 2020. We need a major breakthrough, a video, something.”
However, he later seemed to sour on the effort. Although Hannity never acknowledged that evidence of election fraud was, shall we say, lacking, he eventually texted Meadows that he was “fed up” with the “f’ing lunatics” hurting the MAGA cause.
None of this should be all that surprising to anybody who’s watched a few minutes of Hannity’s show or paid attention to the various news reports claiming that the host had served as a “shadow chief of staff” and Trump confidant, who frequently engaged the president in late-night gossip sessions. But it does confirm (again) that the talk show host is essentially a Trump press secretary with a highly rated TV and radio show.
Hannity hasn’t addressed the texts directly. But shortly after CNN’s report published, he laid down the same get-out-of-jail-free card he plays whenever he’s caught doing something that most people would consider a shocking breach of journalistic ethics: claiming that he’s a “talk show host” and not a journalist.
“I go out of my way to explain what my job is, because a lot of people in the media mob do not understand what we do,” Hannity said on his Friday broadcast. “Yes, I’m a member of the press… I’m on the Fox News Channel—which is a news channel—but I don’t claim to be a journalist.”