Fox News Calls Sean Hannity’s Appearance with President Trump at GOP Rally in Missouri ‘An Unfortunate Distraction’
Fox News’ former slogan “fair and balanced” (which it dropped in 2017) has long been the butt of jokes among the far-right cable news outlet’s critics and detractors—and Fox News’ Sean Hannity wasn’t exactly going for “balance” or objectivity when he appeared with President Donald Trump at a GOP rally in Missouri on November 5 (the day before the 2018 midterms). But Fox News addressed the incident on Election Day, calling it “an unfortunate distraction.”
After Trump called Hannity to the stage at the rally, the long-time Fox News host and unapologetic Trump supporter told the Republican crowd that reporters covering the event “are fake news.”
Hannity was not the only member of the right-wing media who joined Trump at the rally. Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro appeared onstage with the president as well, as did veteran talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.
In an official statement, Fox News said, “Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events. We have an extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight, and we are extremely proud of their work. This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.”
In an Election Day Twitter post, Hannity insisted that he hadn’t planned to speak at last night’s event in Missouri. Hannity posted, “When the POTUS invited me on stage to give a few remarks last night, I was surprised, yet honored by the president’s request. This was NOT planned.”
In another tweet, Hannity asserted, “And to be clear, I was not referring to my journalist colleagues at FOX News in those remarks. They do amazing work day in and day out in a fair and balanced way, and it is an honor to work with such great professionals.”
MSNBC and NBC News’ Dylan Byers (formerly of CNN) found Fox News’ claim that it “does not condone any talent participating in campaign events” to be laughable, posting on Twitter, “Respectfully, @seanhannity has been effectively campaigning for Trump for over a year on a much bigger platform than the stage at last night’s rally.”