Sean Hannity Is Kind of in Trouble With Fox News (But Not Really) For Appearing in a Trump Ad

Screenshot via YouTube/Donald J. Trump for President
Screenshot via YouTube/Donald J. Trump for President

Fox News host and varsity-level shouter Sean Hannity appeared recently in a campaign ad for Donald Trump. Fox News says they didn’t know about that, and Hannity won’t appear in any more ads, but the network is refusing to disclose whether he’ll be disciplined.

In the eight minute online video, titled “#Heartland4Trump,” Hannity rhapsodizes for 30 seconds or so about what a wonderful president Trump will be:

A transcript of Hannity’s portion:

One of the reasons I’m supporting Donald Trump this year is number one, he’s going to put originalists on the Supreme Court, people that believe in fidelity to the Constitution, separation of powers, co-equal branches of government. He’s a guy that will vet refugees to keep Americans safe. And of course he’s gonna build that wall. He says he’s gonna have Mexico pay for it. That’s fine, as long as we secure the country and of course we don’t want people competing for jobs. He said he will eliminate Obamacare, make us energy-independent. And as somebody who’s been a marksman since I’m 11 years old, protecting our Second Amendment rights are paramount to me.


The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple was first to report on Hannity’s cameo and how ethically curious it is, even for a network that functions as a full-time propaganda arm for the Trump campaign.

In a statement to Politico, a Fox News rep said, oh, well, we didn’t know about that but he won’t do that stuff anymore:

“We were not aware of Sean Hannity participating in a promotional video and he will not be doing anything along these lines for the remainder of the election season,” the spokesperson said in a statement to POLITICO.

The network hasn’t disclosed whether he’ll face any kind of discipline, but the answer is nah.

Fox News is currently engaged in a protracted lawsuit with another former host, Andrea Tantaros, who says she was pushed off the air after complaining about sexual harassment. Fox says she was actually suspended for publishing an “unauthorized” book. That would presumably mean that stumping for a candidate is also not OK, but nobody really expects logical consistency from these folks.


The permeable line between the Trump campaign and the media extends the other way; former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is still working for CNN as a commentator, and still being paid by the Trump campaign. Campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks insists those are ongoing severance payments and nothing is fishy here:


Hannity, meanwhile, is continuing his work as usual:

Anna Merlan was a Senior Reporter at G/O Media until September 2019. She's the author of Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power.

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I love this “Trump will put originalists on the Supreme court” argument that keeps getting trotted out. It’s amazing that people seem to think that Trump, who has never made a commitment he intended to honor, is suddenly going to stand on principle when it comes to nominating justices. Trump will nominate whomever is willing to destroy the parts of the Constitution that he finds irritating at a given moment in time. Want to ban Muslims from entering the US? Nominate Pam Geller! Want to punish journalists for reporting things Trump doesn’t like? Nominate Peter Thiels! Want to end birthright citizenship? Nominate Lou Dobbs! Want to declare a Trump monarchy? Nominate Ivanka!