Sean Hannity has been around long enough in the national news media that his voice has a platform few can claim — some would argue that the popularity of his network, Fox News, puts him in an echelon of exposure that not many have ever enjoyed, in fact.
But as Spider Man’s Uncle Ben might say, “With great power comes great responsibility.” That kind of media influence is certainly a form of power, whether Hannity chooses to use it for good or for evil. And although some might argue against using the term “evil” to describe Hannity’s propagandistic style of news coverage, it can hardly be argued that he does his show for the greater good.
That’s what led to media watchdog group Media Matters For America labeling the Fox host as one of the premier sources of misleading, erroneous, and sometimes deliberately incorrect information about the global coronavirus pandemic that we find ourselves in the middle of — or at least we hope we’ve reached the middle, at any rate.
The narrative from the right has shifted, of course, regarding the COVID-19 crisis: While they now claim they never underplayed the threat, there is plenty of footage of various figures from lowly radio hosts all the way to the president himself claiming that the coronavirus was no more of a danger than the common flu. And leading that narrative more effectively than anyone else — largely due to that outsized media influence of his — was none other than Sean Hannity.
In fact, his influence can be seen in a series of polls outlined by MMFA that is both startling and terrifying:
71 percent of respondents with a “conservative news diet” featuring only sources like Fox said the media was giving the virus too much attention, according to one survey.
38 percent of people who mostly watch Fox News said they were worried about coronavirus, compared to more than 70 percent of those who pay the most attention to CNN or MSNBC, according to another poll.
79 percent of respondents who primarily relied on Fox News said the media has exaggerated the risk of the pandemic, says the Pew Research Center.
72 percent of Fox News-watching respondents said the media and Democrats had hyped the coronavirus specifically to damage Trump’s presidency in yet another poll.
It was Hannity who was on the leading edge of all of this misinformation, and there’s literally no telling how many lives may have been or will be lost due to his lying and invective against non-opinion news networks and the political opposition.
Featured image via screen capture
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