Fox News Wants to Keep Sean Hannity Despite Conspiracy-Theory Controversy
Sean Hannity has been one of Fox News Channel’s most popular personalities, throwing red meat daily to the cable network’s core red-state viewers by talking up issues of interest to conservatives. If he were to leave, the network would likely get the blues.
Hannity is no stranger to controversy – he has sparred with former colleague Megyn Kelly and CNN media reporter Brian Stelter, to name a few – but he is at the center of a new one that has sparked a few defections from his show by a handful of advertisers as well as speculation over whether he might return from a Memorial Day weekend vacation that began after his broadcast last night.
“Like the rest of the country, Sean Hannity is taking a vacation for Memorial Day weekend and will be back on Tuesday,” the 21st Century Fox-owned network said in a statement Friday. “Those who suggest otherwise are going to look foolish.” Hannity used Twitter last night to weight in on the issue: “Uh oh My ANNUAL Memorial Day long weekend starts NOW,” he wrote. “Destroy Trump/Conservative media breathless coverage starts! Did Hannity do last show?”
At issue is a furor that started to swirl around Hannity’s recent promotion of a conspiracy theory about the death last summer of Seth Rich, a DNC staffer who was murdered in Washington, D.C. last July in what local police have stated they believe is a botched robbery. Hannity has in recent days promoted an unproven notion that Rich was killed in exchange for providing internal documents to Wikileaks, prompting statements of outrage from the Rich family.
On Tuesday, Fox News said it had retracted a story, published on FoxNews.com, about Rich’s murder – believed to mark a rare instance of the news outlet has withdrawing an article in its more than 20-year history. The killing remains unsolved and right-leaning press outlets such as Breitbart and The Drudge Report have in posts and links bolstered the conspiracy. Hannity continued to promote the theory about Rich on his Tuesday radio show, noting that “this issue is so big now that the entire Russia collusion narrative is hanging by a thread.”
But on his Fox News broadcast Tuesday night, Hannity appeared to back away from the contretemps. “Out of respect…