Sean Hannity Defends Fox News After Journalism Professors Publish Critical Letter About Coronavirus Coverage

On Thursday, 74 journalism professors wrote an open letter to Fox Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch and CEO Lachlan Murdoch claiming that coverage of the coronavirus from the company's Fox News Channel "is a danger to public health."

The professors cite the results of a YouGov/Economist poll that indicates "Americans who pay the most attention to Fox News are much less likely than others to say they are worried about the coronavirus," according to their letter.

The letter says that "as the virus spread across the world, Fox News hosts and guests minimized the dangers, accusing Democrats and the media of inflating the dangers (in Sean Hannity's words) to 'bludgeon Trump with this hew hoax.'"

While the Murdochs were unavailable to respond to the letter, Hannity spoke to Newsweek about the accusations levied against him and the network.

Sean Hannity Fox News
Sean Hannity covering the COVID-19 crisis Screen shot courtesy of Fox News

You read the letter?

Yes. Here's my thoughts: Moments like this bring out the best in some, and the absolute worst in others. I spent 30 minutes on my radio show today about the public-private partnerships, like with pharmaceuticals, Walmart, Target, Walgreens. We're told pharmaceutical companies are evil. They're not. We're told to hate Walmart, I love them. They're beating up the poor MyPillow guy, Michael Lindell, for turning over his factory to make masks for people who need them. It's ridiculous.

And what are you saying is an example of the worst?

You saw the worst in Congress when they held up the aid bill. Why? Because they wanted to fund the National Endowment for the Arts and change voting rules, and fund the Kennedy Center. They wasted all that time because they couldn't pass a clean bill. Then there's another example of the worst with the media mob saying they won't cover the president's press conference during a national emergency. Hey, I see the ratings. I used to be No. 1 until Trump's press coronavirus conferences, because people need to hear information for themselves, about medicine, supplies, groceries, the economy.

But the topic at hand is the letter from the professors.

The first known case of coronavirus in the U.S. was January 21. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is a national hero and I'm not criticizing him, said on January 26 that Americans didn't have much to worry about. I have the tape. On January 31, President Trump initiated the travel ban from China and every Democrat in office and every media outlet said it was beyond reprehensible, xenophobic and fear-mongering.

But these professors are saying you're some sort of coronavirus-denier.

Go to my web site and you'll see irrefutable evidence that I have taken this seriously way before most in the media did. I warned in January that it was dangerous because it was highly contagious, but some people were asymptomatic, so it would spread quickly.

So does Fox News violate "elementary canons of journalism" as the professors say in their letter?

They're guilty of what they accuse me of. I said it in 2007: Journalism is dead. Remember how many were wrong about the Duke lacrosse players and Nicholas Sandmann? Everything the media said about them was false. Sandmann is going to be a very wealthy kid because the media will have to pay plenty to settle his lawsuits. You know why? Because they're guilty as hell.

The professors say you accused Democrats and the media of using coronavirus to bludgeon Trump.

Many of them did. We are in the middle of the huge pandemic and where's the Democrat saying, 'You know, I didn't agree with the travel ban at the time, but it was the right decision.' Politics trumps truth in their world.

And they say you called coronavirus a hoax.

It's the same Democrats, media mob and liberal professors who are so lazy they won't even look at what I've said about the virus. They just go with their narrative. I never called it a "hoax." I said it was a hoax for them to be using it as a bludgeon on Trump. And they are. Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi are talking about an investigation. Now? In the middle of a pandemic?

When Trish Regan on the Fox Business Network said Democrats were using coronavirus to attack Trump, she got in trouble for it, didn't she?

I have no idea. I'm responsible for me and I don't talk about other hosts. I wish everybody success in their career.

Have any of your bosses at Fox News told you to change the tone of your reporting and opinion regarding coronavirus?

Absolutely not. And my criticisms of the media and the Democrats who were focused on impeaching the president when he was instituting a travel ban were dead-on accurate.

Should optimism about coronavirus and worries that we're going too far and wrecking the economy and so on be allowed on the air or is it dangerous and irresponsible?

I don't see these professors critical of my competitors saying they won't air parts of the president's daily briefings in the middle of a national emergency. That's sick. The media is so political that they don't like to hear the president describe any successful efforts.

So what's the bottom line on this letter from the journalism professors?

They get an F. They're typical, agenda-driven liberals. Why didn't they call me? I could have informed them there was another side of the story. They're unqualified for the positions they currently have.

They cite a poll that says Fox News viewers are 'much less likely than others to say they are worried about the coronavirus.' Why is that the case, and is it a problem?

I've got the evidence that I've taken it seriously, and I have posted it online, and there's more to come. Maybe my viewers are less scared because I tell them what the president is doing every day, and I have doctors on who express hope for a treatment. Knowledge emboldens people. At CNN and MSNBC, they don't want you to even hear from the president because they hate him so much.