A couple of days ago, I posted on Sean Hannity’s rather curious relationship with Donald Trump. One that enables — that word was chosen deliberately — Trump to be interviewed some 41 times by Sean Hannity and never, not once, get a newsworthy utterance. Hannity was not amused with us. We continued to be not amused with him.
Now it seems that we can reset the counter to zero because finally Sean Hannity has conducted an interview related to Donald Trump’s campaign that made news. That watershed event comes via the Washington Post, and a story titled Corey Lewandowski’s interview with Sean Hannity was a total joke. For the record, this is from the Washington Post, not Think Progress.
To review the story, at a Donald Trump rally in Florida, diminutive thuglet and Donald Trump campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski assaulted a reporter named Michelle Fields who then worked for the news outlet known as Trumpbart. The assault is not a subject of speculation. It was captured on video. Michelle Fields was injured. Corey Lewandowski was CHARGED with assault, ARRESTED and BOOKED. The event happened. There is no doubt about it.
“After reviewing the video recording, there is no reasonable doubt that Mr. Lewandowski pulled Ms. Fields back as she was attempting to interview Mr. Trump,” state attorney David Aronberg wrote in his decision not to pursue criminal prosecution, which was later obtained by the Washington Examiner.
While Aronberg acknowledges that Lewandowski did in fact grab the forearm of ex-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields at a press conference at Trump’s golf course in Jupiter, Fla., last month, he claims not enough evidence exists to prosecute Lewandowski for criminal battery.
Donald Trump called the prosecutor and somehow the charge was made to go away.
During a press conference Thursday, Aronberg told reporters that Trump personally called his office and spoke with several employees, who he urged to “do the right thing.”
Lewandowski was neither “cleared” nor “exonerated”. He was simply not prosecuted because the case was not guaranteed of a win. It is called nolle prosequi and the prosecutor may reinstate the charges at any time.
Back to the news-making article:
Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who pulled out of an interview on Fox News Channel two weeks ago, finally submitted to questioning on the cable network on Thursday — the day a battery charge against him was dropped. And after all that waiting, the interview was farce.
Sean Hannity devoted the first half of a 10-minute sit-down to the March 8 incident in which Lewandowski grabbed reporter Michelle Fields by the arm after a primary-night news conference in Florida. But he neglected to press for an explanation of the Trump campaign’s original denial of any contact or of Lewandowski’s efforts to smear Fields’s reputation. And he allowed the manager to get away with more false statements.
Hannity lets Lewandowski get away with claiming Fields did not reach out to him over the incident when he has told Megyn Kelly that she did.
Hannity doesn’t mention that Fields was willing to let it go for an apology, which was promised to her, then the Trump campaign reneged on the agreement and attacked her.
Hannity lets Lewandowski get away with both claiming he doesn’t remember the event AND describing the event in the same interview.
Hannity says, “The tape shows that he might have touched her.” The tape AND the Jupiter, FL prosecutor confirm that he not only touched Fields, he manhandled her.
Hannity says, “Some have speculated there might be some type of defamation lawsuit.” Fields has said she plans on suing Lewandowski AND she has engaged in a publicize Twitter-spat with Fox’s resident Scientologist, Greta van Susteren, over the action. Van Susteren has, naturally, encouraged her to shut up about it.
The sad thing is that the facts here are not even in dispute. But, despite the video evidence, despite the on-the-record statement by the prosecutor, Hannity defends Lewandowski and acts as an enabler, letting Lewandowski insinuate several times that Michelle Fields is a liar. Hannity was covering for Trump’s campaign on an incident that should appall anyone with a sense of decency. (Were an actual human male running for nomination instead of Donald Trump he would have sacked Lewandowski.) He shamelessly whitewashed a shameful incident. But we can no longer say his interviews don’t make news.
When under scrutiny for his non-challenging coverage of Trump, Hannity had this to say:
I’ll be honest, I’m not sitting here — If I’m interviewing Hillary Clinton, it’s gonna be a hundred times harder than any Republican, because I believe the Republicans represent, and have a far better vision, one that I agree with, I just have less disagreement with them. I’m not a journalist, I’m a talk show host. I can’t think of any question that has come up, that I have wanted to ask these candidates, that was relevant to ask these candidates, that I haven’t asked them. I’ve asked them everything.
We’ve just expanded the scope of that agreement from politics to how gentlemen should treat ladies and women.
But now I realize that Donald Trump was not kidding:
“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
He certainly would not lose Sean Hannity.