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Sean Hannity melts down over report that Russian state-run media uses his segments

In a Twitter meltdown Monday, the Fox News pundit couldn't handle his new fame in Russia.

Sean Hannity had a meltdown on Twitter on Monday. CREDIT: YOUTUBE
Sean Hannity had a meltdown on Twitter on Monday. CREDIT: YOUTUBE

It’s been a rough week for Fox News’ Sean Hannity. First, special counsel Robert Mueller’s report showed the lengths to which President Donald Trump went to try to obstruct investigations into his campaign’s ties to Russian election meddling. Then, as The Daily Beast reported, Russian state-run media outlets used Hannity to downplay connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, repackaging Hannity’s defense of Trump’s attempted collusion for their own audiences.

The news that Russian state media was suddenly a huge fan of Hannity’s show apparently struck a nerve with the Fox News host, and he tried to defend himself by rattling off an incoherent list of far-right conspiracy theorists’ most triggering buzzwords.

In a 13-tweet screed on Monday, Hannity complained that other outlets hadn’t cited his previous criticisms of the Kremlin, claiming the recent coverage was “Fake news,” and that certain American outlets “are no better than Russian propaganda outlets — perhaps even worse.”

Hannity veered into completely unrelated topics — including, for some reason, Jussie Smollett — covering what he called the “wreckage and carnage” left by the “Media Mob.”

Hannity promised a “full response this week” on his show, but given the wide range of topics in his tweets, it’s unclear what exactly he’ll be responding to.

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As it is, Hannity might want to take a long look in the mirror regarding his own coverage of Russian interference. Hannity’s most notorious and reprehensible coverage of the investigations centered on Seth Rich, a 27-year-old former DNC staffer killed in 2016. Hannity pushed the baseless claim that Rich’s death might have been part of a larger conspiracy to conceal the fact that Rich was supposedly an internal leaker sending stolen emails to outlets like WikiLeaks.

Hannity wasn’t the first to push the notion that Rich was an internal leaker, but his coverage effectively poured fuel on the conspiracy theory, and the idea was picked up and promoted by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange himself.

But as Mueller’s report found, and U.S. law enforcement agencies have long known, Russian hackers swiped the emails. While Hannity isn’t mentioned in Mueller’s report, Mueller noted that Assange “implied falsely that [Rich] had been the source of the stolen DNC emails.”

Along the way, though, Hannity’s coverage caused additional anguish for Rich’s family, who eventually sued Fox News for its broader coverage of Rich’s death. (The lawsuit was dismissed last August.) While Hannity later said he felt “so badly” for Rich’s family, he added that he “retracted nothing.”

Now, with Mueller’s report going into granular detail of Russia’s email theft, Hannity has another chance to apologize for fanning the flames of the conspiracies surrounding Rich’s death — to say nothing of finally addressing Trump’s handling of the investigations into his campaign’s links to Russia, or why Russian propaganda outlets may look to him for guidance moving forward. Unfortunately, given his outburst on Twitter on Monday, Hannity doesn’t appear to be inclined toward introspection. If anything, he’s previewed a response that will provide Russian propaganda outlets much more fodder.