Hannity rips NY Times: ‘Maliciously’ twisted my words and ‘exploited’ a man’s death to smear me

Fox News host Sean Hannity unloaded on The New York Times in a scathing on-air rebuke over a column about a viewer who recently died.

Hannity slammed the liberal paper and the writer who “exploited a man’s tragic death” and essentially seemed to connect it to the Fox News host’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, leveling a fiery dressing down during a lengthy monologue on his show Monday.


(Source: Fox News)

“We just witnessed more blatant, malicious deceptions, smears, lies, besmirchment from the mob in the media,” Hannity began, pointing to a column in The New York Times over the weekend which was headlined, “A Beloved Bar Owner Was Skeptical About the Virus. Then He Took a Cruise.”

Ginia Bellafante, who wrote the piece, connected the death of Brooklyn bar owner, Joe Joyce, to Hannity’s coverage of the pandemic. Joyce, a Fox News viewer, went on a cruise to Spain back in early March despite his family’s warnings about the virus outbreak. Shortly after his return, he was sick with COVID-19 and died on April 9.

Hannity blasted Bellafante who “pretty much all but accused yours truly of murder.”

The article used comments made by Hannity that appeared to downplay the virus, implying that Joyce then thought it was safe to travel. But the comments referred to in the article were made by Hannity more than a week after Joyce and his wife had left for Spain.

“In order to smear yours truly, they literally — this woman exploited a man’s tragic death. She willingly, maliciously, purposefully, took something I said completely out of context,” Hannity said, calling it out as “slander” and “libel.”

“Politicizing a tragedy, this New York Times so-called writer, reporter, whatever she is, has added to the pain and suffering of a family that deserves better. This was all done to vilify this program and this channel,” he added.

He even pointed out a tweet by Bellafante herself back in February when she said, “I fundamentally don’t understand the panic: incidence of the disease is declining in China. Virus is not deadly in vast majority of cases.”

Even the writer’s own timeline of events in the article seemed to cast doubts on her initial premise.

“On March 14, they returned to New York from Barcelona, and the next day, before bars and restaurants were forced to close in the city, Joe Joyce went to work at JJ Bubbles for the last time. He and his wife then headed to their house in New Hampshire,” Bellafante wrote.

“On April 9, he died of Covid-19. The following day, Artie Nelson, one of his longtime bartenders at JJ Bubbles, and also in his 70s, died of the virus as well. It is possible, of course, that Joe Joyce did not contract the coronavirus on a trip to Spain. . . . Although the combination of being on a cruise ship — a proven petri dish for infections — and visiting a country with a full-blown outbreak is hard to ignore,” she added.

Hannity lambasted The Times and the “so-called journalists who work there” who “are not interested in the truth.”

“That is a fact. Instead, they care about bludgeoning enemies. For them, enemy number one is not me, that would be President Trump,” he said. “Enemy number two is anybody and everybody, including voters that support President Trump.”

And Hannity is right that the outrageous smears are not limited to just The New York Times.

A University of Chicago study actually claimed “Greater viewership of ‘Hannity’ relative to ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ is strongly associated with a greater number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the early stages of the pandemic.”

“We find that Hannity’s viewers on average changed their behavior in response to the coronavirus five days later than other Fox News viewers, while Carlson’s viewers changed behavior three days earlier than other Fox News viewers,” the new study, released Sunday, reported.

“The selective cherry-picked clips of Sean Hannity’s coverage used in this study are not only reckless and irresponsible, but downright factually wrong,” a Fox News spokesperson told the Chicago Tribune, calling the paper a “reckless disregard for the truth.”

The editorial board of the New York Post also slammed The Times for the Hannity hit piece, calling them out in a post titled, “No, NY Times — Fox News didn’t kill Joe Joyce”

“The New York Times has done some shameless things in its past, but exploiting a man’s death to serve its agenda has to be among its worst,” the editors wrote, adding that though “it’s not just the Times out to get Trump,” but “the paper’s hypocrisy in doing so in this case couldn’t be clearer.”

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Frieda Powers

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