Fox News’s Sean Hannity speaks with White House press secretary Sean Spicer in the White House in January. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Media critic

Fox News host Sean Hannity in May lashed out about an effort by people on the left to “silence” him after he was busted pushing a harmful conspiracy theory. “That is what we have called on this program as liberal fascism. Attack, boycott, all in an effort to silence conservatives. I serve at the pleasure of the Fox News Channel. I’m here to do my job every night,” Hannity said on his eponymous program.

Now the Fox News firebrand is flirting with a scenario in which he ends up silencing himself, via pure madness.

On his Tuesday night program, Hannity came forth with more froth: “A soft coup is under way right here in the United States of America in an attempt to overturn November’s election results and forcibly remove a duly elected president from office,” he said, not explaining how a “soft” coup ends in forcible removal. “Sinister forces quickly aligning in what is becoming now, in my mind, a clear and present danger.”

This “clear and present danger” is coming from a lot of paper pushers. Let Hannity riff:

One, you’ve got the destroy Trump media that has been lying to you now — provable lies for 11 months nonstop — Trump-Russia collusion. Black helicopter theories, no evidence whatsoever.

Two, you’ve got what I’ve been calling the “deep state” selectively leaking information to damage the president and anyone associated with him.

Three, special counsel [Robert] Mueller’s investigation mission creep, I’ve been telling you about. Well, it’s now turned into an out-of-control…political witch hunt. It needs to be stopped.

Four, all this manufactured turmoil putting President Trump’s agenda in jeopardy, which ends up directly impacting every one of you out there, the American people.

And five, this effort to override the will of the American people, change the results of a presidential election is now creating a national security crisis.

For the sake of rebuttal, Mueller was appointed by President Trump’s very own Justice Department; yes, folks positioned deep within the national security apparatus have leaked numerous stories about Trump and his associates, including the dead-on accurate stories about the activities of short-lived national security adviser Michael Flynn and his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak; Trump’s Twitter feed has produced precisely 99 percent of the “manufactured turmoil” in Washington over the past five months; could Hannity please provide some more detail on this effort to “change the results of a presidential election”?

And consider: Not so long ago, conspiracist Alex Jones said, “The Democrats are never going to get off the offense. They’re the ones through their surrogates saying, ‘Kill the president, kill us, overthrow everyone.’ They’re at war with us, they’re funding the cop-killing groups, they’re funding all the social-distortion garbage. They’re a clear and present danger running around inside our country.”

In fairness to Hannity and Jones, “clear and present danger” is a cool phrase.

This particular Hannity conspiracy, moreover, reaches its high point as the host calls on Robert S. Mueller III to “end this witch hunt right now.” The problem, says Hannity, is that Mueller’s relationship with James B. Comey, the FBI director fired by Trump. “He’s best friends with James Comey. The two have been best friends for a long time. And who do you think Mueller is going to side with when it comes to the president and his word versus James Comey’s word? That’s pretty obvious, pretty unfair,” said Hannity.

There’s more, too much more. Including: “This is now reaching a point of no return. It’s beyond serious,” he said, as this screen played in the background:


(Screen shot)

After he was finished explaining things, Hannity welcomed Monica Crowley, a commentator who nearly joined the Trump administration but got mired in plagiarism charges. Summing up Hannity’s argument, Crowley said of Trump, “He is facing an unholy alliance between the left, the establishment on both sides, the media, the permanent federal bureaucracy, the deep state and the international community!” That’s some coalition.

Way back when, Hannity made a decision to ride with Trump, as opposed to merely sticking up for conservative principles. At each turn, he has decided to ignore or play down proven drawbacks and faults in his modern-day political hero. The progression has forced him to fall back on crazier and crazier rationales to justify his support for the president. We’ve seen this form of mania on CNN, too, where Trumpite Jeffrey Lord spins some wild presidential defenses. Lord, however, is a CNN contributor; Sean Hannity is among the faces of Fox News, and he’s running out of scare words.