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Opinion | Sean Hannity texts Mark Meadows to assist on Election Day


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CNN has released a new round of text messages from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’s phone relating to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Among the communications are a series of messages between Meadows and Fox News host Sean Hannity on Election Day 2020, showing not only that the former chief of staff was dictating Hannity’s content, but also that the latter was writing in to seek his marching orders.

The topic was getting out the vote: “Stress every vote matters. Get out and vote,” wrote Meadows. “Yes sir,” Hannity responded. The full exchange conveys the sense of urgency that the White House felt as Donald Trump faced off against Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Nov. 3, 2020. And it carries an informality hinting at just how frequently such exchanges occur. Via CNN:

Sean Hannity to Mark Meadows

Hey

Sean Hannity to Mark Meadows

NC gonna be ok?

Mark Meadows to Sean Hannity

Stress every vote matters. Get out and vote

Mark Meadows to Sean Hannity

On radio

Sean Hannity to Mark Meadows

Yes sir

Sean Hannity to Mark Meadows

On it. Any place in particular we need a push

Mark Meadows to Sean Hannity

Pennsylvania. NC AZ

Mark Meadows to Sean Hannity

Nevada

Sean Hannity to Mark Meadows

Got it. Everywhere

“On it” tells you all you need to know. As The Post’s Philip Bump notes, Hannity’s radio commentary that day on his afternoon drive-time show echoed Meadows’s directives. Pennsylvania, Arizona and North Carolina received the most mentions on the show.

If only all of Hannity’s corrupt shilling for Trump world were this benign and civically responsible.

Imploring people to get out and vote, after all, is patriotic activity practiced by partisans, nonpartisans, good-government groups, educators, parents and everyday good citizens. It just so happens, however, that taking that message from a White House official and targeting states according to his political calculations shift Hannity’s exhortations into the realm of political propaganda — a familiar arena for him.

“Let’s be clear, that is not normal,” said CNN host Dana Bash on Monday. “That is not normal for people who don’t know how we communicate. It is not normal for somebody who works for a purported news organization, despite the fact that he is clearly not a journalist and doesn’t even really purport to be. That’s not okay.”

Strong point, though when journalists’ private messages with sources get exposed — either via hacking or court proceedings — they often look “icky”: reporters buttering up sources, sharing drafts and so on. But those activities fall far short of Hannity’s misconduct.

When authorities probe Trump-era malfeasance, they commonly wind up with Hannity’s communications. The host’s texts with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, for example, laid bare his critical role as fixer and consoler in chief for Trump associates. “Look. U call me if u get down,” Hannity wrote to Manafort in communications produced as part of a federal investigation of Manafort. “Need a friend. If I can help. Anytime day/night. I’m praying for u and u family. U stay strong.” The New York Times suggested that Hannity could have helped to coordinate messaging between Trump and Manfort. The host tweeted a defense of his Manafort texts: “My view of the Special Counsel investigation and the treatment of Paul Manafort were made clear every day to anyone who listens to my radio show or watches my TV show.”

The Election Day texts aren’t the first Hannity-Meadows messages to come to light. Last December, the House Jan. 6 select committee revealed another set of texts between them on the day of the riots. “Can he make a statement, ask people to leave the Capitol?” texted Hannity, requesting that Trump take some action amid the chaos. That message, along with others from Fox News personalities, suggested that these folks realized the horror of Jan. 6 as it was unfolding, yet attempted to play down as time wore on.

Texts obtained by the committee from the phone of former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also show the Fox News host in a panic after the riots. “1- no more stolen election talk,” Hannity wrote, “2- Yes, impeachment and the 25th amendment are real and many people will quit.”

McEnany replied, “Love that. Thank you. That is the playbook. I will help reinforce.”

Based on the text traffic, it’s tough to pinpoint Hannity’s precise location in the Trump hierarchy. He was once referred to as the “shadow chief of staff,” though he’s also willing to take instruction and he does a great job of implementing directives. He’s passionate and generous with his time. Overall, a model employee — just not of any organization claiming to provide “news.”



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Written by Politixia

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