When the news that Elon Musk might be buying Twitter first was revealed, I spoke my mind about it on that very platform, especially since Musk has been spouting similar talking points about free speech as the right-wing extremists, like Sean Hannity, who use the rubric of the First Amendment to justify their propaganda and misinformation.
I still think Elon Musk owning Twitter is a bad idea. He will amplify racists, bigots, and misinformation. He is a bad-faith actor with his distorted views of free speech and censorship.
— David Weissman (@davidmweissman) April 25, 2022
You can imagine my surprise when my tweet went viral and was noticed by Sean Hannity who decided to include it in a rant on his program about the public reaction to Musk’s potential purchase and takeover of the social media platform.
The ironic thing about Hannity’s reaction to my tweet is that the Fox News blowhard regularly pushes misinformation on his show, especially given his enthusiastic support for Trump and his “big lie” about a supposedly stolen election. Sean Hannity was also discovered to have been actively engaging with Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, on how to help overthrow the election. While I understand that Hannity describes himself as an entertainer, not a journalist, does that give him the right to spread the big election lie?
He knows the reality of the situation with Trump, as his texts prove, especially since he expressed disapproval of Trump’s behavior. It is the alternate reality presented by Hannity on his show, not his private texts, that is what is dangerous — primarily because his propaganda about the election being stolen by the Deep State has been encouraging his viewers to do something about the lie; i.e., his words led to an insurrection, led to violence and led to people getting murdered.
We almost lost our Democracy because of this dangerous spread of misinformation. How then can there not be any accountability for the co-conspirators? The fact that Sean Hannity knew that his Fox News/social media message was wrong but reported it anyway is a justifiable reason to call it propaganda.
Sean Hannity was wrong to condemn my tweet on his show. I have every right to demand accountability for those who attack our Democracy and encourage others to demand the same.
Opinion columnist and Army veteran. Former MAGA, now a Biden voter.