MSNBC’s national-affairs analyst John Heilemann on Friday pulled no punches as he tore into Fox News, which he accused of “destroying the country” during a panel discussion about its prime-time host Sean Hannity.
Hannity on Thursday had stoked anger when he hypocritically described House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reported desire to see President Donald Trump “in prison” rather than being impeached as “beyond despicable behavior.”
Hannity conveniently failed to mention, however, how Trump often encourages supporters at rallies to chant “Lock her up!” about his 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
On Friday’s broadcast of “Deadline: White House” with Nicolle Wallace, Heilemann said he yields “to no one in my tendency to call bullshit on people at Fox News when they lie, and so, obviously, Sean’s full of it, right?”
He acknowledged the hypocrisy on display with Hannity’s comments, but said it was really about the widely watched conservative network’s “relentless, disciplined, aggressive pursuit of a business model.”
“The business model of Fox News is to create an alternative reality that is destroying the country,” he claimed, noting how Fox had “created a world where there are tens of millions of people who think Hillary Clinton is a criminal.”
“Sean’s not crazy. He gets what he’s doing,” said Heilemann. “That’s his business model. And I think to be clear-eyed about it is to understand what they are doing.”
Part of the political reality that Pelosi is currently confronting is one “created by Sean Hannity and his business model built on lies and fantasy and hypocrisy and bullshit,” he added.
Wallace, who also used the term “bullshit” during the discussion, apologized to viewers at the end of the segment. “I’m a mommy, and if my 7-year-old had used the language John and I used, I would make him wash his mouth out with soap,” she said. “So John and I are heading to the little girls’ room and little boys’ room after the show to do just that.”
Heilemann, who also produced and starred in Showtime’s “The Circus,” last year called Trump “the first Puerto Rican truther” after the president denied that thousands of people had died on the island, a U.S. territory, following 2017′s Hurricane Maria.
Check out Heilemann’s comments from the 8:30 mark above.
This story has been updated with additional comments from Wallace.