Fox News host Sean Hannity was taking orders from the White House even as he ranted about the “lunatics” supporting then-President Donald Trump, according to new details in a trove of text messages revealed by CNN.
The messages were among 2,319 texts Meadows provided last December to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
In some cases, the texts reveal that Hannity functioned as a kind of shadow chief of staff and gave advice to Meadows in the aftermath of the 2020 election. But Meadows also issued specific orders to Hannity to help the Trump administration, morphing Fox News into a kind of state media.
On Election Day, Meadows wrote to Hannity in a text: “Stress every vote matters. Get out and vote. On radio.”
“Yes sir,” Hannity replied. “On it. Any place in particular we need a push?”
“Pennsylvania. NC AZ, Nevada,” Meadows instructed.
“Got it,” Hannity texted.
In another revealing text, Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo texted Meadows with a heads up about the questions she planned to ask Trump on air in late November 2020, a practice that’s frowned on by journalists. She indicated that she would provide a platform for Trump’s lies about the election and pleaded with Meadows: “Pls make sure he doesn’t go off on tangents. We want to know he is strong he is a fighter & he will win.”
In mid-December 2020, Hannity urged Meadows to continue joining forces. “You also need to spend at least half your time doing business with us,” he texted Meadows.
“I agree. We can make a powerful team,” Meadows responded.
Meadows and Hannity also worked in tandem to help spin Trump’s false tale of a rigged election.
But Hannity’s enthusiasm appeared to flag on Dec. 22, when he began bashing the “lunatics” supporting Trump.
“You fighting is fine,” he texted Meadows. “The fing lunatics is NOT fine. They are NOT helping him. I’m fed up with those people.”
Meadows and Fox News haven’t commented on CNN’s report on the texts.