MSNBC: ‘Hannity and Fox News Are a Totally Corrupt Enterprise’ Defending 'Child Molestation'

On Thursday’s Deadline: White House, host Nicolle Wallace and MSNBC national affairs analyst John Heilemann took Sean Hannity’s statement that “the people of Alabama” “need to know the truth” concerning the Roy Moore accusations as evidence that Fox News supports people who “prey in a sexual manner on teenage girls.”

Heilemann added that, in his estimation, the network is a “totally corrupt enterprise that [has] nothing to do with journalism or principle” and is only interested in “advancing an ideological agenda.” The intense irony of this being said on MSNBC did not seem to faze anyone on the panel.

 

 

The segment opened as Wallace gave a brief rundown of the Moore allegations and how Hannity has responded to them:

WALLACE: Yesterday we told you that one of Roy Moore's most enthusiastic backers, who Heilemann’s already mentioned, Fox News anchor Sean Hannity, had given Moore 24 hours to provide evidence of his innocence. Moore did not provide any such evidence, but he did send him a letter. It underscored the central pillars of his defense against accusations of sexual misconduct with mostly teenage girls, one only fourteen years old. [Moore] wrote, in part: “Are we at a stage in American politics in which false allegations can overcome a public record of 40 years?” Hannity responded with this.

[playing clip of Hannity on Fox News]

HANNITY: In my opinion, so serious, the people of Alabama, they need to know the truth. And they've gotta have all the facts that they need. And that means that the Alabama voters can make an educated, informed, inclusive decision for their state when they go to the polls.

[end clip]

WALLACE: Here's how The Washington Post covered it, quote: “Sean Hannity gave Roy Moore an ultimatum. Then went soft.” Ouch.

Wallace then turned to Heilemann to explore the issue of whether or not Hannity was being hypocritical for drawing attention to people who have accused left-wing politicians and public figures such as Bill Clinton and Harvey Weinstein of rape or sexual assault while not offering the same attention to Moore’s alleged victims. Heilemann responded by assuring the host that “I’m sure Al Franken will lead the show tonight.”

Wallace concurred and then posed a question to Heilemann:

[W]hy can't anyone -- and I guess it's the same question I have about Donald Trump, you know, why is someone accused of predatory sexual conduct who’s a Republican like Roy Moore or Donald Trump given the hands-off treatment and everyone who leans left or is a media figure crucified?

After getting clarification from Wallace that she was asking for him to comment on both Sean Hannity and Fox News as a whole, Heilemann replied:

Because Sean Hannity and Fox News are a totally corrupt enterprise that have nothing to do with journalism or principle and everything to do with advancing an ideological agenda. [A]ll their behavior is totally predictable on that, on those grounds. That's what they do every day on every story. And that -- this is just -- this is a particularly galling, grotesque example. You would like to think that in this realm that we would not care about tribal -- about tribes, partisan tribes or ideological tribes. But the whole Fox News empire and its entire reason for being, its profit motive, its business model, is built not, again, on journalism, but on advancing that agenda. And they are -- again, we have tribalism in every area, but for Fox News it goes all the way, even to this area, where you’d think that it would be the one place where it wouldn't be the case.

Instead of inquiring about how asking for the truth was “grotesque,” Wallace portrayed Fox as defending “child molestation”:

WALLACE: Right, the family friendly -- I mean it -- I guess,-

HEATHER MCGHEE: [interjecting] Child molestation.

WALLACE: -I guess the hypocrisy to me, Heather, is that, um, you know, I worked in a Republican White House. We relied on Fox News for more generous -- and sort of the benefit of the doubt that we keep talking about that we couldn't always get other places. But, I would never have fathomed in a million years that it would extend to someone accused of sort of preying in a sexual manner on teenage girls.

Wallace and Heilemann’s joint interpretation of Hannity’s statement as a “galling, grotesque” example of “advancing an ideological agenda” to defend “preying” “on teenage girls” is just nuts. If any network anchor or journalist expressing any doubts about any allegations of sexual misconduct is a defense of criminal sexual behavior, then MSNBC itself is guilty of the same charge.

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

As was reported on NewsBusters earlier today, NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent Kasie Hunt used MSNBC’s platform to downplay the recent allegations against Senator Al Franken that he aggressively kissed and groped broadcaster and model Leeann Tweeden without her consent. Tweeden alleged the following [emphasis in bold is my own]:

When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss’. I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.

On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, “We need to rehearse the kiss.” I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL…we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.’

He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable.

He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.

I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.

I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth.

I felt disgusted and violated.

(...)

The tour wrapped and on Christmas Eve we began the 36-hour trip home to L.A. After 2 weeks of grueling travel and performing I was exhausted. When our C-17 cargo plane took off from Afghanistan I immediately fell asleep, even though I was still wearing my flak vest and Kevlar helmet.

It wasn’t until I was back in the US and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the photographer that I saw this one:

I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep.

I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.

How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?

Rather than take Tweeden’s charges at face value, Kasie Hunt deferred to Franken’s characterization of the incidents not once, but twice:

[Franken] took a picture, which his office now says was of a joke, that showed him potentially not actually groping but mock-groping her while she was asleep.

(...)

Then she also published a picture that was given to her of her asleep with Senator Franken mock-groping her.”

If you feel like going back farther than 11 o’clock this morning, you would find decades of liberal media journos going out of their way to protect Bill Clinton from numerous allegations of serious sexual abuse and even rape. Only with the advent of the Moore accusations has there been any serious momentum in the liberal media towards taking the claims against Clinton seriously. But should the liberal media receive praise now for their sudden rush to throw him under the bus? Washington Post writer Molly Roberts had a good answer to that question:

Democrats don’t deserve credit today for refusing to be hypocrites. They already are. They stood by Clinton in the ’90s because they thought it was in their political interest, and they batted back attempts during the 2016 election to bring up what it would mean to have an accused rapist as first gentleman for the same reason. That impulse may have been rooted in a desire not to see Hillary Clinton punished for her husband’s wrongs. Yet instead of interrogating that reasoning, liberals did their best to ignore the problem.

It should also be noted that the broad brush of tarring Fox News as “totally corrupt” didn’t apply yesterday when many liberal reporters, including Nicolle Wallace herself, heaped praise upon Fox’s Shepard Smith for his dubious “debunking” of the Clinton-uranium scandal.

It seems that as long as you say things that liberals approve of, you’re safe. But just make sure not to stray an inch from their party line if you don’t enjoy being tarred as supporting the worst crimes imaginable.

A partial transcript of the segment follows below:

4:22 PM EST

NICOLLE WALLACE: Yesterday we told you that one of Roy Moore's most enthusiastic backers, who Heilemann’s already mentioned, Fox News anchor Sean Hannity, had given Moore 24 hours to provide evidence of his innocence. Moore did not provide any such evidence, but he did send him a letter. It underscored the central pillars of his defense against accusations of sexual misconduct with mostly teenage girls, one only fourteen years old. He wrote, in part: “Are we at a stage in American politics in which false allegations can overcome a public record of 40 years?” Hannity responded with this.

[playing clip of Hannity on Fox News]

SEAN HANNITY: In my opinion, so serious, the people of Alabama, they need to know the truth. And they've gotta have all the facts that they need. And that means that the Alabama voters can make an educated, informed, inclusive decision for their state when they go to the polls.

[end clip]

WALLACE: Here's how The Washington Post covered it, quote: “Sean Hannity gave Roy Moore an ultimatum. Then went soft.” Ouch. Our panel is back. Um, let me ask you something. Sean Hannity spends a lot of time on Bill Clinton's accusers. I think he had Juanita Broaddrick on last night. Um, Sean Hannity in many hours at Fox News has spent a lot of time, justifiably so, on Harvey Weinstein's accusers. They will undoubtedly spend time on people accused of sexual misconduct, justifiably so, on the left.

JOHN HEILEMANN: I'm sure Al Franken, I’m sure Al Franken will lead the show tonight.

WALLACE: I’m sure Al Franken will lead all their shows tonight. Um, why can't anyone -- and I guess it's the same question I have about Donald Trump, you know, why is someone accused of predatory sexual conduct who’s a Republican like Roy Moore or Donald Trump given the hands-off treatment and everyone who leans left or is a media figure crucified?

HEILEMANN: Well, you're asking in the context of Fox News or Sean Hannity or both?

WALLACE: Both.

HEILEMANN: Because Sean Hannity and Fox News are a totally corrupt enterprise that have nothing to do with journalism or principle and everything to do with advancing an ideological agenda. That’s, their -- all their, all their behavior,-

[panel chuckles]

HEILEMANN: -all their, all their, all their behavior is totally predictable on that, on those grounds. That's what they do every day on every story. And that -- this is just -- this is a particularly galling, grotesque example. You would like to think that in this realm that we would not care about tribal -- about tribes, partisan tribes or ideological tribes. But the whole Fox News empire and its entire reason for being, its profit motive, its business model, is built not, again, on journalism, but on advancing that agenda. And they are -- again, we have tribalism in every area, but for Fox News it goes all the way, even to this area, where you’d think that it would be the one place where it wouldn't be the case.

WALLACE: Right, the family friendly -- I mean it -- I guess,-

HEATHER MCGHEE [DEMOS ACTION, PRESIDENT]: [interjecting] Child molestation.

WALLACE: -I guess the hypocrisy to me, Heather, is that, um, you know, I worked in a Republican White House. We relied on Fox News for more generous -- and sort of the benefit of the doubt that we keep talking about that we couldn't always get other places. But, I would never have fathomed in a million years that it would extend to someone accused of sort of preying in a sexual manner on teenage girls.

(...)


Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]

DONATE

Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.

BOOK NOW
NBDaily Double Standards Sex Scandals NBC Fox News Channel MSNBC Deadline: White House Video John Heilemann Sean Hannity Nicolle Wallace
Chris Reeves's picture