No matter which side of the American political divide you find yourself on, you're almost certain to encounter a steady stream of coverage about Sean Hannity's role in fueling modern conspiracy theories. Although many of the great American political debates remain subjective, some of them definitely aren’t. It's not unreasonable to look into outlandish claims on occasion, as some historical conspiracy theories were actually true. False claims made by Sean Hannity, however, often involve information that has been thoroughly proven incorrect. While Hannity occasionally recants his claims - or at the very least reduces coverage of a given in topic in response to public backlash - much of what he says does not hold up under scrutiny. The answer to the question “Is Sean Hannity lying?” appears to be, “Yes, and quite regularly."
Sean Hannity remains wrong about a lot of issues, and what naysayers find alarming is his tendency to draw information from dubious sources like online forums or shady anonymous tipsters. Even those who agree with Hannity on a fundamental level will concede some of the insane things he has said would have been best left off the airwaves. To learn the depth of Sean Hannity's conspiratorial mind, scroll down and get yourself informed.
Barack Obama’s “Seminal” Portrait
Sean Hannity’s favorite conspiracy theories are normally of the variety that make claims of global consequence, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t make time for the occasional silly example. When Barack Obama’s official portrait entered the Smithsonian, Hannity immediately bought into and promoted a theory that claimed that a “whitey”-hating artist, Kehinde Wiley, had hidden “inappropriate sexual innuendo” in the portrait—namely, a huge “secret sperm” on Obama’s face.
The “sperm” in question, which isn’t hidden at all and is thus not very secretive, is actually just a vein on Obama’s forehead, which is entirely consistent with the actual vein on Obama’s forehead. As for the “kill whitey” thing, that was just a deliberate misrepresentation of a quote Wiley had given about an art piece. The theory was debunked before it even began, but that didn’t stop Hannity from tweeting about it and posting a story on it to his website. However, this particular conspiracy theory proved too weird for even Sean Hannity, as he eventually deleted his tweet on the subject and commented that, “Earlier today my web staff posted content that was not reviewed by me before publication. It does not reflect my voice and message and, therefore, I had it taken down.”
Obamacare Death Panels
The concept of Barack Obama creating “death panels” to determine which elderly patients actually deserved to live was one of Sarah Palin’s few political masterstrokes — and it was entirely a work of fiction. PolitiFact’s 2009 “Lie of the Year” centered around a seemingly deliberate misunderstanding of a Medicare bill that, among other things, financed professional consultations about end-of-life care on a voluntary basis.
The belief in “death panels” became widespread during the 2008 election, thanks to Palin, and it continued to have a presence in the media after Obama’s inauguration thanks to on-air personalities like Sean Hannity. Hannity tied the conspiracy theory into Obama’s plans for “Obamacare,” claiming that the President wanted “perfectly healthy senior citizens” to “check out before their time is up.” No actual evidence supporting the existence of a “death panel” provision has ever turned up, but Hannity and other Fox News hosts like Tucker Carlson continue to refer to it as factual.
Roy Moore’s Innocence
Although the allegations of sexual assault against Roy Moore may never be proven in the criminal sense, the falsity of the conspiracy theory surrounding the allegations that Sean Hannity spun on his show can, in fact, be proven. Hannity gave Moore himself airtime to share his side of the story, which consisted of a mainstream media plot to smear his reputation, and then Hannity picked up the thread and continued it during his news show.
According to Hannity, despite the wide variety of sources backing up the claims against Moore, including mall security guards and Moore’s own statements, the entire thing was a work of fiction concocted by a vengeful media and people looking to lie for cash. Specifically, Hannity aired Moore’s false claim that his alleged written message in one of his victims’ yearbooks had been tampered with, despite plenty of forensic clues to the contrary. Even major Republicans like Paul Ryan turned against Roy Moore under the weight of all this evidence, but not Sean Hannity.
The Birther Conspiracy
The “Birther” conspiracy revolves around the idea that Barack Obama was not born in the United States of America. From there, the theory has numerous permutations painting Obama as one sort of Muslim Manchurian candidate or another. The conspiracy’s most important trait is its durability. Despite the eventual release of both short- and long-form certificates of live birth and mountains of other evidence to the contrary, it still lives on.
While Donald Trump was the loudest public proponent of “Birtherism,” Sean Hannity was also an influential voice in the debate. Hannity gave Trump and his birther theories plenty of airtime, including a 2011 interview in which the two discussed Trump’s Hawaiian investigation team. To date, Hannity still does not agree that Obama has shown his true birth certificate.