Sean Hannity's battle of sourcing with New York Times
NEW YORK (AP) — Sean Hannity urged his viewers to put a New York Times article on the special counsel investigation of President Donald Trump "in your fireplace and burn it." Instead, he offered a tutorial on the importance of reading.
The Times' story on a list of questions that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wanted to put to Trump in a potential interview upended cable newscasts Monday night, including Hannity's Fox News Channel show. Hannity denigrated the newspaper's use of anonymous sources, as did Trump, who tweeted today the leak was "disgraceful."
Hannity said that his own sources – which he did not identify – told him that "The New York Times is full of crap."
"This is how bad the press in this country is," Hannity said. "They are being fed lies and misinformation."
He said the story was "clearly a leak by the special prosecutor's office."
Yet for a story reliant on anonymous sourcing, the Times was unusually forthcoming about where the information came from. It didn't point toward Mueller's office.
The story said special counsel investigators read a series of questions to Trump's lawyers, who compiled those questions into a list. That list was provided to the Times by "a person outside Mr. Trump's legal team," the newspaper said. Hannity did not discuss that disclosure on his show.
The story's author, Michael S. Schmidt, offered more detail in an interview on the newspaper's daily podcast today. He said Trump's lead lawyer John Dowd and colleagues were invited by Mueller's team in March to hear the questions. It was a sales job; the special counsel's office wanted the interview.