Sean Hannity wants NY Times to apologize, retract reports on coronavirus remarks
Fox News’ Sean Hannity has sent lawyers’ letters to the New York Times demanding they apologize and retract reports about his comments on the coronavirus pandemic, saying the newspaper “all but accused me of murder.”
“The same people now accusing the president, even yours truly pretty much of murder, killing people who passed away from the coronavirus, when nothing could be further from the truth,” he said on Monday night’s broadcast.
“What they wrote was false, it is provably false, and rather than do the ethical, honest, ‘journalistic’ thing which would be correct and that’s to retract and apologize, they secretly stealth edited their mistake. To me, an admission of guilt. The stealth addition rendered their phony headline false,” he said.
His legal team sent a letter to the Times on Monday demanding it apologize and retract coverage of his remarks about the coronavirus that Hannity said “all but accused me of murder.”
The Times responded Tuesday.
“The columns are accurate, do not reasonably imply what you and Mr. Hannity allege they do, and constitute protected opinion,” Times’ legal counsel David E. McCraw wrote to Hannity’s lawyer Charles Harder.
“In response to your request for an apology and retraction, our answer is no,” the letter said.
The letter pertains to three articles in the Times from columnist Ginia Bellafante, contributing writer Kara Swisher and media columnist Ben Smith that showed “an outrageous disregard for the truth.”
“Failure to do so will leave Mr. Hannity with no alternative but to consider instituting immediate legal proceedings against you,” the letter said, according to Fox News.
Charles Harder accused the Times of “mischaracterizing Mr. Hannity’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and blaming him for the death of Joe Joyce.”
In a column published on April 18, Bellafante linked Joyce’s death to Hannity’s comments that Americans were getting “unnecessarily” scared by “this new hoax.”
Joyce, 74, a Hannity fan, and his wife took a cruise to Spain on March 1.
His daughter, Kristen, told Bellafante that her father decided on the cruise despite warnings about the danger.
“He watched Fox, and believed it was under control,” the daughter told Bellafante.
Joyce became ill on March 27 after returning from the cruise and died on April 9 of the coronavirus.
But Harder pointed out in his letter that Hannity made those comments on March 9 after the Joyces left for their cruise.
The March 31 column by Swisher implied “Hannity is responsible for determining all of Fox News’ coverage of the coronavirus,” Harder’s letter said.
Smith in a March 22 column implied Hannity played down the seriousness of the pandemic.
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