Fox News has issued a statement in response to hosts Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro stumping with President Donald Trump. The two popular anchors were invited on stage at his rally in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, on November 5.
Hannity and Pirro both took the microphone and endorsed President Trump. Pirro enthusiastically exclaimed that voters should support the Republican party at the ballot box. Fox News condemned these actions, issuing a brief statement on November 6.
“Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events. We have an extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight and we are extremely proud of their work. This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.”
Fox News did not provide any additional details about how the situation was addressed.
Sean Hannity: ‘I Was Surprised’ President Trump Invited Me On Stage
Hannity had interviewed the president earlier in the evening. He had also tweeted that day that his live show from Missouri was not to be mistaken for “campaigning.”
The tweet said, “In spite of reports, I will be doing a live show from Cape Girardeau and interviewing President Trump before the rally. To be clear, I will not be on stage campaigning with the President. I am covering final rally for my show. Something I have done in every election in the past.”
Sean Hannity explained that he had not expected to be called upon during the rally. When President Trump invited him into the stage, Hannity went to the microphone and gave a short speech, which you can see in the video above.
Hannity began by pointing directly to the other members of the media in the room. He referred to the other reporters as “fake news.” This prompted cheers from the audience and a big smile from President Trump.
Hannity went on to praise the president for keeping promises and credited him for the state of the economy. He said “thank you” before stepping away from the microphone.
Hannity addressed his comments via Twitter on November 6. He wrote, “What I said in my tweet yesterday was 100% truthful. When the POTUS invited me on stage to give a few remarks last night, I was surprised, yet honored by the president’s request. This was NOT planned.”
He also addressed his labeling of the other journalists in the room being “fake news.” He wrote, “To be clear, I was not referring to my journalist colleagues at FOX News in those remarks. They do amazing work day in and day out in a fair and balanced way and It is an honor to work with such great professionals.”
Jeanine Pirro Urged the Crowds to ‘Vote for Donald Trump’ & Other Republican Candidates
Jeanine Pirro was called up to the stage next. She went further than Hannity in her endorsement.
“Do you like the fact that we are now in the longest, strongest economic growth streak in American history? Do you like the fact that this man is the tip of the spear who goes out there every day and fights for us? If you like the America that he is making now, you’ve got to make sure you get out there tomorrow if you haven’t voted yet. Everyone you know… get them out there to vote for Donald Trump and all the people who are running for the Republican party.”
It’s Unusual for News Network Hosts to Participate in a Campaign Rally
It is unusual for journalists and on-air commentators to participate in campaign rallies. As pointed out by the New York Times, Fox News has taken steps to avoid such a situation in the past.
Fox News canceled a planned Sean Hannity appearance at a Tea Party rally in Cincinnati in 2010. Network executives said at the time that the decision was made after learning that event organizers were raising money by promoting the fact that Hannity would be there. The newspaper quoted Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch as saying, “I don’t think we should be supporting the Tea Party or any other party.”
Sean Hannity’s has stated repeatedly that he is not a journalist. As reported by the Washington Post, Fox News has attempted to mark a distinction between its news operations and its opinion shows, which include Hannity, Jeanine Pirro and Tucker Carlson. Hannity described his role as that of an “advocacy journalist” during an interview in 2017.
The newspaper asked a Fox News spokesperson in April of 2018 whether Hannity was considered a journalist. The response was that Hannity is “an opinion talk-show host.” This was around the time that a connection between Hannity and attorney Michael Cohen was made public.
As for Judge Jeanine Pirro, she has known President Donald Trump for several decades and reportedly considered becoming part of the administration. Politico reports that her name came up as a possible contender for the job of Attorney General. The site also reported in June 2018 that Pirro and President Trump speak frequently over the phone.