Hannity Goes on Offense as Attempts to Purge Him Continue

The bitter and dirty controversy swirling around the U.S. Senate candidacy of Roy Moore that has involved talk show host Sean Hannity continued on Wednesday with no resolution or end in sight. Hannity’s Tuesday evening challenge to Moore to come forward with a coherent defense against the charges of sexual impropriety leveled against him resulted in the release of a 3-page statement from Moore and a press conference in Birmingham by his attorney and campaign representatives on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post, the source of the original charges that exploded last Thursday, published allegations by two new accusers on Wednesday evening at 8:09 P.M. E.S.T. The two women were in their late teens in 1977 and working at a local Alabama mall when they now allege that Moore, at the time 30 years old, tried to pick them up for dates and forced a kiss on one of them. Also on Wednesday, another accuser, the subject of an article at al.com, claimed “Roy Moore groped her while she was in his law office on legal business with her mother in 1991. Moore was married at that time.”

In light of these accusations – eight in all now – and their wall-to-wall coverage in the MSM, Moore is reportedly losing ground to his liberal Democrat opponent Doug Jones. The two are facing each other in the special statewide election that has been scheduled to take place in 26 days to fill out the term of former Sen. Jeff Sessions, who left the Senate last winter to become U.S. Attorney General in the Trump Administration.  Luther Strange was appointed to temporarily fill Sessions’ seat until a special election could be held. Strange lost to Moore in the primary to determine who would be the Republican nominee in that election.

Last Friday Hannity did the first and so far the only extensive interview with Moore, a day after the incendiary story about Moore first broke. In the interview on his radio show, later repeated on his nightly Fox News Channel television program, Hannity was widely credited for holding Moore to account for what was reported in the Post article.

Although the interview was hard hitting, Hannity came under immediate attack by his longtime enemies, primarily Media Matters for America and its president, Angelo Carusone. In a series of tweets aimed at Hannity’s sponsors, Carusone attempted with a degree of success to spin Hannity’s interview as an endorsement of Moore and to influence Hannity’s advertisers to stop sponsoring his shows. This effort supported by social media bore considerable fruit over the past weekend when about a dozen of the advertisers tweeted that they were dropping Hannity’s show. Since then, after a social media backlash by Hannity’s supporters, most of the tweets have been deleted and it is unclear if the advertisers will continue to sponsor Hannity in the future or not.

On Wednesday, Moore tweeted a 3-page response to Hannity’s Tuesday challenge to him to fess up. Hannity read Moore’s entire response at the end of his Fox News program on Wednesday evening.

Also on Wednesday, one of Moore’s attorneys told the press that the inscription allegedly written by Moore in 1977 on a yearbook owned by one of Moore’s accusers may be fake. This yearbook scrawl is the only documentary evidence, other than the women’s statements, to be presented so far.

As The Hill reported:

A lawyer for Alabama Senate GOP nominee Roy Moore on Wednesday suggested a yearbook signature presented by a woman accusing Moore of sexual assault could be fake.

In a defiant press conference Wednesday outside of the Alabama Republican Party headquarters, Moore attorney Phillip Jauregui sought to discredit the accusations from Beverly Young Nelson.

Jauregui repeatedly noted Nelson’s association with the famous lawyer Gloria Allred, who represented women who accused President Trump of sexual misconduct, and called on them to release the yearbook for handwriting analysis

"We demand you immediately release the yearbook to a neutral custodian so our expert can look at the actual document, release the yearbook so we can determine is it genuine or is it a fraud," Jauregui told reporters in Birmingham.

On Monday, Nelson said at a news conference that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16 years old. As proof that the two knew each other at the time, she and Allred presented a high school yearbook Nelson said was signed by Moore.

The message read: "To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas. Christmas 1977. Love, Roy Moore, D.A."

Later on Wednesday, attorney Allred appeared on CNN and was questioned by Wolf Blittzer. According to Gateway Pundit, “Wolf Blitzer Repeatedly Asks Gloria Allred if the Yearbook Signature is a Forgery — ALLRED REFUSES TO ANSWER!”

On Wednesday, after he read Moore’s statement, Hannity offered his opinion on the matter:

We demanded – rightly – answers from Judge Moore. He provided them to the specific questions we asked. In my opinion – so serious – the people of Alabama, they need to know the truth and they’ve got to have all of 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. And if that means whatever it takes to get to the truth it means more time I believe that the governor according to Gregg Jarrett has the ability to make that decision. The Alabama people deserve that. Gregg Jarrett said the governor can delay the race if need be. Now the people of Alabama deserve to have a fair choice, especially in light of the new allegations tonight.

Now, we have told you everyone’s point of view. The accusers continue to have an open invitation to come on this show and share their story.

I want to tell you something: I lived in Alabama. I enjoyed my time in Alabama. And I know these people. They’re smart. They’re great Americans – God, family, faith, country. And I am confident that when everything comes out, they will make the best decision for their state. It shouldn’t be decided by me, by people on television, Mitch McConnell, Washington, talk show hosts, news people.

One more thing: There’s a report by the way of sexual misconduct in Congress. I’m demanding tonight – they paid 15 million dollars of your money. That was paid out to victims. Who are they? [the perpetrators.] Tell us now and why did they pay it. They need to be exposed. We’ll have more on this tomorrow night.

Early Wednesday morning, back in the White House after his two-week trip to Asia, President Trump issued several tweets and retweets from his official Twitter account, including retweeting one by this author. My tweet, from November 4, linked to an article at American Thinker reporting on the winning ratings for Fox News during the first four nights (Oct. 30-Nov. 2) of the channel’s new prime time schedule. Among the critiques of the president’s retweet was this one in the Daily Kos, “Fox News Flack Donald Trump Tries in Vain to Save Sean Hannity’s Fast Sinking Program:”

The Twitter user Trump retweeted identifies himself as a media analyst, but his account was created less than three months ago and has only sixty-nine tweets. He follows only two Twitter accounts: Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow. He's also a writer for the ultra-rightist web rag, American Thinker. And somehow Trump found a rotting two week old tweet from this nobody and saw fit to relay it to his glassy-eyed disciples.

The latest ratings from Tuesday night this week show Hannity beating his major competition at 9 P.M. E.S.T., MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, in total viewers but losing closely to Maddow in the age 25-54 demographic.

Some words spoken by Hannity during his 3-hour nationally syndicated radio talk show on Wednesday seem apropos here:

Politics is a dirty, brutal, ugly blood sport. There is nothing nice in the world of politics. Your opponents, politically speaking – I’m putting emphasis on “politically speaking” – want to destroy you and kill you off.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture.  Follow Peter on Twitter @pchowka.

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