Fox News host and outspoken Donald Trump supporter Sean Hannity devoted the entire hour of his program Thursday night to the stories of three women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct.
The “Hannity” host said his show offered a platform for Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones in order to tell a “whole generation of people that do not know your stories.” Kathy Shelton, who was raped at age 12 and whose rapist was appointed Hillary Clinton as his public defender, was also featured in the pre-taped special.
All four women appeared at a surprise press conference organized by the Trump campaign just 90 minutes before Sunday’s presidential debate, and later attended the debate as the Republican nominee’s guests.
During the special, Hannity mostly allowed the women to recount their own personal stories, throwing in a few rather leading questions of his own.
At the top of the hour, he asked the group if the mainstream media ever contacted them about their experiences.
“With 26 days to go and they haven’t contacted you, does that reek of politics to you?” Hannity asked.
Reporters from BuzzFeed, Time, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post and others pointed out on social media that they have tried without success to contact or get on-the-record interviews with Clinton’s accusers. BuzzFeed also published a lengthy profile of Juanita Broaddrick in August.
Later in the interview, Hannity noted that all of the women have said they feared Hillary Clinton becoming president.
“You fear for your life?” he asked.
The interview aired after a day of hiccups for Fox News. Trump canceled a scheduled Thursday appearance on “Hannity” amid a wave of fresh allegations from women who said he groped or kissed them without their consent.
Bloomberg published a story on Wednesday, just as the allegations against Trump were breaking, referring to the hour-long Hannity special as the kick-off to the Trump campaign’s media blitz about Bill Clinton’s sexual history. According to Bloomberg’s Joshua Green, a Fox spokeswoman asked for a correction to his story, saying the Hannity episode would just be a “normal show” and that the Clinton accusers would be on for “two segments at most.”
After updating the story, Green learned that Hannity would in fact be dedicating the entire episode to Clinton’s accusers, prompting the spokeswoman to say she did not “know the communications between Hannity and the Trump campaign.”
A Fox News spokeswoman told TPM that Green did not initially reach out to the channel for comment on how the episode would be framed.
After the interviews with the accusers aired on Thursday night’s show, Hannity and a panel discussed the women’s allegations for the remainder of the program.
Hannity has repeatedly said on-air that he plans to vote for Trump, even appearing in a campaign ad for the Republican nominee without giving Fox News a heads up. The Fox host has maintained that he can show such blatant favoritism toward one candidate because he is “not a journalist.”
This post has been updated.