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Sean Hannity apologizes for repeating obviously fake news story on air

Sean Hannity (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

Conservative talk show host Sean Hannity has been a staunch supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump this election cycle. Hannity’s boosterism of Trump even landed him in hot water with his bosses at Fox News, who publicly reprimanded him for appearing in a commercial for Trump.

During his radio show Tuesday, Hannity made the claim to his listeners that President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama sifted through their Twitter accounts and deleted all mentions of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton after the latest revelations of the FBI investigation into Clinton’s private email server.  The original story came from the notoriously unreliable website “Your News Wire,” which has a well-documented history of reporting made-up stories.

Hannity brought the claim up on-air and cited Gateway Pundit blog as his source, a website that reported the fake story with the subtitle, “The rats are jumping ship.”  During an on-air segment, Hannity read the fake news from Gateway Pundit and asked his producer if she had looked into it.

“It says that Michelle Obama had deleted Hillary tweets from her timeline.  Did you ever check that out,” he asked.  He later interrupted a segment about WikiLeaks emails so his producer could join him on-air to announce, “Barack Obama and [Massachusetts Sen.] Elizabeth Warren have both unfollowed Hillary Clinton, as well as scrubbing their timeline of tweets about her."

“Wow,” Hannity chimed in. “That means they know it's huge. You know why? Because Obama's implicated! He's implicated here, and he's pissed. You know what his legacy might be? Jail."

The Obamas have both appeared at multiple rallies in support of Clinton since the revelation that the FBI was reopening its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server, including a widely publicized rally near Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday morning. Warren was likewise scheduled to campaign for Clinton all week, including an event in Reno, Nevada, Wednesday. Warren and the Obamas have all steadfastly supported Clinton since the news broke on Friday, and no reputable news source has suggested that any of the three is withdrawing or considering withdrawing their endorsement of Clinton.

Nonetheless, many of Hannity’s listeners followed his lead on social media and shared the story on Facebook and Twitter after hearing it on his show.

Hannity later issued a series of tweets correcting the error.

He also issued a statement to CNNMoney, in which he stated, “I received an e-mail LIVE ON THE AIR that linked a Gateway Pundit article. I questioned the accuracy of it on the air. I asked my producer on the air if it was true. She said it was. I also received a listener IM saying that they saw the same. Then THE listener mentioned that there was a report about the other 2."

Hannity added in closing, "Bottom line it was brought up in an insignificant way, I was dealing with more important issues like HRC crimes and lies and how CNN has been colluding with the Clinton campaign and CHEATING Bernie Sanders."

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