Fox News' Sean Hannity was more defiant than ever in the opening monologue of his show Wednesday, when he announced that his team of lawyers are looking into suing "liberal fascist" news outlets that smeared him this week. At issue are accusations made Friday by a blogger that he acted inappropriately toward her more than a decade ago.
"In all seriousness, we are at a turning point," Hannity began, "a huge turning point when it comes to freedom of speech in the United States of America. I, for one, I refuse to sit back and let conservatives be silenced by these liberal fascists, it's time to take a stand.
"And as I have explained, I also have become a target of these slanderous attacks," he continued. "And in my opinion, what happened last Friday, this was designed to be a 'kill shot.' In other words, to ruin my career, shut me down once and for all. Literally, I think they had the crosshairs at my head, and my heart, they wanted to destroy me, ruin my career, get me off the air, once and for all.
"Now on Friday, just two days after Bill O'Reilly parted ways with the Fox News channel," Hannity added, "an individual with serious and glaring credibility issues fabricated completely untrue, ridiculous claims about me, I think going back to 2003, '04 and '05, which this person quickly recanted.
"Now instead of doing their job and fact-checking the accusations by this individual," he said angrily, "by the way, easily proven to be false, liberal fascist journalists, lazy as they are, they saw an opportunity. 'Oh, let's get Hannity next, let's silence his voice.'
"Now these are just two of the headlines of the many," he continued, "that were used to try to take me down: NBC News, 'Sean Hannity denies right-wing blogger's sex harassment claim.' By the way, none of them mentioned it was way back in the early 2000s. Raw Story, 'Is Hannity next to fall? Fox Guest says anchor tried to pressure her into hotel room sex.' By the way, she didn't even say that, just as a sidebar issue.
"Now do these headlines represent the truth?" he asked rhetorically. "No. And so far, none of these outlets, interestingly, have updated their headlines to correct the story and tell their viewers, or their readers the truth. That this is a highly questionable individual who recanted these completely false claims.
"Now, I have hired a killer team of lawyers and investigators," Hannity explained, "and we are laying out a war strategy that's going to hold every media outlet that lies and smears me responsible. My lawyers are saying that these media outlets have a basic, fundamental obligation to do rudimentary fact-checking, instead of just taking the word of one individual, in my case they went for the cheap headline without even doing a simple, even a simple Google search which would have shown that this has gone on with this woman, false charges for years, that were proven false.
"Here's the question," he summed up, "is this reckless disregard for the truth? Do these media outlets, do they have a responsibility to do any fact-checking before they repeat such hurtful allegations?"
"Now in the end," he concluded, "I may end up suing some of these outlets because at this point, enough is enough. These attempts to destroy and silence conservative voices it needs to stop or Fox News channel goes away, your favorite talk show hosts go away."
Hannity was referring to blogger and lawyer Debbie Schlussel who alleged that he once asked her to join him at his hotel, and when she refused, he began blackballing her from his show. She clarified that she was not accusing Hannity of sexual harassment after the story made headlines, saying it was simply "creepy." She has also said that she is considering countersuing the Fox News host for defamation.
In addition to the accusations that led to Bill O'Reilly leaving Fox News, the network has been hit by another lawsuit alleging harassment and discrimination on the basis of race. Fox vehemently denies the charges.