Former Speaker of the House John Boehner often made appearances on Fox News, but it turns out he wasn’t exactly a fan of far-right conspiracy theorists such as Sean Hannity who have primetime shows on the network.
In his new book, On the House, which has been excerpted in Politico, Boehner notes that right-wing media in the age of Obama became a fetid morass of lies and BS:
“Mark Levin was the first to go on the radio and spout off this crazy nonsense. It got him ratings, so eventually, he dragged Hannity and Rush to Looneyville along with him. My longtime friend Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, was not immune to this. He got swept into the conspiracies and the paranoia and became an almost unrecognizable figure.”
Eventually, even Ailes succumbed to the paranoid, Boehner continues:
“’They’re monitoring me,’ he assured me about the Obama White House. He told me he had a ‘safe room’ built so he couldn’t be spied on. His mansion was being protected by combat-ready security personnel, he said. There was a lot of conspiratorial talk. It was like he’d been reading whacked-out spy novels all weekend.”
And when Hannity began his nightly attacks, Boehner had enough of it and went to Hannity to let him know that the host needed to dial things back and stop attacking Republicans:
“Places like Fox News were creating the wrong incentives. Sean Hannity was one of the worst. I’d known him for years, and we used to have a good relationship. But then he decided he felt like busting my ass every night on his show. So one day, in January of 2015, I finally called him and asked: ‘What the hell?’ I wanted to know why he kept bashing House Republicans when we were actually trying to stand up to Obama.
“’Well, you guys don’t have a plan,’ he whined.
“’Look,’ I told him, ‘our plan is pretty simple: we’re just going to stand up for what we believe in as Republicans.’
“I guess that wasn’t good enough for him. The conversation didn’t progress very far. At some point I called him a nut. Anyway, it’s safe to say our relationship never got any better.”
Hannity is indeed a nut. Then again, so are Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, the other Fox primetime hosts who also engage in spreading misinformation and were instrumental in getting Trump elected. However, even they couldn’t save Trump in 2020, no matter how much they tried. That’s a hopeful sign for the future, even if Hannity is still on the air.
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