Those of you who’ve been to a DMV or hospital waiting room recently may have accidentally been watching Fox News. You probably saw Sean Hannity desperately trying to form coherent sentences about some guy named Julian Assange and something called WikiLeaks. You might have questions like “Why does Sean Hannity love this guy so much all of a sudden?”, “Why is he back in the news, aren’t WikiLeaks so 2010?”, and “When did Tilda Swinton grow a beard?”
Julian Assange is of course best known as being the man behind the website WikiLeaks, which is responsible for leaking millions of sensitive documents concerning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to volumes of diplomatic cables between 2006 and 2009. At the time, Assange was widely seen as a traitor and people like Sean Hannity were calling for his arrest
Media Matters – “Revealing their identities, helping us and cooperating with us in our battle against the Taliban. These are real lives that are now in jeopardy and in danger. That was step one. Then 390,000 other documents were released. Many of them classified documents. And now we have this. What is — why? Why didn’t they go after this guy and why didn’t they arrest him? Why didn’t they stop this from being published when we had so much time to do it? Why can’t Obama do something about the WikiLeaks? We got this four months ago. You know, we can stop pirating a music and Hollywood movies, but we can’t stop this guy from stealing highly classified documents that puts people’s lives at risk?” – Sean Hannity, 2010
Since the initial WikiLeaks release Assange has been in and out of the news. He has continued his work with WikiLeaks and occasionally taken a break from (allegedly) sexually assaulting Swedish women to open for M.I.A. via Skype.
Assange is a controversial figure amongst political talking heads. Some people, like 2010 Sean Hannity, believe he is a traitor he endangered the lives of American soldiers serving abroad. Others, like 2016 Sean Hannity believe he’s an advocate of government transparency who brought unethical government practices to light.
The Daily Beast – “You have done a lot of good in what you have exposed about how corrupt, dishonest and phony our government is and I applaud that.” Sean Hannity, 2016
You must be thinking “Wow, what a change of heart by Sean Hannity. It’s amazing he’s had such a change of heart about corruption in the federal government and its total lack of transparency!” Yeah, sure, that’s it…
NY Mag – Julian Assange, the founder and head of WikiLeaks, has laid his cards on the table: He views it as his mission to do what he can to prevent Hillary Clinton from becoming president of the United States of America.
On the surface it seems like Hannity might be disingenuously supporting Assange because of their common disdain for Hillary Clinton and their mutual desire to ensure she doesn’t spend the next 4 years coughing all over the nice White House China. However, that would require the assumption that Hannity is the type of person who would blatantly exploit sensitive issues in order to promote his own personal politics, and that just doesn’t sound like him.