Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Sean Hannity didn’t mean to say Roy Moore had a consensual relationship with a 14-year-old

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

People misspeak all the time. As Sean Hannity can tell you, it’s as common as breathing, or repeatedly uttering anti-Muslim smears. You know, just one of those things that happens.


Which is why it’s important to not fall victim to ingrained biases and a rush to judgment when someone takes the Fox News anchor’s words out of context. Jake Tapper was reminded of the importance of this caution after engaging in a fierce Twitter exchange with Hannity following the release of a clip of the latter’s radio show, in which the transcript seemed to imply that the talk-show host said that Moore’s relationship with the 14-year-old, whatever it’s nature, was consensual. As Uproxx reports, the host was busily defending Roy Moore, Alabama’s very own Republican Senate candidate and Boss Hogg wannabe, in the wake of a Washington Post report alleging sexual involvement with three women back when they were between the ages of 16 and 18, and also a charge of sexual assault from a woman who says she was 14 at the time.

While Hannity was defending the nature of Moore’s relationship with the first three women, Hannity’s guest interjected to stress that they were also consensual encounters, not noticing the pundit had just begun to reference the charge regarding the girl who was 14. “And consensual, that’s true,” the host says, backpedaling to the previous reference. In transcript form, it looks like he’s saying there’s such a thing as a consensual sexual relationship between a 14-year-old and a married 32-year-old man. Understandably, people began to attack Hannity online, including CNN’s Jake Tapper. In a since-deleted exchange, Tapper joined the many others criticizing the host, leading to Hannity attacking Tapper as a “lazy hack.” By the end, however, things seemed to have cleared up, with Tapper walking back his charge (“I’m going to take Hannity at his word and assume he was not referring to the 14 year old girl incident as ‘consensual’”) and deleting the entire exchange:

Sometimes dialogue can lead somewhere productive! As we stressed last week, by making things up or embellishing the words and deeds of political opponents, progressives only lend fuel to the “fake news” narrative peddled by right-wing snake-oil salesmen. Sean Hannity in no way meant to imply that ugly thought, and we shouldn’t suggest he did. So instead, let’s simply take Hannity at his actual word, such as the following quotes:

  • “If discrimination is wrong, and I think we all agree with that, is another kind of discrimination [affirmative action] as a remedy, is that equally wrong?”—June 23, 2016
  • “[President Obama has] an affinity for, a sympathy for… the practice of Sharia. I’ll say it that way.”—June 14, 2016
  • “Everything fits into the narrative of climate change. Now to the rest of us it’s called weather and weather patterns, but to these idiots it’s called climate change.”—November 30, 2015
  • “If you’re going to ban the Confederate flag, why not ban sales of music that gratuitously uses the N-word?”—June 24, 2015
  • “I don’t care what neighborhood you live in. If you stay out of trouble, obey the laws, pay your taxes, you are going to be fine.”—June 10, 2015
  • “Halloween is a liberal holiday because we’re teaching our children to beg for something for free…We’re teaching kids to knock on other people’s doors and ask for a handout.”—October 31, 2007
  • “The National Enquirer gets a lot of things right.”—October 3, 2016

Alex McLevy is a writer and editor at The A.V. Club, and would kindly appreciate additional videos of robots failing to accomplish basic tasks.