On Monday night, far-right Fox News host Sean Hannity breathlessly railed against New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, whose scoops on the administration of former President Donald Trump led to some of the most consequential headlines of his time in office.
Hannity called Haberman a "stalker" for continuing to report on Trump, and he soon brought in Trump's White House press secretary turned Fox News pundit, Kayleigh McCenany.
True to form, McEnany accused Haberman of bias and insisted that if someone were to hack the text messages of prominent journalists, they would find evidence of malice toward her former boss.
Kayleigh: I’m pretty sure if you got access to the personal text messages of a NYT reporter or a WAPO reporter, you… https://t.co/qTomyTfasv— Acyn (@Acyn) 1624324723.0
"It was Justice Scalia who pointed out that it's so hard to win a defamation case against one of these publications because you have to prove actual malice. Well, I'm pretty sure if you got access to the personal text messages of a New York Times reporter or a Washington Post reporter, you may find that actual malice against you, a conservative, President Trump, James O'Keefe, or others."
Of course, the Trump administration did seek to uncover the communications of journalists in order to uncover their sources within the White House. Trump's White House seized the phone records of New York Times reporters, seized the emails and phone records of CNN correspondent Barbara Starr, and seized the phone records of Washington Post reporters—all in secret. This is, of course, in addition to secretly obtaining phone records from members of Congress.
While these efforts succeeded only in securing the phone records, not the contents of text messages or calls, social media users still skewered McEnany's rant.
Hmmmmm, you don't say, Kayleigh? https://t.co/hZ7B97FO0i— Justin Baragona (@Justin Baragona) 1624325473.0
Wouldn't malice be the appropriate response towards someone who tried to overthrow our democracy? https://t.co/qBoivNeTs8— J Hougen (@J Hougen) 1624367577.0
Pretty sure that their illegal searching and seizing of reporters info mustn’t have found this, or they’d have publ… https://t.co/gFilZE3f7D— Christina M (@Christina M) 1624330728.0
That’s weird bc I’m pretty sure if your hoopleheaded boss and his minions would have found anything at all, we woul… https://t.co/p8aaXl4csp— christina needs PPE 🆘 and so do all her coworkers (@christina needs PPE 🆘 and so do all her coworkers) 1624340024.0
Well...hmmm...don't most of us in America rightfully share very negative feelings about Trump? He did ignore a glo… https://t.co/b9QgVR5rwx— Carrie Moley (@Carrie Moley) 1624332155.0
Her reasoning—as well as her definition for the legal standard of malice—fell short.
I’m starting to think Harvard isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. https://t.co/WliW9aSiNo— Irishrygirl (@Irishrygirl) 1624326289.0
So leaking about crimes is worse than crimes and only done out of hatred for Trump. Got it replacement Kellyanne. https://t.co/OYsnz8vL4x— (((Barabbas))) (@(((Barabbas)))) 1624330438.0
Didn't she go to law school? Malice is not the Burn Book honey. https://t.co/tXYNOoWuVM— Andrea R MD (@Andrea R MD) 1624325397.0
Hannity, of course, had no objections.