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Fox News Calls Sean Hannity’s Trump Appearance an ‘Unfortunate Distraction’

Fox News Channel said it did not condone host Sean Hannity’s appearance Monday night during President Donald Trump’s campaign rally and called the episode “an unfortunate distraction.”

Hannity on Monday night was called up to the stage by President Trump at an event held in Missouri, and then told the audience that reporters in attendance to cover it “are fake news.”

“Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events,” the 21st Century Fox-owned news network said in a statement. “We have an extraordinary team of journalists helming our coverage tonight and we are extremely proud of their work. This was an unfortunate distraction and has been addressed.” A spokeswoman for the parent company referred an inquiry to Fox News, which did not elaborate on whether Hannity had been reprimanded in any other fashion.

Hannity released a statement on Twitter noting that he had not anticipated taking part in the event. “When the POTUS invited me on stage to give a few remarks last night, I was surprised, yet honored by the president’s request. This was NOT planned. And to be clear, I was not referring to my journalist colleagues at FOX News in those remarks. They do amazing work day in and day out in a fair and balanced way and it is an honor to work with such great professionals.”

Both Fox News and Hannity in the day leading up to the Trump event had said the host was on site only to interview the President and anchor his show from the site of the rally.

Hannity, who considers himself an opinion host and not a traditional journalists, has in the past skirted norms that would typically apply to an editorial employee of a news organization. Hannity in 2016 appeared in a promotional video for the Trump campaign, but Fox News at the time issued a statement saying that executives had not been aware of it, noting he would not appear in any more through the remainder of the election. In 2010, he was ordered not to broadcast his program as part of a Tea Party rally originating from Cincinnati.

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