The First Modification offers broad latitude to what hosts can say on the air. Lately, although, defamation lawsuits, or the specter of them, have emerged as a possible examine. Smartmatic, an election know-how agency, filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit final week in opposition to the Fox Company and three Fox anchors, accusing them of broadcasting false statements that broken the corporate.
Sidney Powell, the Trump lawyer named within the Smartmatic go well with that accused Fox Information of spreading false claims, voiced similar falsehoods on Mr. Limbaugh’s present after Election Day. (Mr. Limbaugh would later complain that Ms. Powell had not produced proof of fraud, however she reappeared on his program on Dec. 29, with little pushback from a visitor host.)
Not like cable TV, speak radio is tough to observe — broadcasts usually vanish into the ether and transcripts are scarce. A system maintained by researchers on the Massachusetts Institute of Know-how, which displays radio broadcasts, transcribed what was mentioned on main conservative packages between Nov. 22 and Jan. 5.
A New York Occasions evaluation of these transcripts discovered that, on “The Sean Hannity Present,” which is carried by greater than 600 stations, the election was known as fraudulent, rigged, stolen or unlawful in 35 out of the 45 episodes transcribed by M.I.T. in that interval, together with feedback from visitors and callers. The election was known as fraudulent, rigged, stolen or unlawful in 32 of 45 episodes of Mr. Limbaugh’s program transcribed in that very same time span.
After the Capitol riot, the identical hosts denounced the violence. “Each good, first rate honorable American would condemn all violence,” Mr. Hannity mentioned on Jan. 6.
In the identical broadcast, the host reminded his listeners that “a whole lot and a whole lot” of individuals had claimed to have witnessed fraud or irregularities within the election. “Folks really feel like their voices aren’t being heard, and so they’re offended,” Mr. Hannity mentioned.
He then welcomed a frequent caller to the present, the pro-Trump activist Rose Tennent, who supplied no criticism of the violence in Washington.
“In some unspecified time in the future, individuals break,” Ms. Tennent mentioned.
Sophia June contributed reporting.