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Hannity blasts criticism of Fox News: 'I have taken this seriously'

Fox News host Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityWhite House says Biden won't 'underestimate Trump' if he runs in 2024 McConnell safe in power, despite Trump's wrath Poll: Americans consider Fox News, NYT, CNN, MSNBC 'mainstream media' MORE is pushing back against the criticism of his show and network's coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, blasting a group of journalism professors and journalists over their letter this week.

"Go to my web site and you'll see irrefutable evidence that I have taken this seriously way before most in the media did," Hannity told Newsweek. "I warned in January that it was dangerous because it was highly contagious, but some people were asymptomatic, so it would spread quickly."

He also said that he had never called the virus "a hoax."

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"They just go with their narrative. I never called it a 'hoax.' I said it was a hoax for them to be using it as a bludgeon on Trump. And they are. [Rep.] Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffFree Speech Inc.: The Democratic Party finds a new but shaky faith in corporate free speech Trump backs Stefanik to replace Cheney Gender politics hound GOP in Cheney drama MORE and [Speaker] Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden reverses Trump limits on transgender protections The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns This week: Congressional leaders to meet with Biden amid GOP reckoning MORE are talking about an investigation. Now? In the middle of a pandemic?" he said.

The letter from the journalism professors called the network's coverage of the outbreak "a danger to public health" and mentioned several Fox News hosts by name, including Hannity.

Hannity stood by his assessment that Democrats and the media were initially trying to use COVID-19 to "bludgeon" President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner says election was not 'stolen,' calls Biden 'our president' Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections Overnight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal MORE.

"Many of them did. We are in the middle of the huge pandemic and where's the Democrat saying, 'You know, I didn't agree with the travel ban at the time, but it was the right decision.' Politics trumps truth in their world," Hannity said.

The letter cited a recent Pew Research poll in which 79 percent of Fox News viewers reported that they believed the media had overstated the potency of the virus. When asked about the results of the poll, Hannity said his viewers could be possibly less afraid of the virus because he tells them "what the president is doing every day" and interviews physicians "who express hope for a treatment."