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Text Message Reveals Hannity "Very Worried" about Pro-Trump Plans But Blamed Anti-Trump Forces; Union: Chicago Teacher Locked Out of Remote Platforms After Voting to Stay Virtual; 13 Dead, Including 7 Kids, in Philly Row House Fire; Djokovic Caught in Visa Bungle as He Arrives in Australia. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired January 05, 2022 - 13:30   ET




SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST (voice-over): They were there to peacefully protest. And then we had the reports of groups, like Antifa, other radical groups -- I don't know the names of all of them -- that they were there to cause trouble.


ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: David Folkenflik is a media correspondent for National Public Radio.

David, it's great to have you here.

As we look at what's unfolding, what we're learning just last month, Sean Hannity was silence for more than 24 hours when one text of his was released by the committee.

When he did respond, he was pretty clear with his audience. He said his private and public conversations were the same. Well, now that the texts have been released, we know that's a lie.

What do you think the chances are that he will actually address these new texts? And would it matter for his audience?

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, MEDIA CORRESPONDENT, NPR: I think, you know, from a strictly cynical standpoint, he has a lot to lose by addressing it, honestly, with his audience.

I think he may allude to I just move past it. It's not something his audience is eager to hear, the idea that he's in any way retreating from something he said to them.

And it's not something that -- you know, nuance and context and texture is not what he's not only known for or what he's rewarded to by his viewers, and if in some ways by the network. He has to walk a line there.

I think is there any public accounting for what he knew and what he did during this most ominous period that he sort of anticipated, the worries that you alluded to, the pressure he exerted?

The thought, privately through texts to the then-president's chief of staff saying, hey, the president really has to be active on this.

I think the private Sean Hannity had reservations as a citizen about the kinds of outcomes versus the kind of forces he was stoking publicly on FOX for quite some time.

HILL: What's fascinating is -- and you know this far better than me. This is your media, which is now just massively broad.

There was so much focus afterward on Facebook, on right-wing outlooks.

But there's a new study out from the Brookings Institution that highlights the role of podcasts on the Big Lie and this information, including Sean Hannity's, in terms of amplifying that Big Lie.

And when we look at this as a broader topic of the, quote, "media" and the impact of something like a podcast that maybe doesn't get as much attention, I think it raises the question of whether we're doomed to our echo chambers.

In fact, as you pointed out, Sean Hannity and his audience probably didn't want to hear him talk about these texts.

FOLKENFLIK: One of the interesting things you'll find is some of the most incendiary rhetoric, whether on FOX Nation, FOX's new streaming service, or Salem Media's right-wing podcast or some of the others you mentioned, is a lot of them are now behind paywalls.

So it's both harder to monitor and just something that people who aren't tuned in to it are less likely to be aware of.

And, yes, the social media platforms played a huge role in what happened January 6th and in the conspiracy theory propagating that happened before and after.

And at the same time, you know, a lot of the content that is disseminated, the disinformation, the misinformation that is disseminated and that's most harmful comes from those who give it some kind of credence or have at least a foot or is adjacent to more conventional media.

So, yes, figures that are part of FOX or frequent faces on FOX or Newsmax or OAN that themselves are circulated.

So the idea that social media is acting apart from perhaps more conventional, if extreme, media doesn't reflect reality. It's all intermingled.

And it's all this ugly and toxic stew, as we saw in this case.

HILL: Ugly and toxic stew. I think you nailed it with that description.

David Folkenflik, glad to have you today. Thank you. FOLKENFLIK: You bet.

HILL: Just a programming note. Be sure to join Jake Tapper and Anderson Cooper for an unprecedented gathering inside the capitol. They'll be joined by police, lawmakers, leaders.

Again, that's live from the capitol. "JANUARY 6TH, ONE YEAR LATER," begins tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.


Chicago teachers say the mayor has locked them out of their virtual teaching platform after the union voted to not return for in-person learning. We're going to have a live report from Chicago, next.


HILL: Chicago public schools -- this is the nation's third-largest district -- canceled classes today after the teachers union voted to refuse in-person instruction after the surge of COVID cases.

Thousands of families now caught in the middle of this battle between the union and the district.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus joining us now.

Adrienne, where do we stand at this hour? What does the union say they need to get back in the classroom?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, the target return date is January 18th. Union leaders say, if this COVID surge decreases, that is one thing that will lead them back to the classroom.


Or if they can reach an agreement with the city and the mayor, an agreement they sign off on, which includes better testing and KN-95 masks.

Members of the union voted last night and they say it is not safe to return to in-classroom learning.

We heard from Keyonna Peyton. She is not only an educator at a school on the south side, but her children also attend CPS schools.

Listen to some of her concerns.


KEYONNA PEYTON, TEACHER, CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS: I am afraid because I have a husband, I have a young child, I have a 90-year-old grandmother with underlying health conditions and issues.

So I would just appreciate being able to work in an environment where at least the students are all PCR-tested weekly and we have their results to go to in-person instruction. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BROADDUS: Meanwhile, the teachers say they never intended to stop instruction. They just wanted to shift to remote learning. And they say the students have the devices to make that happen.

By contrast, the union is now saying the district and the city locked them out of their remote learning portals last night after the vote -- Erica?

HILL: And a lot of parents now scrambling, trying to figure out what to do. It is a mess all around as we wait and watch for this to be resolved.

Adrienne, appreciate it. Thank you.

At least 13 people have died, most of them just children, in a row home fire in Philadelphia. Why the victims may have had little to no time to get out.



HILL: One of the most tragic days in Philadelphia's history. That's how the mayor is describing a fire that claimed 13 lives, seven of them children.

CNN correspondent, Evan McMorris-Santoro, is joining us live.

The deputy commissioner saying this fire was just moving. There was nothing really slowing it down. Do we know what caused it, Evan?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, there's a lot of questions still to be answered here at this row house in Philadelphia. We saw this fire happen this morning. One the most tragic days, as you mentioned.

One of the biggest questions is, how many people were in this house and why they were in this house?

This is a house owned by the housing authority here in Philadelphia. And 26 people were inside. There were eight in the first apartment and 18 in the second apartment. Two apartments, 26 people in all.

And the housing authority saying they're still trying to figure out why there were that many people in the building. They're investigating that and saying that may have been too high.

And you mentioned how fast the fire moving and how much damage it was able to do.

What we're learning that so far and we're still waiting for more information on that.

What we know so far is there were smoke detectors in the house. Six smoke detectors that we know of and four of them were not operable.

So you can imagine what a situation that is, a crowded house, small row house, fire breaks out, maybe there's no warning.

I can tell you, standing right now on scene, you can smell it. You can smell what this fire was like. You can see the damage to the building and how scorched it is.

You can see that this street that it's on is kind of frozen in time. There's trash that was to be picked up in the morning. Just a normal morning wracked by a huge fire.

One of the firefighters here on the scene earlier today talked about what it was like to deal with just how bad this fire actually was.


CRAIG MURPHY, FIRST DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, PHILADELPHIA FIRE DEPARTMENT: The fire was extinguished. And it was -- it's terrible. Most of the -- I've been around for 30, 35 years now, and this is probably one of the worst fires I've ever been through.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Now, Erica, you can hear that emotion in that firefighter's voice. That's why people want to know just what happened here.

And we still can't even get in the house, according to authorities. They're still waiting for some equipment that can let them get in this House.

They're hoping they can start answering some of these questions to get to the bottom of what led to this horrible tragedy here in Philadelphia -- Erica?

HILL: Yes, Evan, it's awful.

Evan, I appreciate it. Thank you.


Just ahead, unvaccinated tennis star, Novak Djokovic, reportedly being refused entry into Australia. So does this mean he's out of the Open? We've got the latest, next.


HILL: A dispute over vaccination status just got more complicated for 20-time grand slam champ, Novak Djokovic.

CNN host of "WORLD SPORT," Don Riddell, joining us.

So, Don, another bump in the road here for Djokovic.

DON RIDDELL, CNN HOST, "WORLD SPORT": Quite a big bump in the road. Thank you, Erica.

This is just fascinating and, frankly, quite an extraordinary story.

Novak Djokovic, world number one. A man who, if he plays in and wins the Australian Open, would surpass Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer with 21 grand slam titles.

Thought he was going to be able to play in the open because they granted him an exception from the vaccine mandate, one of just a handful of players that got one of those exceptions.

He has now arrived in Australia and he seems to be stuck at passport control.

We know he's there because one of the players in his team has posted a picture on Instagram of a couple of those team members waiting at the airport.

But we understand it's been held up because of visa complications.

And since this exemption was granted just over 24 hours ago, there has been an absolute storm of protests in Australia.

Knowing where the tournament is being held was one of the most locked- down cities last year with some 260 days spent by the residents of that city on domestic lockdown.

There are so many restrictions still in place and it hasn't gone down at all well.


But he's seemingly been granted a favor because of his superior status in the sport. The tournament denies that. They say that his application was blind and the rigorous review by two independent panels of experts didn't know it was Novak Djokovic.

But nonetheless, it remains to be seen if he's even going to get in the country.

HILL: Yes, he may not. We'll be watching.

Don, appreciate it. Thank you.

And thanks to all of you for joining us this hour.

Alisyn and Victor are going to take over right here after a quick break.

Stay with us.