Politics

Media Matters Targets Hannity Advertisers

Fox News’ Sean Hannity is bleeding advertisers after being targeted by Media Matters.

The left-wing nonprofit published a list of Hannity’s advertisers on Wednesday, kickstarting a public campaign to pressure the advertisers into dropping his show.

Soon after the list went public, reporters began contacting advertisers to ask whether they would continue supporting Hannity after he pushed a conspiracy theory surrounding murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. On Twitter, advertisers were flooded with angry threats of boycotts if they didn’t pull their ads from “Hannity.”

Media Matters’ argument for kickstarting the shaming campaign, though, focused more on Hannity’s role as a “propagandist” on behalf of President Trump than on his conspiracy theories.

“Sean Hannity is a professional propagandist for President Donald Trump, as well as a bigot, a sexist, and a conspiracy theorist,” read Media Matter’s statement accompanying the list. “As host of Fox News’ Hannity, he has used his platform to advocate for authoritarian tactics toward the press, defend Trump’s obstruction of the investigation into collusion between the president’s associates and Russia, and attack judges who have ruled against Trump’s Muslim bans.”

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The post then gives a “list of companies that have advertised during Hannity’s Fox News show since May 1.”

The first advertiser to pull out from Hannity’s show was Cars.com, which did so in response to an inquiry from BuzzFeed, which claims to have contacted more than 50 of Hannity’s advertisers.

“The fact that we advertise on a particular program doesn’t mean that we agree or disagree, or support or oppose, the content,” a statement from the company read in part. “We don’t have the ability to influence content at the time we make our advertising purchase. In this case, we’ve been watching closely and have recently made the decision to pull our advertising from Hannity.”

Exercise company Peloton was the next to go. The company tweeted, and then later deleted, a tweet saying they are taking steps to “stop advertising on Sean Hannity’s show.” According to Business Insider, the statement was issued “in response to Twitter users who slammed Peloton for advertising on Hannity’s show.”

Hannity wrote on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that he had spoken with “many advertisers” who said they “are being inundated with Emails to stop advertising on my show.”

At least five companies have now said they will stop advertising on Hannity’s show after USAA announced they are pulling out Wednesday night. Media Matters, Think Progress and BuzzFeed, among others, are keeping a running tally of advertisers that have left Hannity’s show.

Media Matters kept the pressure up on Wednesday, publishing six articles that attacked Hannity throughout the day. A statement from the company published Thursday night claimed that “companies started pulling their ads from Hannity because they know his volatility is bad for business.”

The campaign to take down Hannity follows a similar, successful campaign against former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. (RELATED: O’Reilly On Fox News Firing: ‘This Was A Hit’)

Media Matters and other left-wing activist groups led the charge to defund O’Reilly over a series of sexual harassment allegations against the longtime host. Fox News fired O’Reilly after dozens of advertisers abandoned the show.

O’Reilly later described the campaign against him as a “hit” that “has to do with destroying voices that the far left and the organized left wing cabal doesn’t like.”

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