Media Matters: Why Sean Hannity Is Freaking Out

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Sean Hannity. Image--Media Matters

 

[Commentary]

Sean Hannity is freaking out. He's spent the last three days attacking Media Matters on the air and on Twitter:

On May 23 at 4:13 PM Sean Hannity tweeted:IMPORTANT! Mediamatters is trying to silence me, get me fired, pressure my advertising on radio & TV. Liberal Fascism. I need your help!

Why? Because we posted a list of the companies that sponsor his show on our website, and he's scared they're finally starting to pay attention to what they're supporting.

All we did was share data that's available to anyone who's willing to suffer through his program (reminder: Media Matters watches Fox News so you don't have to), but Hannity is in full panic mode: He doesn't want companies to look too closely at what he says before their ads run, or discover that they're associating their brands with reckless and volatile behavior.

Hannity has a long history of trafficking in bigotry, conspiracies, and lies in service of his political and personal interests.

And over the past few days, he made headlines again for peddling wild conspiracy theories about murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich and antagonizing his employers at Fox News by publicly rejecting their rare retraction of the story.

Let that sink in: Even Fox is admitting that Hannity is out of line, but they can't control him. That kind of volatility is bad for business. From print magazines to YouTube videos, advertisers want to be able to trust the networks they sign on with to provide a stable, dependable, and predictable experience. Hannity can't and won't guarantee that. And they know it. And sure enough, seven companies have already pulled their ads from his show.

Hannity made himself toxic. He has no one else to blame. This wasn't a liberal conspiracy like he's been saying. If companies are feeling pressure to stop advertising with him, it's because Hannity has spent years demonstrating he can't be trusted – and we've been there, documenting and calling out his sham journalism every step of the way.

After the high-profile crises that brought down Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly, Media Matters ran an ad campaign targeting ad buyers in advance of the Upfronts – the annual ritual where TV networks woo ad agencies to sign new contracts for their clients – about the ongoing risks of associating with Fox News.

Hannity's latest smears are just the next chapter in the same story.

At this point, major advertisers have no excuse not to know what they're sponsoring on Fox. They're on notice – and, more than ever, they're paying attention. Now it's time to see what happens next.

Onward.

Angelo Carusone

@GoAngelo

President, Media Matters for America 

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