Hannity is ‘Bad Business’: Media Matters President Defends Boycott of Fox News Host


A boycott of Sean Hannity‘s program, spearheaded by liberal watchdog group Media Matters, was recently launched in response to the Fox News host’s promotion of a conspiracy theory about slain DNC staffer Seth Rich.

The liberal nonprofit published a list of advertisers for Hannity’s show, to pressure them into dropping from his program — a move Hannity called “liberal fascism.”

Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, joined Michael Smerconish on CNN Saturday to defend his calls to boycott Hannity’s program.

“I am trying to provide information about Sean Hannity to people that have to make business decisions about their relationship with Sean Hannity,” Carusone said.

Smerconish asked if the campaign amounts to censorship, which Carusone pushed back on: “I don’t think that it is censorship if a company doesn’t want to associate with or give money to a personality,” he said. “I’m not saying Sean Hannity shouldn’t be able to say the things he says, I’m just saying that businesses should have some intentionality behind their advertising.”

Media Matters has often used the tactic of pressuring advertisers to abandon programs the group deems problematic. Media Matters kickstarted the campaign to boycott Bill O’Reilly’s program in the wake of a number of sexual harassment allegations leveled against the Fox elder statesman.

The group can also be credited with ending Glenn Beck’s Fox News show in 2011, when it pressured advertisers after Beck called then-President Barack Obama racist.

Smerconish pointed out that Hannity’s advertisers are not fleeing to the same extent they fled O’Reilly’s program in March, which preceded his ouster from the network.

Carusone responded that the goal of Media Matters is simply to inform advertisers of “the depth of volatility or riskiness associated with Sean Hannity’s programming.”

He also noted that some advertisers are indeed uninformed about their own advertising on Hannity’s program: “one company, Crowne Plaza, were so upset that their ads were running in the first place, that they fired their media buyer,” Carusone said.

He concluded that the fact that “Sean Hannity is volatile and bad business” should ultimately drive the decisions of advertisers.

Watch above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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Aidan McLaughlin is the Editor in Chief of Mediaite. Send tips via email: aidan@mediaite.com. Ask for Signal. Follow him on Twitter: @aidnmclaughlin