Major advertisers Keurig, IHOP, Nature's Bounty, ELOQUII, Ford and others have pulled advertising from Sean Hannity's prime time show, ostensibly over the Fox News host's interview with Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. But the mass exodus may have less to do with accusations against Moore and more to do with a coordinated campaign lead by the Soros-funded "watchdog" site, Media Matters.
Last week, Hannity had Moore, who stands accused of sexually harassing teenagers when he was in his 30s, on his radio program to answer The Washington Post's allegations. On the show, Moore told Hannity that he did not remember dating a 14-year-old girl, and maintained that while he dated much younger women, he did so with the permission and knowledge of their parents.
But while Hannity cautioned his viewers to withhold judgment on Moore until there was more information (and resisted calling on Moore to withdraw from the race), the Fox News host earned rare praise from media figures on both sides of the aisle for what even left-leaning journalists described as a "tough" interview.
Hannity's actually doing a pretty effective job of making Moore address specific allegations in the WaPo piece https://t.co/xPiYfdsyEH— Rosie Gray (@RosieGray) November 10, 2017
It's interesting to learn that Hannity can conduct a reasonably tough and newsy interview if he cares to.— Josh Barro (@jbarro) November 10, 2017
Had doubts, but @seanhannity is not doing a bad job pressing Moore on all the allegations.— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) November 10, 2017
Some conspiracy-minded media figures even suggested that the interview was so tough, it indicated that the White House itself was displeased with Moore, and had instructed Hannity to lay into the embattled former judge.
But strangely, as soon as Hannity signed off, a leftist campaign began, designed to pressure Hannity's advertisers into abandoning the prime time host. Just as Hannity was reaping praise for his meticulous Roy Moore interview, Media Matters for America president, Angelo Carusone, was on social media sending demands to individual advertisers that they indicate their lack of support for a "child molester" by pulling their ads from Hannity's show.
Good afternoon @Keurig. You are currently sponsoring Sean Hannity's show. He defends child molester Roy Moore and attacks women who speak out against sexual harassment. Please reconsider.— Angelo Carusone (@GoAngelo) November 10, 2017
MMFA receives millions of dollars in funding from billionaire leftist George Soros — a fact the organization itself no longer bothers to hide. Its only goal is "to hold Fox News accountable for the false and misleading information they so often broadcast," according to George Soros himself. They serve that goal, at least recently, by going after individual Fox News hosts.
Carusone got quick results. Keurig immediately pulled their ads, followed closely by Realtor.com, which referenced MMFA (Media Matters for America) in their "apology" tweet.
While we continually strategize on where we advertise on and offline, we are not currently, and will not be running TV ads on Hannity. @mmfa— realtor.com (@realtordotcom) November 11, 2017
Carusone then went after Ford.
Good afternoon @Ford. Cadillac and many other companies removed their ads from Hannity's show, but Ford still sponsors him. He is now defending child molester Roy Moore and attacking women that speak out. Please reconsider.— Angelo Carusone (@GoAngelo) November 10, 2017
And clothing retailer ScotteVest.
Good afternoon @scottevest. Your ads have run on Sean Hannity's program. Many companies have ceased sponsoring his show, especially in light of his recent defense of child molester Roy Moore. Please reconsider your ads. cc @ScottevestCEO— Angelo Carusone (@GoAngelo) November 10, 2017
Other members of the "Resistance" quickly caught on, and using an MMFA-published list of Hannity's advertisers, they engaged in a multi-front pressure campaign, harassing companies on social media until they agreed to pull Hannity advertising.
The result appears to have been catastrophic. But if you're scratching your head as to why Media Matters chose now to launch their campaign against Hannity, you're not alone. It turns out, MMFA has been after Hannity for a while — and Roy Moore just posed a unique opportunity for the "watchdog" group to ride the wave of sexual harassment finger-pointing, and wash out a longtime opponent.
The Media Matters advertiser document is actually from May, and has a somewhat anachronistic introductory paragraph.
Sean Hannity is a professional propagandist for President Donald Trump, as well as a bigot, a sexist, and a conspiracy theorist. 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.
The May effort was, initially, somewhat successful — it got military insurance company USAA, among others, to drop advertising off Hannity's show — but quickly backfired. Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog group, fired back at USAA, pointing out that the same company supported other political talkers, including MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
Faced with an ultimatum — pull all political ads or face allegations of political favoritism — USAA reinstated its Hannity advertising. Media Matters' efforts ultimately failed.
Now, the opportunistic leftists are simply trying again, and because the timing is right, they're finding some limited success.
Conservatives say they're firing back — and they should.