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    Cracks appear in Media Matters Twitter thuggery campaign against Hannity

    Cracks appear in Media Matters Twitter thuggery campaign against Hannity

    Many of the high-profile advertisers who allegedly dropped Hannity over Roy Moore coverage say they didn’t advertise in the first place.

    Don’t think for a second that the attack on Sean Hannity’s advertiser’s led by Media Matters has anything to do with Hannity’s coverage of or interview with Roy Moore. The Moore coverage is just a pretext to carry out a plan to attack conservative media, Fox News and Hannity that has been a Media Matters project for many years, led by Angelo Carusone.

    The plan was hatched years ago, as we wrote about in 2011, Media Matters Plans “Guerrilla Warfare and Sabotage” on Fox News And Conservative Websites.

    Carusone, previously just a Media Matters and independent operative targeting conservative media such as Glenn Beck, now is President of Media Matters. David Brock, the founder of Media Matters, has branched off into other operations, including American Bridge and ShareBlue, leaving Media Matters role to be the attack dog to drive conservatives out of media.

    I detailed the background and methodology in a post last spring, Here’s why Rush survived pressure on advertisers while O’Reilly didn’t:

    Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News career now swims with the fishes.

    The conventional wisdom is that after the NY Times exposed a history of sexual harassment  settlements, and two new accusers came forward, advertisers “fled” the show, forcing the hand of News Corp and the Murdochs.

    That conventional wisdom is only partially correct — advertisers didn’t flee, they were chased away by the same organized effort as was used against Glenn Beck once upon a time, and Rush Limbaugh in 2012.

    Longtime readers will recall my extensive and groundbreaking research into the StopRush operation just after Limbaugh’s comments about Sandra Fluke in 2012, for which he apologized.

    I proved then that the operation — at least initially — was a Media Matters astroturfed assault on Limbaugh’s advertiser base, based on a pre-existing plan by Angelo Carusone, then Director of Online Strategy for Media Matters (and now President). Supposedly independent groups coordinated their efforts with Media Matters, and then tried to cover it up.

    I detailed in that post why TV programs are so vulnerable to pressure on advertisers, who are notoriously fearful of negative publicity.

    A show like Hannity has a finite and relative small universe of advertisers. Those advertisers are on Twitter, and are susceptible to being flooded with tweets accusing them of supporting racism, etc. It doesn’t take more than a few dozen people to tweet at an advertiser for the advertiser to feel like there is a mass movement against it. Even if the charges are false, the negative publicity can cause the advertiser to find non-political places to advertise.

    The methodology has played out to form with Hannity’s Moore coverage, with false claims being tweeted at advertisers that Hannity supports pedophilia.

    And as with the effort against Limbaugh, Media Matters lights the fire, and then relies on others to try to burn down the house.

    Carusone had bragged about the success of the attack on Hannity:

    Yet several of the key supposed cancellations are not what they seem.

    As with the effort against Limbaugh, advertisers who didn’t previously advertise on Hannity are being counted as cancelling advertising, while others are revisiting the position taken by the person who runs their Twitter accounts.

    The NY Times reports, Advertisers Delete Tweets Around Calls to Boycott Sean Hannity:

    Advertisers are sending mixed messages in response to calls for a boycott of Sean Hannity.

    An effort to pressure companies that advertise on Mr. Hannity’s program on Fox News appeared to gain momentum in recent days based on Twitter messages from brands including Keurig, Reddi Wip,, Nature’s Bounty and Volvo Car USA.

    But by Tuesday, those companies were clarifying — or even deleting — statements they had made on the platform that indicated they had pulled ads from Mr. Hannity’s show because of comments he made about Roy S. Moore, the embattled Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama. Those moves followed a backlash against Keurig that included fans of Mr. Hannity posting videos of themselves destroying the company’s coffee makers….

    This time, some companies have stumbled. said in a tweet over the weekend that “we are not currently, and will not be running TV ads on Hannity.” Later, it deleted the tweet and posted a statement on its website saying the company advertises across “dozens of television networks” and will continue placing ads on Fox News and its top shows.

    “Some staff didn’t realize that we have a practice of not engaging in boycotts,” a spokeswoman said of the deleted tweet. “Senior management at became aware over the weekend of the error, and the tweets were taken down Sunday and the policy was posted on our corporate website.”

    Volvo Car USA apparently responded to a tweet from a consumer on Monday to say, “We have spoken with our media agency and have advised them to cease advertising on the show.” But that message has disappeared. The company did not respond to requests for comment….

    Reddi Wip and Hebrew National, both owned by ConAgra Foods, have also been linked to the boycott after saying on Twitter that they had removed Mr. Hannity’s program from their advertising plans. But a spokeswoman said on Tuesday that the show had not been part of its media spending for “several months.”

    “We should have replied with a more thorough tweet,” Lanie Friedman, the spokeswoman, said in an email, “so people realized this was not a recent decision.”

    None of this will matter to Carusone, Media Matters, and other groups such as Sleeping Giants, which is targeting Breitbart and other conservative websites.

    The tactic will continue because it works, and there is no equivalent on the conservative side targeting liberals. It’s a one-sided war, so there is very little downside to a brand capitulating.

    Which is why one method of pushback is to raise the price to advertisers who react to Media Matters pressure tactics. As the Times reported in the link above:

    Brands may be exercising caution based on the backlash that Keurig experienced. The brand waded into a maelstrom when it said it planned to halt ads on Mr. Hannity’s show, partly because it was responding to a tweet from Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters.

    What will not work is appeasement, because it’s not about an issue or even about Sean Hannity, it’s about the war on conservative media.


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    Conservative-Author | November 15, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Hannity is causing some serious regret at Fox. In the recent past issues with Hannity pissing off advertisers and casting shade on hard news at Fox were overlooked because he brought in the bucks. The Fox bottom line though has ben eroding, and there are some long term issues that are on the horizon that advertisers are factoring into their exits from Hannity in particular, and Fox in general that has nothing to do with Moore.

    The first thing is that pyshographically the Hannity audience segment is loosing value rapidly. Wealthy and successful people are well-informed people, they cannot help be otherwise. Fox and Hannity have kept hold of an audience that does not make the money that advertisers want to see or buy the products that are worth advertising. In the place of the quality advertisers have been advertisers that feed on the gullible and ill-informed. They push outpriced gold, spurious reverse mortgages, and “Wait, There is More!” trash on innocent Republicans whose critical thinking skills have eroded by decades of talk radio. The problem is there is only so many scam in a can adverts that exist. Fox is already discussing in the inner halls how they can upgrade audiences, recognizing that their current model is loosing ground. Fox this year lost 18% of its ad revenue, which sounds normal for a non-election year, until you realize MSNBC gained a percent.

    Next, advertisers are starting to worry, and consulting firms are advising them, to prepare for the fallout that occurs when the full extent of meddling into US media by Russia becomes known in general. Conservative social media has been riddled with Russian based posting. Hannity has a habit of taking the worst of it and using it on his show like it is true. Advertisers are realizing that Hannity is a bad risk in the long term when all this comes out.

    Third, Hannity has a tendency to go after his own advertisers is they decide to temporarily pull ads from him. This won’t stop the exodus, but it will make new advertisers avoid him.

    Forth, Hannity is throwing shade on other programs by fighting with his own news. Fox news is far from a neutral source of information. I drink in a bar with a dozen producers who lament each week how many restraints they have editorially placed on them from producing good news, but they still work hard and try to get the facts straight. But when they work hard to present a true story, break it all the way through editorial, and get it on air, Hannity will come right behind them and defame their work.

    Fifth, Hannity is facing psychographic competition from Brietbart. Brietbart has slowly been taking the least critical and least empathic of his audience away. Hannity can only get them back by going lower, or by going higher and reclaiming people from the opposite side of the spectrum.

    katiejane | November 15, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Too bad the Right doesn’t wimp out when groups like Media Matters try to punish companies for advertising on conservative programs. someone always natters about how “we’re supposed to be ok with businesses doing what they want.” Meanwhile because there is no equal backlash from the Right companies figure there is no “cost” to pandering to the Left. They think they can get the good PR by appearing “woke” and the people on our side will just keep buying their product. It is a win-win for the companies.

    Phil Salvarado | November 15, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    “The tactic will continue because it works, and there is no equivalent on the conservative side targeting liberals.”

    I would take issue with that statement. While there might not be a formal conservative organization or consortium targeting Leftists (calling them “liberals” is too kind), there is real grassroots pushback. Just ask Kellogg or Target or the NFL.

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