Fox News moved their most popular host, Sean Hannity, to their flagship 9 pm slot to compete with MSNBC star Rachel Maddow, but a new study found that the network’s ad revenues plummeted after the move.
According to Media Matters, Hannity’s shameless Trump promotion and often straight-up propaganda are eating into the network’s bottom line.
Fox News’ ad revenue dipped 17 percent in September after the network moved Hannity. During the same time, MSNBC’s ad revenue ticked up two percent, while CNN’s ad revenues declined by one percent.
Media Matters’ Angelo Carusone notes that the massive drop “can’t be attributed merely to normal market fluctuations.”
“If the market as a whole was the primary cause, then you’d see larger changes at CNN and MSNBC too,” he wrote. “Accordingly, this massive loss indicates that there are other factors unique to Fox that are driving the drop.”
That factor appears to be fleeing advertisers who are uncomfortable with Hannity’s show becoming America’s Sputnik propaganda network.
Media Matters found that advertisers began to leave when Hannity took it upon himself to push a conspiracy theory that the murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich in July 2016 was tied to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, receiving backlash from Rich’s family, journalists, and even his own Fox colleagues.
As the months went on, Hannity grew more extreme as his dear leader continued to come under assault by facts and decency. Cadillac announced they would no longer advertise on his show. Media Matters reported that over a dozen other companies stopped advertising on his show.
“The timing of Fox News’ massive ad revenue loss lines up almost exactly with Hannity’s loss of advertisers. It’s safe to say that it’s more than mere coincidence. They’re connected,” Carusone wrote.
“Sean Hannity is costing Fox News,” he explained. “Fox News accepts this either out of the goodness of its executives’ hearts, or, more likely, because the network prioritizes advancing a political agenda and Hannity helps advance that agenda. Those political priorities create an additional contributing factor to Fox News’ revenue drop: the bigotry, vitriol, lies, and rank partisan machinations that have come to define Fox News’ brand.”
The advertising losses will surely irk the Murdochs as they try to move on from the disaster of Bill O’Reilly and Eric Bolling’s sexual harassment scandals, as well as the loss of their favorite punching bag – President Obama. But Hannity’s on-air colleagues are also growing increasingly uncomfortable and vocal about the direction his coverage has taken.
Fox News anchor Chris Wallace recently complained that the “opinion side” of the network – Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson – are undercutting the network’s actual news division, which includes the likes of Wallace, Shep Smith, and Bret Baier.
“It bothers me,” Wallace told The Associated Press of Hannity and Co.’s embrace of Trump’s “fake news” propaganda.
“If they want to say they like Trump, or that they’re upset with the Democrats, that’s fine,” Wallace continued. “That’s opinion. That’s what they do for a living.”
“I don’t like them bashing the media, because oftentimes what they’re bashing is stuff that we on the news side are doing,” he added. “I don’t think they recognize that they have a role at Fox News and we have a role at Fox News. I don’t know what’s in their head. I just think it’s bad form.”