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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