Fighting fire with fire?
The Media Research Center, led by Brent Bozell are mimicking last weeks actions by liberal group, Media Matters for America, in threatening a boycott of sponsors of shows featured on MSNBC and CNN.
The conservative group launched on Wednesday a campaign to inundate corporate sponsors with complaints whenever top liberal television talk-show host show hosts “go beyond political commentary and engage in smear, hate and political extremism.”
It was Media Matters that led the charge to pressure sponsors to flee Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” and eventually resulted in the firing of the long-running, popular personality, Bill O’Reilly.
O’Reilly lost around 100 sponsors in the effort.
So successful was it, that Media Matters came back for a second bite at the apple last week. This time, they targeted Sean Hannity’s sponsors over Hannity’s refusal to back away from an internet hoax surrounding the murder of a young Democratic National Committee staffer, Seth Rich, who was murdered in Washington D.C. last year.
An internet huckster and notorious self-promoter floated the idea that Rich was the actual source of the leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks, and that because of it, the DNC and the Clinton family had Rich murdered.
It’s an absolutely fantastical tale, and has proven to be quite painful for the Rich family.
They pleaded with Fox News to stop perpetuating the smear of their son’s name. Fox, in return, pulled the story from their website and issued a retraction.
Hannity balked at first, but eventually did agree that, out of respect for the Rich family, he would stop promoting that particular hoax.
Unfortunately, he’s picked it back up this week, but for a few days, he was quiet.
In that time, because of pressure from Media Matters, Hannity lost around seven sponsors.
After a counter campaign by his supporters, USAA came back.
“Today we are putting ten shows, and their major corporate sponsors on notice that we are watching their every move,” said MRC president Brent Bozell in a press release.
The 10 programs include six airing on MSNBC and four on CNN.
On MSNBC, the targeted shows are hosted by MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, Chris Matthews, Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Joy Reid. On CNN, the hosts are Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Brian Stelter and Fareed Zakaria.
How successful those efforts will be remains to be seen. Since dropping to a 17-year low in ratings, there may very well be a sense of urgency with Fox News personalities to harness the power of the boycott, and the Media Research Center are happy to help them out.