Editor’s Note: This article originally noted that Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity have watched advertisers flee following their hateful attacks against the American public. After speaking with Fox News we updated the headline and story to reflect the networks focus on profits over behavior. READ ON…
As Fox News continues to play what feels like the role of state news network for President Donald Trump, major blue chip advertisers and even some smaller players have run for the door.
A report from Gabriel Sherman in Vanity Fair found Fox News was struggling to sell advertising slots for both their 9 PM and 10 PM respective programs.
Fox News ranks as the number one most watched news network in May 2018 after struggling in 2017 to monetize its mostly pro-Trump programming.
Three separate sources claim Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham are experiencing drastic decreases in ad spend over several months, according to Vanity Fair.
Fox News has been playing a dangerous balancing act between supporting its pro-Trump agenda and luring in new business. In October 2017, ad revenue was down 17% year-over-year. Other news networks experienced fairly stable ad revenue year-over-year.
UPDATE: Fox News emailed HillReporter.com after this article was published and asked that we included the following statement also found within the Vanity fair article. Fox News president of ad sales Marianne Gambelli told the publication: “Fox News is in the middle of a record year both in ratings and ad sales and Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham have the highest rated shows in cable news.” This information was not included in our original post.
As Sean Hannity continues to rely more heavily on pro-Trump rhetoric, he has come under increased scrutiny for what the left views as spreading fake news and offering little in way of an apology when his lies are uncovered.
Hannity’s alleged outright lies have become so extreme that Media Matters felt the need to launch a campaign to educate Americans about advertisers on his program. The company’s president Angelo Carusone wrote in October:
Mostly driven by concerns around digital advertising, companies are becoming increasingly mindful about brand safety and intentionality in that advertising. And that mindfulness is starting to influence other advertising decisions as well, like television sponsorships.
Hannity, a supposed consultant to President Trump, is often touted by the President on the @RealDonaldTrump twitter handle.
Hannity’s worst offense may have arrived in late 2017 when he threw his full support behind Roy Moore, a suspected pedophile known for regularly courting underage women. 23 and Me, Realtor.com and Nature’s Bounty immediately pulled their ads and others followed in the days and weeks to come.
After Media Matters launched a campaign over Hannity’s support for Roy Moore, Keurig pulled its advertising which led to a hilarious moment in which Trump supporters filmed themselves destroying their Keurig coffeemakers.
Laura Ingraham in the meantime has been shown to be racist and sexist while spreading her own brand of fear mongering related mostly to immigrants. Ingraham even managed to get into a famous dispute with LeBron James when he voiced his own political views and she told him to just “shut up and dribble.”
After attacking Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg on Twitter, 24 advertisers immediately pulled the plug on Ingraham’s show. She quickly apologized but her tweet was seen as nothing more than a desperate attempt to hold on to the company’s that allow her to earn millions from her audience every year.
Brand safety has become a chief concern among many digital brands and that may soon leak into the programming standards at Fox News which are obviously suffering from brand fears over how their products are represented to the average American.
End Note: We were asked by Fox News to re-consider our headline which simply stated that advertisers were fleeing from Hannity and Ingraham. We feel the new headline more accurately reflects that conversation along with Fox News’ response to the profits correction. Ingraham’s attacks on David Hogg and Hannity’s support for Roy Moore received zero requests for a change in dialog surrounding their actions, a telling sign of the acceptance Fox News has given for the actions of their celebrity personalities.
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James Kosur is the former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter. He recently served as an editor for Business Insider and various other publications. James and his partners sold Hill Reporter to a new owner in July 2019.