The false conspiracy surrounding the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich is completely insane, to put it mildly, and it may be taking a toll on Sean Hannity’s career. He’s also going to take some time off while advertisers are starting to flee his program. Coincidence? Let’s talk it out and unpack, etc.
The Fox News’ personality gleefully promoted the theory (while claiming that he was only “investigating” it to help the Rich family, who begged him to stop) because he thought it was a great way to prove that Rich, not Russia, handed over emails to Wikileaks. And it would further follow that this would disprove any notion of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Well, the story was thoroughly debunked by Snopes, and a week later, Fox News finally retracted its online version of the Rich tale.
Hannity then freaked out on Twitter while claiming that he retracted nothing, but he stated on air that he would not be talking further (for awhile, at least) on the Rich conspiracy. Hannity insisted that this was his decision, but the fact that Fox News retracted a story — which Roger Ailes reportedly prided himself on never doing — is a big deal. The next morning, Hannity lost it on Twitter again while claiming that George Soros was funding an effort to have Media Matters (which did publish a sponsor list) lead a campaign for Hannity-advertiser desertion.
That brings us (whew!) up to the present, and Buzzfeed reports that multiple advertisers — including Peloton, Ring Casper, Leesa Sleep, Crowne Plaza Hotels — are yanking their ad buys from Hannity’s program. Cars.com also pulled out and provided this statement:
“Cars.com’s media buy strategies are designed to reach as many consumers as possible across a wide spectrum of media channels … The fact that we advertise on a particular program doesn’t mean that we agree or disagree, or support or oppose, the content. We don’t have the ability to influence content at the time we make our advertising purchase. In this case, we’ve been watching closely and have recently made the decision to pull our advertising from Hannity.”
While there’s no way to tell whether this trend shall continue, it’s not looking great for Hannity after an advertiser exodus prompted Fox News to give Bill O’Reilly the boot following his sexual harassment scandal’s acceleration. Meanwhile, Kim Guilfoyle of The Five has announced that she’ll be filling in for Hannity while he takes a few days off. He’s predictably spoken out on Twitter and said that his critics shouldn’t get too excited, since he’s simply taking an extended Memorial Day weekend (as is customary for him).
A Statement From Fox News: “Like the rest of the country, Sean Hannity is taking a vacation for Memorial Day weekend and will be back on Tuesday. Those who suggest otherwise are going to look foolish.”