Conservative groups are going on the offensive following the near takedown of Fox News host Sean Hannity and are pledging to use an “army” of activists to stop the left-wing media’s attempts at character assassination.
“Every network and cable news channel is today on notice that the MRC will be closely monitoring their leftist opinion programs and informing their advertisers and the American public when these programs and hosts go beyond political commentary and engage in smear, hate, and political extremism,” Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center said on Wednesday in announcing his organization’s launch of a new campaign.
“The far Left has lost its mind in the wake of President Donald Trump’s historic victory, and they are lashing out in an attempt to undermine his presidency and silence his allies.”
The campaign is targeting 10 television shows, including six on MSNBC: “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, “Politics Nation” with Al Sharpton, “All In” with Chris Hayes, “AM Joy” with Joy Reid, “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell, and “The Rachel Maddow Show,” as well as the CNN shows “Anderson Cooper 360°,” “CNN Tonight” with Don Lemon, “Reliable Sources” (hosted by Brian Stelter), and “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”
“Every time one of their on-air personalities go beyond political commentary and engage in smear and hate, we are going to unleash an army of activists to contact these advertisers by phone and through social media to ask them why they are advertising on programs that are so biased, repulsive, and morally bankrupt,” said Bozell.
It’s a change of tune for the organization Bozell founded in 1987, which has focused on research, posting their findings online, but not usually with calls to action.
“Because I’m sick and tired of these left-wing assassination campaigns,” Bozell told LifeZette on Wednesday. “We’re going to respond once and for all.”
The new spirit of fight on the right is coming from several corners, and is fueled by an anger at the bullying tactics of leftists who have set out to silence all conservative and libertarian voices.
Last week, after news broke that first Cars.com, and then USAA, a company that provides insurance and other services to thousands of veterans, were pulling ads from Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show after he pursued the story of Seth Rich’s murder, the Tea Party Patriots, the largest Tea Party group in the country, sprang into action.
Jenny Beth Martin, the head of the group, sent out emails to her thousands of members, asking them to call both Cars.com and USAA.
“A new attack on our First Amendment rights is happening right now, and we must engage!” she wrote. “The far Left has lost its mind in the wake of President Donald Trump’s historic victory, and they are lashing out in an attempt to undermine his presidency and silence his allies … Now the deranged Left is trying to silence Fox News host Sean Hannity because he refuses to join the mainstream media pack singularly focused on tearing down President Trump … Two of Sean’s sponsors, Cars.com and USAA, have already pulled their advertisements from his show under pressure from deranged liberals — we MUST FIGHT BACK!”
Martin says more than 500 Tea Party Patriots emailed back that they’d called one or both of the companies, and some wrote that they’d canceled their insurance policies with USAA.
USAA at first said in a statement that it was withdrawing advertising from Hannity because its policy is not to advertise on opinion shows. But it was quickly pointed out that the company advertises on several other opinion shows, including on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews. On Tuesday, the company relented, and reinstated advertising on Hannity’s show and on other shows as well.
“Sean Hannity has been such a strong advocate for our values over the years…I just felt like we had to stand up,” said Martin.
Other conservative groups have sprung up as well and are joining the fight to defend Hannity and others from left-wing campaigns by Media Matters for America, co-founded by Hillary Clinton and funded by Hungarian billionaire George Soros.
One of them is the Media Equality Project, which announced its founding in a press release from New York on May 30, saying along with the Twitter hashtag “#StoptheScalpings” it will “push back against the attempt to silence those who dare to ask tough questions and pursue truth.” The group is organized by talk radio personalities Brian Maloney and Melanie Morgan.
David Brock founded Media Matters in 2004, working with Soros to end Glenn Beck’s cable TV career and get Lou Dobbs fired from CNN.
Media Matters may be better funded than all of the groups on the right put together. But money’s not all that matters, and in the age of email, Twitter and Facebook — all of them free — it may matter much less than it used to.
“They’ve got lots of money, but we’ve got a following. They don’t,” says Bozell.