In a really good Facebook post from Steve Deace, he goes through the history of talk radio advertising in an effort to explain just why it is that the left-wing is going after Sean Hannity.
And he says it’s NOT because he’s conservative, as Hannity claims over and over.
The Left has been going after talk radio/conservative media for years. This is a topic I have intimate knowledge of, because it’s where I have worked for over a decade. Here’s what’s really happening:
The Left first tried targeting conservative talk radio advertisers in the 1990s, especially after the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress. However, those efforts were largely unsuccessful because the ratings were so high and money talked.
In 2012, two things converged: PPMs mass replaced Arbitron ratings books for a more accurate, but still flawed, assessment of who’s listening to what; Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut” on the air to help ignite the phony “war on women” meme.
PPMs found talk radio’s audience was still large, but not quite as massive as originally thought, as several heritage AM radio stations carrying it saw estimates of their listenership drop. And when Limbaugh handed the Left that grenade it was like ESPN going hyper-Left while people are cord-cutting. We were already struggling to convince advertisers to remain paying big rates, but now they had another reason to say no with all the “war on women” political heat.
In fact, in 2013 I attended a Talkers Magazine convention, and listened to Rush’s national sales manager give an entire presentation on this very event and its impact.
Since then, if you’re a talk radio listener you’ve likely noticed a massive increase in Gold distributors, doom prepping companies, and affinity advertising (such as other conservative-friendly institutions/endeavors) as being the predominant advertisers for conservative talk radio. All legit companies, and I’ve been proud to promote several of them for sure. But gone are the days GM buys ads on Rush Limbaugh to promote they didn’t take TARP bailout money. Blue-blood companies like that are likely never directly buying conservative talk radio ads again, regardless of how many listen.
Now the technology has changed, too. People are listening more and more on demand and via podcast instead of terrestrial. The incoming generation has all but abandoned terrestrial means of distribution for anything systemically. So advertisers have another excuse not to buy, because the listenership is more splintered then ever before. This is why Clear Channel became iHeart media, for example, to try and get ahead of the curve on the technology. By the way, iHeart Media’s CEO just said that company may be insolvent unless they can get $14 BILLION in loans forgiven this year. iHeart media is the parent company of Premier, which syndicates Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, etc.
We are now an industry in transition, trying to figure out how to monetize our product given these new realities. That’s why entities like The Blaze, Daily Wire, and CRTV (my employer) have sprouted up. To avoid dealing with pressure upon advertisers, or from your bosses too closely aligned with the GOP, to just sell their product directly to consumers. Both to monetize the content, but also free up the content provider to speak their mind without pressure. This model is as free market as it gets. If you want our content, you buy it. If you don’t, we go under and don’t survive.
As an aside, one thing to keep an eye on is recent news of Fox’s ratings and Breitbart’s site traffic in decline. Is this a sign people are tired of defending Trump at all costs, or just temporary hiccups. We’ll soon find out.
All of this is important for you to understand if you truly want to understand what is going down here. What’s going down here is not necessarily some new targeting of conservative media, but a continuation of what’s been happening for decades now. We just have some big names behaving in ways that helps the haters hit their marks.
O’Reilly gave up conservatism a long time ago, if he ever was really a conservative. He’s gone because the heat was on advertisers for his alleged improprieties with women, not because of his political opinions. And most media buyers for advertisers are women.
Hannity is not being targeted because he’s a conservative. He’s being targeted because he’s a conservative who embarrassed his company pursuing a phony conspiracy theory, over a grieving family’s public wishes, which forced his parent company to retract its own coverage.
Tucker Carlson right now is to the right of where O’Reilly was when he was let go, so why isn’t he being actively targeted? Because he’s not done anything stupid from a personal character standpoint to expose himself, that’s why.
The Left is always coming after us, that’s the game. We know they tolerate everything except that which they disagree with. But so far the only people they’ve successfully (and supposedly) taken out are people who have aided and abetted their own demise. So they certainly helped to take out themselves.
Just as Trump is being unfairly targeted by the liberal media, for sure, but also enables their targeting with his own behavior.
Fox News paid out millions of dollars for incidents relating to Ailes and O’Reilly for a reason. Doubtful that reason was just feeling charitable. Nobody made Hannity embarrass himself. In fact, many pleaded with him to stop but nonetheless he persisted.
My boss at CRTV, Mark Levin, might even be to the right of me on some things. And he’s certainly the most fiery broadcaster of any I’ve mentioned. Why haven’t they taken him out? Because he hasn’t showed his arse to give them a target.
The moral of the story: you can’t do anything about the environment, but you can do something about how you choose to behave within it.
Chris Stirewalt had a great analogy similar to this – people say that Hitler was done in by the Russian winter in WW2, but guess what buddy? There’s a Russian winter every year. You can’t whine and complain about circumstances set against you when you know beforehand they’re set against you. You gotta hit it and prevail. Instead, Hannity tried to score a “killshot” against the narrative that Russia might have hacked the DNC, and exposed his jugular to the left. Fortunately for him, there’s very little blood flow to his brain, so their strikes won’t hurt much….
This gives me the opportunity to post a great video of Deacy talking about the Comey firing. Check it out:
Meanwhile, today there’s a report that Hannity’s gone into hiding and is considering leaving Fox News.