The movement to fire Sean Hannity is picking up steam in light of recent allegations that claim Fox News collaborated with President Donald Trump and his administration to concoct a conspiracy theory that blamed Democratic operatives for the 2016 murder of Seth Rich, who was walking home from a bar in Washington, D.C. when he was killed, Newsweek reports.
The Truth Closes In On Hannity
Now, private investigator Rod Wheeler has filed a lawsuit that alleges Fox News and the White House used him to give legitimacy to the theory that Rich was killed for providing Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails to WikiLeaks. In his complaint, Wheeler says this was intended to ameliorate the mounting pressure of the investigation alleged collusion between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign staff.
There has never been any credible evidence to suggest the slain 27-year-old had any contact with WikiLeaks, but that didn’t stop Hannity from spending a good deal of time promoting this conspiracy theory.
This prompted Media Matters for America, a liberal watchdog organization, to launch an online campaign to pressure advertisers to stop sponsoring Hannity’s program. A similar strategy effectively dethroned Bill O’Reilly earlier this year, leading, in part, to his departure from Fox News.
And the site Fire Hannity is growing rapidly, suggesting efforts to dethrone him are definitely increasing, which is interesting because this is happening without help from Media Matters. The site was founded by the Democratic Coalition.
Talking to Newsweek, the coalition’s Executive Director, Nate Lerner, in reference to Hannity’s coverage of the Rich murder, said:
“I absolutely believe he knowingly used false info and quotes to enhance his story.”
While Fox News has retracted the online story that spurred Hannity’s reporting and is the center of Wheeler’s lawsuit, network executives have denied charges that quotes were fabricated. And they have continued to support Hannity, who hasn’t reported on the case since late May, even though he told his viewers more “updates” would follow.
Fire Hannity launched in mid-June and recently re-launched itself on the social media, and it’s using the same playbook that resulted in O’Reilly’s firing last spring, when a groundswell of sexual misconduct allegations brought decades of impropriety into the spotlight.
Lerner knows what he wants to happen:
“Our goal is for Hannity to meet the same fate as O’Reilly.”
And he has lots of ammunition. Lerner is plans to facilitate this with a comprehensive list of Hannity’s advertisers, including contact information and social media handles, in the hopes of fomenting a grassroots campaign that will push advertisers into dropping Hannity like a hot potato.
While advertisers might flee the building, Hannity has another problem: His show’s nightly ratings are being steadily clobbered by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, Adweek reports.
Traffic for Fire Hannity has ignited rather slowly, with about 100,000 visitors since mid-June. But visitors to the site have tripled to 6,000 in August, and that suggests there’s definitely interest in a boycott alongside Wheeler’s lawsuit. But social media visibility is even more important than website traffic. Fortunately, #FireHannity sparked a trend on Twitter earlier this week. Lerner added that his organization didn’t pay to promote any of the tweets and said that as a trend, #FireHannity was “entirely organic.”
But some prominent anti-Trump voices on the social media giant helped jump-start things a bit. These voices included Scott Dworkin and Jon Cooper. Both are prominent members of the Democratic Coalition.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) August 3, 2017
Other Twitter users expressed their thoughts on canning Hannity:
— Molly Jong☠️Fast (@MollyJongFast) August 3, 2017
Attacking Mueller is not American.
Mueller is a patriot. Hannity' s a liar. pic.twitter.com/N6PtoySAVW
— BeSeriousUSA (@BeSeriousUSA) August 3, 2017
Lerner said the combined efforts of Media Matters and Fire Hannity, has resulted in the Fox News host losing about 14 out of 150 advertisers since last spring. Now he wants to go after more “familiar” brands that are still advertising on Hannity’s show. Brands like Nissan, Capital One, and DIRECTTV, to name a few.
“Sean Hannity and Fox News have the right to say whatever they want, but that doesn’t entitle them to support and money from advertisers. We are holding Hannity, Fox News and their advertisers accountable for their actions and words.”
Let’s hope something positive comes from this. The murder of Seth Rich has continually fueled the right-wing rumor mill that continues to claim operatives associated with Hillary Clinton’s campaign killed him because he was handing over information to WikiLeaks, thus absolving the Trump campaign colluding with Russia so that Trump would win. There is absolutely no credible evidence that this has happened, and what’s worse, is that it takes the media’s attention away from crucial things that really are happening.
Like the disease of racism that’s spreading like a virus across the U.S., fueled by the rise of Trump and the white supremacists who now think they have permission to act out because he is president. Or the fact that many people in the LGBT community do not feel safe under Trump because he has rolled back protections for them.
And these two problems are merely the tip of the iceberg with him as president.
Removing Sean Hannity from the limelight would help to relieve the blind spot we seem to be suffering from. With the combined efforts of Lerner, and Wheeler with his lawsuit, this may happen sooner, rather than later.
It will serve Sean Hannity right.
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