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Fox News Hard-Right Talking Heads Learn Hard Lesson: Advertisers Find Them Toxic

Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity are becoming too toxic for major advertisers. (Photos: Gage Skidmore)

Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and other hard-right Fox News talking heads, who regularly traffic in conspiracy theories, outlandish claims and racist dog whistles, are becoming too toxic for a critical audience–corporate advertisers.

Sean Hannity faces advertiser boycott

Politico reported today on the latest developments that have to be raising alarms inside Fox News owner Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox.

Ingraham’s show “The Ingraham Angle,” has seen a major erosion in advertising, according to the political Web site, even though her red-meat audience is holding steady.

She’s lost more than 60 percent of her advertisers, mostly all major brands. Only 85 are left out of 229, and most of those are political ads or cheesy direct-marking pitches.

Laura Ingraham scare tactics

The erosion has continued despite the fact that Ingraham apologized for ridiculing Parkland mass-shooting survivor David Hogg after he revealed on social media that he’d received some college rejections. Hogg called for a boycott and advertisers responded.

Ingraham lost more advertisers after she compared immigrant children detention centers to summer camps.

If the numbers don’t turn around, it may be only a matter of time before her show is cancelled. The same fate befell another hard-right propagandist Glenn Beck. His show was canceled in 2011 after a similar advertising exodus.

Hannity’s show is also on the bubble. The talk show host often makes hysterical claims which turn out to be outright lies or significant distortions of fact. He has openly advocated violence, attacked gays and has bragged that he is so powerful the rules of journalism don’t apply to him, according to published reports.

Tucker Carlson veers into South Africa politics, implies it could happen here.

But advertisers have noticed. Hannity’s program has also seen a major exodus.

Each falsehood, conspiracy theory, or outburst of bigotry, usually sparks a firestorm of criticism on social media that puts advertisers in an uncomfortable spotlight. Groups like MediaMatters and MoveOn regularly push boycotts.

“This isn’t journalism. It’s fake news meant to protect Trump from very serious allegations. The only action the public can take to stop this is to boycott the principal sponsors of Fox News Corporation and Sean Hannity for promoting this garbage,” says one MoveOn petition.

Hannity’s advertisers have included Alfa Romeo, Allstate, Hyundai, Jenny Craig, John Deere, Liberty Mutual, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Nutrisystem.

Web sites and Facebook pages have also sprung up dedicated to Fox News boycotts.

“There is deep anxiety brewing that they will need to shift their clients’ ads away from Fox News before a massive controversy forces them to after causing reputation damage, wrote Angelo Carusone in MediaMatters referring to his conversations with media buyers.

Carlson has gone off the rails, lately, with overtly racist screeds and white supremacist dog whistles and McCarthy-like attacks on large tech companies.

In August, Carlson implied that racial tension over land in South Africa could happen in the United States. He said land was being seized without compensation, which never happened. Legislation to authorize such a policy was soundly defeated.

Veteran newsman Brit Hume scolded the Fox News propagandist on his own show for hate mongering. Carlson was reduced to nervous giggles by the take down.

So far there hasn’t been much let up in the right-wing venom spewing from Fox’s most toxic talking heads. Earlier this month, Carlson went off on his latest tangent; he warned that “white genocide” was possible in this country.

Meanwhile, the advertiser exodus continues.

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