Backlash: Americans Stand Up for Sean Hannity | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Backlash: Americans Stand Up for Sean Hannity
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Enough is enough.

Five years ago, this space featured two back-to-back columns titled “Rally for Rush” and “The Plot to Get Rush.” The focus was a serious attempt by the far-left, race-card playing site Media Matters to force Rush Limbaugh from the airwaves by pressuring his sponsors to cease their connection with the show. The attack on Rush (over the Sandra Fluke incident) would fail — and it failed for one big reason. That would be Rush’s audience, which did in fact rally for Rush by directly contacting the handful of withdrawing sponsors to let them know that as customers of their products they would be no longer. One departing sponsor saw its stock dive, another begged to return (Rush said no) and most importantly Rush sailed on.

This time? This time the Media Matters target is Sean Hannity. In what should serve as a serious warning to sponsors who play these games and let themselves be gulled by left-wing social media bullies — now it is Hannity’s audience that is up in arms and fighting back. And specifically it is that section of the Hannity audience that uses the sponsored products.

One of those sponsors is USAA — the United Services Automobile Association Yes, that USAA, the insurance company for military members and their families that has been around since 1922. One would think that of all the sponsors that would never in a nano-second let itself be intimidated by the far-left Media Matters bullies — an outfit that was funded by leftist financier George Soros and run by Hillary Clinton acolyte David Brock- it would be a company devoted to the interests of military members.

But alas, not so. As philly.comthe online site for the Philadelphia Daily News, reported:

USAA pulled its ads from the show after left-leaning media watchdog Media Matters shared a list of companies that currently advertise on Hannity’s show, a move he described as a “kill shot” intended to force him off Fox News.

The backlash was immediate. Hannity’s audience and USAA customers have a very decided trait in common — hardly surprising that often-enough they are one and the same. Take a look at this response from one veteran who was both a USAA member and a Hannity audience member:

Marvin Dickson Newman: I just got a call back from “Danny” from CEO Relations. He said that it is USAA’s “policy” not to advertise on opinion shows and that their ads on Sean Hannity were a goof-up. I asked for a copy of the policy and when was it implemented. He said the policy is not to give that out. I asked for a copy of a list of all the programs they had advertised on in the past six months. Their policy is not to give that out. Since they claim that the timing of the pulling of the adds had nothing to do with the media matters war on Sean I asked them how long they had been advertising on SH Show. You guessed it. Their policy is not to give that information out. Danny would not give me his last name and refused to pass the phone up to someone who could tell me the obvious truth: They caved. I took out $$ today and will continue the process of cancelling all my accounts with them. Not just because of their “policy” but because of the disrespect with which they are treating the entire Vet community. God bless our military and God bless the USA. (but not USAA)

Mr. Newman is no fool. In a style worthy of Hannity himself he pushed and pushed into the fog of PR that was covering for a colossal corporate mistake. And drew exactly the obvious conclusion — USAA had shamefully caved to Media Matters. The company that makes much of catering to America’s military heroes was confronted by the bullies of a George Soros fantasy — and turned and ran. Wow.

Now. All this controversy, as expected in this age of what Hannity calls “liberal fascism” run wild, has forced Media Matters to come forth from its dungeons to explain. Note well this sentence from that story in the Philadelphia Daily News:

But Media Matters president Angelo Carusone has said his organization isn’t pushing for an advertiser boycott.

“[Advertisers are] ultimately leaving because of what the Seth Rich controversy and story represents, which is Sean Hannity’s volatility,” Carusone said on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s The National on Friday.

Notice the casual aside about “Sean Hannity’s volatility”? Which is presented as nothing more than a factual assessment by Mr. Carusone? When in fact it is Carusone’s considered and decidedly far-left opinion? And as to his response that Media Matters is not pushing for an advertiser boycott of Hannity? Baloney. This is longstanding practice for both Media Matters and Carusone.

There is a reason Carusone is the one in the spotlight here, and make no mistake, there is nothing innocent going on with him.

In that second article of mine in 2012 on The Plot to Get Rush, I noted that the ring leader in this “Get Rush” episode already had plans — as far back as 2010, now a full seven years ago — to be “mounting similar campaigns targeting… Sean Hannity…” Who was I talking about? That’s right. You guessed it. None other than Mr. Carusone was plotting seven years ago how to drive Sean Hannity off the airwaves. And he quite proudly was willing to say so. Let’s take a look at some of what I wrote about in 2012:

Lots to cover here.

Let’s start with Mr. Angelo Carusone.

Who is Angelo Carusone? Today he is now the “Director of Online Strategy for Media Matters for America.”

But a few years back? He was just your basic left-wing law student with a standard left-wing passion. That passion? Totalitarian-style censorship.

… The starting date for this latest in a long line of fear-inducing leftists — was, according to Angelo Carusone himself, “late 2009 and early 2010.”

… Got that?

In other words, a full two-plus years before Sandra Fluke ever appeared on the anti-religious liberty scene, Commissar Carusone (what other title is more fitting for a self-styled free speech monitor?) was hatching the plot to “Stop Rush.” In the world of Internet domains, Carusone even had it registered as “Stop Rush.org.”

Modeled after Carusone’s earlier successful campaign to… yes, indeed… Stop Beck.

Take a gander here at Legal Insurrectionhere at the Blaze, and here at the Village Voice to see how Carusone quite candidly goes about his self-appointed task as one of the revolutionary guards in the American Left’s Political Police.

How does Carusone’s storm trooper game work?

What does Media Matters do?

Remember. Angelo Carusone was going after Glenn Beck several years ago as a free-lancing leftist law student. His activities caught the attention of Media Matters, where Commissar Carusone is now officially ensconced as the group’s “Director of Online Strategy.”

Let’s carefully comb through the record of Mr. Carusone in these various stories — plus this Carusone interview here at a site called Raw Story. In which, on June 2, 2010, distinctly unknown in the national media at the time, the then-law student describes in detail what he is up to.

And let’s add something else into this mix. Commissar Carusone, as noted, is now officially a direct employee of Media Matters.

Recently the Daily Caller did a highly illuminating series on Media Matters. A series that revealed an out-of-control leftist machine filled with gazillions of leftist Big Money, headed by a man (Hillary Clinton loyalist David Brock) described as exhibiting “volatile and erratic” behavior who “struggles with mental illness” while parading around with the security entourage worthy “of a Third World dictator.”

So let’s add 2 plus 2 and see what 4 equals, shall we?

We will carefully list the tactics admitted to by Commissar Carusone himself. And add what the Daily Caller has reported about Media Matters. Remembering that the Commissar now works for Media Matters.

Here we go.

I will shorten here, but the list of tactics included:

*Disrupt relationships with sponsors

  • Methodically Catalogue Results of Smear and Fear Campaign
  • Propagandize the media

* Use the Social Media

This is, of course, exactly what is being done to USAA and all the other Hannity sponsors right now. A full seven years after Carusone laid out his game plan in which he quite openly boasted that he had Sean Hannity in his sights.

Carusone has never been shy about explaining his tactics or his intentions. As the Daily Caller explained in 2014:

REVEALED: Conspiracy To Destroy Rush Limbaugh Is Small, Organized, Deceptive

The DC piece read in part, bold print supplied:

The recent campaign to silence conservative radio legend Rush Limbaugh is led by ten liberal activists engaged in a more than four-year long effort to destroy Limbaugh by targeting his advertisers, including a Media Matters executive vice president.

A former Kent State university professor even targeted a small businessman advertising on Limbaugh’s show using her official university email account.

Information compiled by Limbaugh’s team — and first provided to The Daily Caller — demonstrates that nearly 70 percent of the tweets targeting Limbaugh’s advertisers come from the same ten Twitter users, all of whom are actively involved in the “Stop Rush” campaign, which keeps a database of all of Limbaugh’s advertisers.

… The activists even use technology to “machine-tweet” anti-Rush comments in robotic fashion to ensure maximum Twitter exposure for their insular group’s efforts.

“Angelo Carusone is the self-acknowledged originator and head of the StopRush protest, in his professional role as executive vice president of Media Matters for America,” Limbaugh spokesman Brian Glicklich told TheDC. “But since they prefer it look grassroots and made up of real customers, he faded into the background long ago, reemerging only this week as he senses the danger of this illicit scheme being exposed for the fiction at its heart.”

Once Carusone started to edge into the spotlight, then-Daily Caller reporter Patrick Howley discovered the deadly sin of the Internet age. The man who loved to strike fear into the hearts of sponsors had once had a blog himself. Wrote Howley after looking at the posts made by Carusone:

A top executive at Media Matters for America and the principal activist in the “Stop Rush” campaign made racist and anti-Semitic comments and disparaged “trannies” on a dormant blog that he wrote just several years prior to his prominent liberal activism career.

Blog entries reviewed by The Daily Caller show that Angelo Carusone made derogatory remarks about ethnic groups and used language to insult “trannies” and ugly “gays” that would be considered hate speech by his own organization.

Got that? Media Matters calls Hannity “bigoted, sexist.” The apparent idea in doing so is not simply to falsely smear Hannity. He would have no audience if that were the case. After 30 years in the business, his audience knows the truth is emphatically the opposite. No, what’s not-so-cleverly done here is to have Media Matters smear Hannity with descriptives  that are plainly labeled by the Daily Caller as coming from Media Matters exec Carusone himself. Descriptives caught by the Daily Caller that are portrayed as “racist and anti-Semitic comments” and that also “disparaged ‘trannies.’”

Hello? USAA…and nervous Hannity sponsors…are you paying attention? Departing Hannity sponsors with names like cars.com , Peloton (an at-home cycling business), Crowne Plaza Hotels, and Leesa Sleep and the rest? Are you seriously happy to be jumping into a political dispute with an organization whose executive pushing you has been described as having “made racist and anti-Semitic comments and disparaged ‘trannies’”? Really? Wow.

Noteworthy? To see how some of these sponsors play a clever game? Crowne Plaza Hotels issued this statement:

We do not advertise on Fox News, Hannity or any political commentary show. We have a specific do not advertise list for this type of programming. Unfortunately, our expectation to adhere to this list was not met by a third-party agency. Since we learned of the airings, we addressed the issue immediately and terminated our relationship with the agency. We have no plans to advertise on Fox News for the foreseeable future.

See? They are so non-political. Honest!!!! Really? Before you swallow this politically pure-as-the-driven snow explanation from Crowne Plaza? Know that the hotel chain is owned by InterContinental Hotels Group. And on the board of the IHG sits a director named Anne Busquet. As her bio attests, she is quite an accomplished professional. Good for her. But as her bio doesn’t mention, this director of the oh-so-non-political IHG is, shall we say, a tad more political than that statement from Crowne allows. A quick check over at the Federal Election Commission reveals that in reality this company that tells you its wants to steer clear of the controversial Sean Hannity has a director in Busquet who, between 1997 and 2016, was like iron-filings-to-the magnet-of-controversy in the world of liberal campaign contributions. In fact, Busquet made 15 campaign contributions that included four to Hillary Clinton (for both the Senate and president), one to Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, and another couple to the left-wing Emily’s List. In fact, Busquet splurged a total of $23,500 in all her contributions, with as near as can be seen, not a Hannity-style conservative or Republican on the list. In fact, every last contribution was made to the loudly vocal opponents of — hmmm — Sean Hannity.

And over at the aforementioned USAA? There we learn that the USAA — horrified by being tainted with a political connection — has one retired Air Force General Lester L. Lyles serving as the chairman of its board of directors. The general has a distinguished military record, for which the country owes him a debt of gratitude. But as with the case of the IHG, all is not as it seems. If one runs the General’s name through the FEC mill one finds that the suddenly Hannity-shy USAA has serving as the chairman of its board a man who was less-than-shy when it came to entering the presidential candidate-funding fray. Which he has done only twice: once to give Barack Obama a thousand bucks in 2008 and a second time to give Hillary Clinton the same in 2016.

In other words? Buyer beware of sponsors who protest that their withdrawal from Hannity sponsorship is because they hate politics — when in fact their officers or directors are quietly funding campaigns for the most prominent liberals in the land.

As mentioned, before there was the move to get Rush Limbaugh off the air in 2012 and now Sean Hannity off the air in 2017, Angelo Carusone had set his sights on Glenn Beck, then a Fox TV host. In a world that did not yet understand how this “threaten the sponsors” game was being played, Beck was indeed removed from the air by Fox. In 2013, the Daily Caller reported this of the thrill generated by the Get Beck victory scored by Carusone: The headline:

Media Matters VP thanks fan for offering to ‘blow’ him for anti-Glenn Beck campaign 

The article said, in part, this:

Media Matters vice president Angelo S. Carusone thanked a slobbering fan on Monday for offering to “blow” him for his role in pressuring Fox News Channel to part ways with Glenn Beck in 2011.

… “Oh, I’m sure I could give you plenty of other reasons. But nevertheless, much appreciated,” Carusone wrote back.

There’s more. But in essence, it is to this world view that USAA — and other sponsors — surrender as they departed from Hannity sponsorship.

Let’s cut to the chase here. This latest effort to target Sean Hannity is in fact about more than Hannity, as it was about more than Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. Take a look here.

Over at the Media Research Center (full disclosure: I write a column for the MRC’s NewsBusters site), attention was correctly called to USAA’s sponsorships on the left-wing MSNBC. The Washington Times headlined that:

USAA will reportedly pull ads from MSNBC after dumping Fox News’s Sean Hannity

The Times story say in part:

… the conservative Media Research Center pointed out that USAA had failed to pull its ads on shows hosted by liberal MSNBC commentators Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Chris Matthews.

“Do they somehow think ‘Hardball’ is not an ‘opinion show?” asked Tim Graham, MRC’s director of media analysis, on NewsBusters.

Mr. Graham said that USAA’s brand “is all about support for veterans… and they’re turning on Sean Hannity?”

“For years, Hannity has donated his time and his celebrity to promoting ‘Freedom Concerts’ to raise money for the Freedom Alliance, which gives scholarships to the children of slain soldiers,” said Mr. Graham. “Is that really the way the USAA demonstrates its support for veterans?”

The answer, of course, is a decided no.

It is beyond irony that a group devoted to veterans and the U.S. military seems to be clueless as to exactly what those very military personnel are fighting for. Over at its site USAA boasts that “we bring… its [the military’s] values to our service.” And what are the values of the U.S. military? They would include, of course, the very basics of America itself: freedom and liberty. And as quite specifically expressed in the First Amendment to the Constitution, that would include the right to free speech.

Note well that the attack that Mr. Carusone and Media Matters have launched on Hannity has now swung back to bite MSNBC and its liberal hosts. Which is to say there is abroad in the land the very, very dangerous virus of liberal fascism of which Hannity frequently speaks (and which was the title of this Jonah Goldberg book from several years ago: Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Change). 

Take a look here at this headline from December 2015 in the New York Post: 

Petition surfaces for CNN to fire Don Lemon

The story begins:

A petition to oust anchor Don Lemon from CNN is floating on the Internet.

The change.org petition surfaced after Lemon took prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin to task over a video showing a white South Carolina sheriff’s deputy tossing and dragging a black female student across her classroom.

…The petition had more than 29,000 supporters on Thursday. Its goal is 35,000.

Notice the reference to “change.org” in the Lemon story? Here is a description of the group and its objective at US News and World Report: 

How Change.org Is Mastering the Science of Micro-Activism

The petition website is gaining over two million users a month, but what makes a campaign successful?

The story reads in part, bold print for emphasis supplied:

… This team, many on staff for less than a year, are responsible for nurturing and refining individual petitions so they can achieve maximum virality and impact — in other words, increasing the petitioners’ chances of enacting change. The company’s success hinges on how well this group can distill and replicate the most successful campaigns, allowing them to scale across thousands of petitions and dozens of countries.

Over the past year, Change.org has quickly become one of the most influential tools for online activism, gathering millions of signatures and reversing what many would consider regressive policies in large corporations and governments. Founded in 2007, the company spent much of its early life as a progressive blogging platform, but in late 2010 it shifted its focus to online petitions. Today, users can visit the site, compose a message asking signers to endorse a particular viewpoint or position, and then publish it. The site is constantly optimized so that a compelling petition can then, through advocacy on social media and E-mail, call widespread attention to an issue so that its targets are pressured by public sentiment into agreeing to the petitioners’ terms.

Now… here’s the kicker. The media targets for this “progressive” site? Among the petition targets for firing are: MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and, in addition to CNN’s Don Lemon, CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Brooke Baldwin. Elsewhere — not at Change.org — there is a demand for Wolf Blitzer’s firing and for Chris Cuomo to apologize for offending somebody. Oh yes, lest I forget, there are a couple petitions out there including one from change.org demanding your humble scribbler be fired for offending some liberal souls. Last… well probably not last, but who knows… change.org wants HBO host Bill Maher fired. Shocker!

All of this would be amusing were the underlying nature of it not so serious. The fact of the matter is that no matter who the target, Left or Right, the First Amendment rights of all Americans are threatened — seriously threatened — when commentators or college speakers or anyone else are effectively told to shut up — or else.

The very disturbing fact in this Hannity ruckus is that, as we know by now after almost a decade of this disgraceful behavior, were Hannity to vanish from the planet tomorrow — someone else would emerge as the target of Angelo Carusone, Media Matters or the likes of change.org. And some other sponsor would suddenly become the target of outrage over television personality A, B, or C’s words. The demand for sponsorship-withdrawal would begin anew.

It is time, more than past time, to fight back. And for one obvious — very obvious — reason.

Today it is Sean Hannity.

But in the world of liberal fascism — tomorrow it could be you — and the First Amendment itself.

Below? Courtesy of Media Matters is a list of Hannity advertisers and those who have pulled their ads. Please feel free to contact any and all to speak up for Sean Hannity’s free speech — and yours.

Here are Hannity’s primary advertisers:

Alfa Romeo
Allstate
Angie’s List
AstraZeneca
Bayer
Beaches
Blink Health
Booking.com
Capital One
Consumer Cellular
DirecTV
ExxonMobil
Harvest Right
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical
Hulu
Hyundai
Jenny Craig
John Deere
Liberty Mutual
LoanDepot
Mercedes-Benz
Mission.com
Mitsubishi
Nutrisystem
Optum
PC Matic
ProFlowers
Publishers Clearing House
Sandals
Shari’s Berries
Terminix
UNTUCKit
Vanda Pharmaceuticals

Here are Hannity’s other advertisers:
AC Pro
Allergan
Ancestry.com
America’s Biopharmaceutical Companies
American Petroleum Institute
Amerifit
Armor All
AT&T
Athene
Atkins
Audi
Australian Dream
Avis
BASF
Bass Pro Shops
Bath Fitter
Bausch + Lomb
Beaches Resorts
Biotix Plus
Blue-Emu
Bounty
BP
CA Technologies
Cascade
Centrum
CenturyLink
Chamonix
Charles Tyrwhitt
Charmin
Chattem
Cialis
ClearChoice
Comedy Central
Credit Associates
Dulcolax
Donald J. Trump for President
DR Power Equipment
Dr. Scholl’s
Duracell
Ebates
eHarmony
Eli Lilly and Company
Expedia
Fabletics
Ferndale Healthcare
Fixodent
Fleet Labs
Freshpet
Geico
Gilead Sciences
GlaxoSmithKline
GoDaddy
Golden Corral
Grasshopper
Head & Shoulders
HomeAdvisor
HomeLight
HomeToGo.com
IBM
Indeed
Intel
Infiniti
Jaguar
Jardiance
Jos. A. Bank Clothiers
JustFab
Kerasal
Kia
Kingdom
La Quinta
LendingTree
Lexus
magicJack
Marie Callender’s
Mattress Firm
Men’s Wearhouse
Microsoft
Miracle-Ear
My Pillow
Navy Federal Credit Union
Netflix
Nissan
Novartis
NRA Foundation
Oral-B
Orkin
Oscar Mayer
OurTime
Panera Bread
Pfizer
Phazyme Gas and Acid
Phillips’ Colon Health
Poligrip
Preen
Prevagen
Principal
Quincy Bioscience
Qunol
Quten IP Holdings, LLC
Raid
Recta Care
Reddi Wip
Reelz
RockAuto
Safelite
Sea-Bond
ServPro
Scotts
Simpli Safe
Sirius XM
Sleep Number
Smart Mouth
SoClean
SoFi
Soothe XP
Stanley Steemer
Staples
Stein Mart
Stitch Fix
Subaru
SuperBeets
Super Beta Prostate
Swiffer
Symbicort
Takeda Pharmaceuticals
Tempur-Pedic
Tide
Touchnote
TruStage
United Milage Plus Explorer Card
Varidesk
Venus
Viking River Cruises
Visiting Angels
Vistaprint
Vonage
Wagner OEX
Wax-Rx
Wayfair
WeatherTech
ZeroWater

These are the advertisers who’ve announced they’ll no longer advertise on Hannity:

Boehringer Ingelheim
Cars.com
Casper
Crowne Plaza
Leesa Sleep
Peloton
Ring.com
TD Ameritrade
USAA
Zenni Optical

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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