If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
That seems to be the approach of a new conservative group that, in an effort to defend embattled Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity, is employing a tactic that even Hannity has long sought to avoid: putting pressure on advertisers.
On Tuesday, a group called Media Equality Project announced that it was beginning a campaign to “push back against the attempt to silence those who dare to ask tough questions and pursue the truth.”
The group’s co-founders said they are taking particular aim at Media Matters for America, a left-leaning media watchdog group that has in the past targeted a string of Fox News stars, including Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly and, most recently, Hannity. Often, those campaigns have included calls for advertisers to boycott Fox News shows.
“We’ve got to stop Media Matters for America from engaging in this kind of activity,” Media Equality Project co-founder Melanie Morgan told The Washington Post. “It’s wrong, it’s un-American and we’re just going to hit them until they surrender.”
To do so, Morgan said they plan to adopt Media Matters’ methods. Its first target? Liberal MSNBC star Rachel Maddow. Along with its Tuesday announcement, the new group posted a list of companies — along with their contact information — that advertise on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” labeling the host “an outright liar, and someone who deceives the public and defames conservatives on a daily basis.”
“We have to draw a line,” Morgan said. “We have been under attack in the media and from the media and we’re not going to take it anymore.”
However, the group’s organizers insisted they were not promoting a “boycott” of the show.
“What we are doing is just wording it the same way Media Matters did,” Brian Maloney, the group’s co-founder, told CNN. “We are just saying, two can play this game.”
Over the last few days, Hannity has relentlessly promoted the group, retweeting more than two dozen posts about the group and the new campaign — using the hashtags #StopTheScalpings and #StandWithSean — and inviting the group on his show Tuesday night.
On his radio show Tuesday, Hannity said he was reluctantly supporting the group’s efforts but blamed “the left” for leaving him with no other choice.
“I don’t see any other option but to fight fire with fire and that is why I support them,” Hannity said, according to CNN. “I want to be clear. It’s not a boycott. They are just relaying information like [Media Matters].”