Mitt Romney and the Republican party weren’t the only losers in this year’s election. Nielsen ratings reveal that conservative talk show host Sean Hannity has lost half his audience since early November.
Media analysts are saying that Fox’s conservative viewers who basked in Hannity’s pre-election anti-Obama rhetoric tuned him out when they were stunned to wake up on Nov. 7 and discover that the President had comfortably won a second term. Hannity was telling his viewers that Obama would be defeated by GOP challenger Mitt Romney by a landslide.
Before the election, Hannity was cleaning up in the ratings with right wing pundits Ann Coulter, Peggy Noonan and extremist Dick Morris railing against the President on a nightly basis.
Hannity’s GOP propaganda machine drove the political dialog on Fox News, talk radio and conservative blogs.
But as Conor Friedersdorf wrote in The Atlantic just after the election, “Outside the conservative media, the narrative was completely different.” Because in reality, statistics proved the presidential race was in fact never even close — despite the lopsided picture delivered to faithful viewers by Hannity and those who shared his opinions.
Wrote Friedersdorf: “The right-leaning outlets like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh’s show are far more intellectually closed than CNN or public radio. If you’re a rank-and-file conservative, you’re probably ready to acknowledge that ideologically friendly media didn’t accurately inform you about Election 2012. Some pundits engaged in wishful thinking; others feigned confidence in hopes that it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy; still others decided it was smart to keep telling right-leaning audiences what they wanted to hear.”