Several conservative groups, including top conservative talk show hosts, are planning a massive disinformation campaign against MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, several news outlets revealed Wednesday.
According to Politico, the groups plan to pressure advertisers for left-leaning shows like Maddow’s on MSNBC, in hopes that the sponsors will pull their ads. They charge that Maddow and other liberal hosts are smearing conservatives with personal attacks.
The group cited reports of alleged coordination between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian agents as an example of the smears.
The proposed boycott comes after Hannity lost advertisers after pushing a conspiracy theory about the murder of a Democratic National Committee staffer.
Media Research Center, the long-running conservative media group, and a new group called Media Equalizer say for too long the left has successfully pressured advertisers to stop advertising on shows featuring hosts like Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck, who were eventually forced off Fox News, and Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, who have so far fought off their critics.
In a statement Wednesday, MRC founder Brent Bozell tweeted that his group is monitoring news shows and will put “media’s advertisers on notice” if they perceive attempts at a liberal “smear” campaign.
“The radical left’s efforts to silence conservative media by targeting their advertisers in therewith coordinated smear campaigns has gone unanswered, and today is the day the conservative movement fights back,” Bozell wrote in a statement.
At least four advertisers have dropped Hannity’s Fox show because of his pursuit of undocumented theories that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich was somehow connected to the DNC emails posted by WikiLeaks. A Fox News story that supported the theory was ultimately retracted.
Last week, Hannity said he would stop covering the theories “for now” out of respect for the Rich family, which pleaded with Hannity and others to stop politicizing their son’s death.
Angelo Carusone, president of liberal watchdog group Media Matters, slammed the new efforts, saying they’re “scattershot” and use faulty data. When Media Matters launches a campaign targeting advertisers, he said, they’ve been “rare” and come with “a rationale as to why it’s appropriate to target that advertiser.”
“Have they given a rationale? No, it’s just revenge,” Carusone said.