The conservative group launched on Wednesday a campaign to inundate corporate sponsors with complaints whenever top liberal television talk-show host show hosts “go beyond political commentary and engage in smear, hate and political extremism.”
The effort, which targets 10 shows on MSNBC and CNN, comes on the heels of similar campaigns by the liberal group Media Matters for America, which put pressure last week on companies advertising on Fox’s Sean Hannity show.
“Today we are putting ten shows, and their major corporate sponsors on notice that we are watching their every move,” said MRC president Brent Bozell in a press release.
The 10 programs include six airing on MSNBC and four on CNN.
On MSNBC, the targeted shows are hosted by MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, Chris Matthews, Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell and Joy Reid. On CNN, the hosts are Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Brian Stelter and Fareed Zakaria.
The two cable networks did not return immediately Wednesday requests for comment.
On its website, MRC posted a list of the programs along with their advertisers, as Media Matters did with Mr. Hannity and former Fox host Bill O’Reilly, who lost about 50 advertisers before his contract was terminated in April amid a sexual-harassment scandal.
The anti-Hannity campaign hasn’t fared as well: So far only 10 of the 150 companies listed as advertisers have withdrawn, according to Media Matters, and USAA on Monday reversed its decision to pull its ads after an outcry from “Hannity” supporters.
USAA had initially explained its move to cut ties with “Hannity” by saying that it had a policy against advertising on opinion shows, after which MRC pointed out that the financial-services company had run ads recently on the programs hosted by Ms. Maddow, Mr. Matthews and Mr. O’Donnell.
Mr. Bozell said the MRC planned to put sponsors under pressure to “defend their decision to continue airing ads on these shows.”
“Every time one of their on-air personalities go beyond political commentary and engage in smear and hate, we are going to unleash an army of activists to contact these advertisers by phone and through social media to ask them why they are advertising on programs that are so biased, repulsive and morally bankrupt,” said Mr. Bozell.
“Call them. Ask them why they are affiliated with outfits that do not uphold the Constitution,” said Melanie Morgan, a former San Francisco conservative radio talk-show host, who launched the group with Brian Maloney.
“Ask them if they believe in freedom of speech, and if they are aware that they are connected with organizations and hosts like Rachel Maddow who are vehemently opposed,” she said in a statement, which was also posted on Mr. Hannity’s website.
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