USAA announced Tuesday that it will resume advertising on Fox News’s “Hannity,” reversing course after its decision last week to pull its ads ignited an outcry from its active and retired military clientele.
At the same time, USAA spokesman Roger Wildermuth said it would resume advertising on other shows where advertising had been suspended, including MSNBC shows hosted by Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews, and CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
“We heard concerns from many members who watch and listen to these programs,” said Mr. Wildermuth in a statement to The Washington Times. “Our goal in advertising has always been to reach members of the military community who would benefit from USAA’s well-known commitment to service. Today, the lines between news and editorial are increasingly blurred.”
“As such, we are reinstating all previously removed ads on programs representing a variety of perspectives while we review our policy to determine how best to apply it in today’s environment and in line with our mission,” he said.
The financial services company pull its ads last week from Sean Hannity’s program after the liberal advocacy group Media Matters for America posted a list of 150 companies that advertise on his show, describing him as “a bigot, a sexist and a conspiracy theorist.”
The San Antonio-based firm said in response to the uproar that it had a policy against advertising on opinion shows, but then the conservative Media Research Center pointed out that USAA had in recent weeks run ads on MSNBC opinion shows hosted by Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews and Lawrence O’Donnell.
The company followed up with a statement Friday saying that it would withdraw its commercials on all opinion outlets before backtracking on Tuesday.
“The decision to remove our ads had nothing to do with any specific topic on these programs,” Mr. Wildermuth said. “USAA recognizes the value of these programs and believes in free speech. Our policy sought to avoid any suggestion of bias or support for one set of views over another.”
Brent Bozell, Media Research Center president, said the group generated more than 1,600 phone calls to USAA objecting to its “Hannity” withdrawal within 48 hours.
“They did the right think in going back on that show,” Mr. Bozell said. “And so long as the other side isn’t participating in personal smears, they should participate on those shows, too.”
Mr. Hannity gave a shout-out to USAA on Twitter after the switch, saying, “Please support them, they are returning to my show.”
So far nine companies, including Cars.com and TD Ameritrade, have said they will no longer advertise on “Hannity,” according to Media Matters.
Media Matters President Angelo Carusone said Tuesday on Twitter that despite Mr. Hannity’s best efforts, “advertisers are continuing to pull ads from @seanhannity’s Fox News show. Onward!”
FYI: Despite him organizing counter campaigns, advertisers are continuing to pull ads from @seanhannity’s Fox News show. Onward!— Angelo Carusone (@GoAngelo) May 30, 2017
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