Two of the top conservative commentators on Fox News saw their ratings plummet after Barack Obama’s re-election victory in November. According to Nielsen, Bill O’Reilly’s numbers dropped by nearly a third, while Sean Hannity lost roughly half of his audience by the end of 2012.
The thinking that explains the disparity between Hannity’s and O’Reilly’s ratings hit is that Hannity steadfastly refused to believe in an election outcome other than one that saw Mitt Romney taking over the White House in 2013. That right-wing ideologically driven narrative, which he espoused daily to his audience, proved to be completely wrong and undoubtedly stunning to those who drank in his every prediction.
O’Reilly, on the other hand, has championed conservative viewpoints, even as he attempts to paint himself a moderate.
Before the election, Hannity was riding high in the ratings and topped thought leaders on the right, like Dick Morris, Ann Coulter, Peggy Noonan and talk radio bulldog Mark Levin, who predicted Obama would lose in a landslide.
Those voices — and many others like them — all but drove the political coverage on Fox News, talk radio and conservative blogs.
... And when the dust settled, it turns out Hannity’s viewers opted to vote again — with their remotes.
Adding insult to injury, two of Hannity’s rivals on MSNBC, Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow, held onto huge chunks of their audiences, while at CNN, far less politically polarizing host Anderson Cooper lost almost none of his viewers post-election.
—Posted by Tracy Bloom.
Flickr/Talk Radio News Service