After years, some of Hannity’s viewers starting to recognize he’s wrong a lot.

Most people, when choosing their favorite news network, expect their anchors and reporters to be, y’know, right more often than not.  Ordinarily this doesn’t seem to bother the watchers of FOX News, who seem to prefer being told what they want to hear.  However, after assuring his audience that Obama would lose the election, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, many of Sean Hannity’s viewers have migrated elsewhere.

In a fitting coda to 2012, we’ve learned that the ratings for rock-ribbed conservative Sean Hannity cratered after Barack Obama won his second term, with viewers tuning out the Fox News Channel talk-show host in droves.

According to Nielsen numbers, Hannity lost around half of his audience in the weeks after the election, while his Fox News colleague Bill O’Reilly — who steadfastly refuses to identify himself politically as a conservative — retained around 70% of his audience.

So what happened to Hannity?

The going wisdom is that viewers who basked in his preelection anti-Obama rhetoric tuned him out when they were stunned to wake up on Nov. 7 and discover that the President had won a second term — a scenario that Hannity had all but promised could never happen.

It’s a glimmer of hope that gets extinguished the minute you realize that FOX “News” is still the most-watched of all the news networks.  It’s like the rise of atheism…it’ll take a while, but reason is making ground slowly, but surely.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    I guess some have seen the value in being told the truth rather than what one merely wants to hear.

  • unbound

    I’m not sure this can be celebrated quite yet. The first question that popped into my mind is “Where did they go?”. From my experience with the die-hard Fox News viewers (which includes my own father), I would be highly surprised to see them jump to something that they perceive as more liberal (which is pretty much all other news channels). The linked report doesn’t mention any gains (only several others that only maintained what they had).

    Did they actually head to a mainstream channel? Or did they give up on Faux News altogether, and found an alternative (e.g. WND)?

    • UsingReason

      It is a well established fact that all other media outlets are liberal biased and fronts for hippie, socialist pro-Obama supporters that want to sway the minds of the American electorate to act more like human beings and less like manic, fear mongering, self righteous, close minded, entitled fuktards. Fox News said so, there was a chart and stuff.

      • unbound

        Exactly. So what is their alternative?

        • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

          If lies aren’t to your taste, there’s always abject ignorance by refusing to seek out any information at all.

          • Stogoe

            That would work out well for us – I know studies have shown that people who watch no TV news at all are still more accurately informed than Fox News watchers.

    • Glodson

      It seems to just be Hannity losing viewers at that rate. And Bill lost a few too. So it could be the audience, at least part of it, is sick of their shit. Sadly, that doesn’t mean those veiwers have stopped going to the network for news.

  • drax

    It could be that there was a substantial increase in viewership specifically because of the election, and once the election ended they stopped watching. Once the election was over some viewers may not have seen the point in watching anymore, also there may be some “sour grapes” type of sulking.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    He just needs something to bring his ratings back. Maybe he should follow through on his promise to have himself waterboarded for charity. Do it on live TV.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe they were just so disgusted like I was and just quit watching any of the news.

  • Justin Griffith

    Perhaps we should send teams door to door to retirement homes and rural towns to see if a lot of heads ‘sploded after the election. Just sayin’…

  • Stranger in a Strange Land

    Many people in West Virginia, where I live, can’t afford cable, especially poor people and seniors. They get their news from from Fox because you can get it for free with ordinary rabbit ears (CNN and MNBC require cable subscriptions). I’ve noticed that since the election the Tea Partiers of my acquaintance seem very subdued. They used to go on and on about the socialist-Muslim-Kenyan-community organizer. Now they seem shell-shocked and steer the conversation away from politics. I haven’t heard so much as a grumble about the fiscal cliff, even from people who constantly talked politics before the election. My guess is that watching the news is still too painful.

    I’m not originally from here, and what I find perplexing is how genuinely nice many of these folks are, even extremists who believe weirdly crazy things like the birther stuff. You’d expect them to be angry white guy stereotypes, toting weapons. Okay, they are usually white guys, but they’re courteous, considerate neighbors, not at all menacing. If you talk to them about anything other than politics, they come across as reasonable people, and it’s not just surface courtesy. They go out of their way to help others, for example quietly helping out the little old lady down the block. It seems strange that people who on a personal level are actually nicer than most city people are so mean-spirited when it comes to politics. Resentment against uppity city folk who are perceived to disparage them seems to figure into it, also a very deep strand of racism in the self-identity of the south. I don’t think it’s impossible to reach some of them (if the messenger is not black) because in my experience they respond very well to a friendly overture, but the means of communication to bypass Fox seems to be lacking.

    • Steve

      They are only nice on the surface. In other words superficial. Some talk crap about people behind their backs. Other people just prefer to be honest. Unfortunately, brutal honesty can often be mistaken for rudeness. Especially by Americans, who are internationally stereotyped for that kind of fake politeness anyways.

    • Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant)

      Call me crazy, but I’d rather have someone say “fuck you” to my face than work to undermine my rights while smiling all the time.