As Laura Ingraham bounces back, Sean Hannity is the new target

In the week before Easter, Laura Ingraham tweeted a putdown of Florida school shooting survivor and newly prominent anti-gun activist student David Hogg.  "David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it," Ingraham tweeted.  Employing the full force of his 15 minutes of fame, Hogg immediately called for his supporters, including his 700,000-plus Twitter followers, to boycott advertisers of Ingraham's nightly Fox News Channel show, The Ingraham Angle.  A #BoycottIngrahamAdverts hashtag quickly trended as many of the usual left-of-center suspects piled on.  The heat was on Ingraham and Fox News as at least fifteen of her advertisers quickly bailed.  Ingraham went on vacation during the week after Easter, and many observers wondered if she would  return.

Not only was Ingraham back on her show on Monday April 9, but the evidence is now in, and her ratings are higher than ever – substantially.  On April 18, as the updated ratings for the previous week were posted, a  representative of Fox News described Ingraham's ratings as "surging."  Citing the official Nielsen Research ratings, the Fox News representative noted, "She is up 27% with total viewers and 38% with [the age] 25-54 demo."  The rep added:

Following her vacation (4/9-4/17), Laura is averaging 2,964,000 [total viewers] and 659,000 [in the age] 25-54 demo.  On Friday, April 13, Laura was #1 in cable with 4.7 million total viewers and 1,174,000 in the 25-54 demo.

At 10 P.M. E.T., Ingraham's competitors on the other two major cable news channels are the first hour of CNN Tonight with Don Lemon and The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC.  In prime time, Fox News has an advantage of being the only cable news channel that is not consistently hostile to President Donald Trump, while CNN and MSNBC compete for the well of left-of-center anti-Trump viewers.

Sean Hannity on his Fox News program, Monday April 16, 2018.

While Ingraham appears to be triumphing over the recent attacks on her by left-wing, anti-Second Amendment, and anti-Trump forces, it's been a tough week so far – at least in terms of a new round of mainstream media attacks – on another veteran star of Fox News prime time: Sean Hannity.  On Monday, Judge Kimba Wood, who is hearing the case of Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's personal attorney, versus federal investigators in proceedings in federal court in New York, ordered Cohen and his attorneys to reveal who the third client of Cohen's was.  At that point, to everyone's surprise, Sean Hannity's name was thrown into the mix as the mystery client.  CNN and other media that are constantly lying in wait to take Hannity on immediately made him the lead story on Monday and carrying into Tuesday and beyond.

Hannity immediately tried to clarify the situation by noting that he had never officially retained Cohen as an attorney or paid him for legal work, but had merely informally discussed matters pertaining to real estate on occasion with him.  Talking heads on CNN and MSNBC, and articles in online and print media, immediately jumped on Hannity for not disclosing his relationship with Cohen when he vigorously defended Cohen after the attorney's home, office, and hotel room were raided by federal authorities on April 9 in a search for documents that might, it is surmised, somehow incriminate President Trump.

Since the news about his relationship with Cohen broke on Monday afternoon, Hannity has been employing his Twitter account more often than usual to explain and clarify his dealings with Cohen and to defend himself against the mounting attacks.  Publicly, in quotes to the media and during his daily television and syndicated talk radio shows, Hannity has been steadfast in defending himself and his friend, President Donald Trump.

Hannity's enemies, with Media Matters for America in the forefront, have mounted unsuccessful campaigns to boycott Hannity's advertisers and force him off the air twice in the past year prior to this latest effort.  In the wake of the news this week about his relationship with Cohen, Hannity's employer Fox News issued a statement on Tuesday reaffirming support for its #1 host:

While Fox News was unaware of Sean Hannity's informal relationship with Michael Cohen and was surprised by the announcement in court yesterday, we have reviewed the matter and spoken to Sean and he continues to have our full support.

With the investigations of President Trump and Cohen, now possibly including Hannity, ever expanding, it remains to be seen where this will all wind up.  In the meantime, on Monday, April 16, when the news about Hannity and Cohen was trending, Hannity was #1 in his 9 P.M. E.T. time slot in total viewers and slightly behind Rachel Maddow on MSNBC in the 25-54 age demo.  The following night, Hannity was #1 in the demo and slightly behind Maddow in the number of total viewers.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture.  He is a frequent contributor to American Thinker.  Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

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