And then it reversed that opinion -- temporarily. Fair enough. TV advertisers are allowed to be suspect on news and/or news opinion content.
All this concerns a discredited news story about a Democratic National Committee staffer who was murdered after a botched robbery and his possible links to the Clinton email hack during the presidential election. Sean Hannity had been heavily promoting this story.
Even though Fox retracted a related online story sometime afterwards, for many TV advertisers, this was too little, too late. Around seven or so advertisers pulled their advertising on the show.
USAA was one of them -- as well as also making a blanket decision at the time it was also going to exclude other cable news networks’ opinion-news programming.
TV advertisers have a long history of picking and choosing TV prime-time shows with content that doesn’t match their requirements. For those shows -- scripted and reality TV series -- it’s about context. TV marketers pretty much get what will be delivered here.
But when it comes to TV news content? No way. And then there are fuzzier areas. “Opinion-based” TV news content might be also called “unscripted,” but not reality TV “unscripted.”
All that said, USAA’s media advertising decisions aren’t firm: While the advertiser is returning to “Hannity” -- and other cable news networks show -- it continues to review its policy about opinion-based TV news shows.
Advertisers don’t have the resources to check out all journalism content. But should they? Some would say looking at credible reports from news organizations -- TV, print, or otherwise, that have a stable, perhaps not perfect, history in doing journalism -- would be a good indication.
Maybe TV advertisers need to hire chief news officer to monitor all this -- executives who would judge the tough stuff, such as reports filled with content and news which can have the qualifier: ‘according to sources close to...’
This isn’t new. In the 1970s, when it came to the Watergate scandal that forced President Nixon to resign, many news stories started out that way. The initial story may have a familiar feel to it: a break-in at Democratic National Committee offices.