The USAA financial services firm will reinstate ads on conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity's primetime show after receiving backlash from military members and veterans, the Associated Press reports.
Hannity came under criticism for pushing an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory on his show that stated Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich was murdered because he leaked information to WikiLeaks. Fox News retracted the story from its website last week, and Hannity announced he would not discuss the Rich story on his show, but would continue seeking the truth. Hannity is set to return to his show on Tuesday after taking a brief vacation.
USAA had originally pulled its commercials after liberal watchdog Media Matters for America launched a campaign to pressure Hannity's advertisers.
The AP reports:
Following Hannity’s reporting on a discredited conspiracy theory involving the death of a Democratic National Committee staff member, the liberal advocacy group Media Matters last week posted a list of his show’s advertisers — and USAA was one of 10 to say it was pulling its commercials. At the time, the USAA said the company’s policy was to avoid politically opinionated shows.
But many of USAA’s customers reacted angrily, and it didn’t help when the company’s advertising on other opinion shows was pointed out.
USAA said it wasn’t trying to favor one set of political views over another.
"We heard concerns from many members who watch and listen to these programs," USAA said in a statement on Tuesday. "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."
According to the report, USAA will also resume advertising on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" and MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show."
Rich's murder is unsolved, although authorities suspect the assailant was attempting to rob him.