I had cut on the Sean Hannity Show this afternoon, and caught the show midway through a discussion between Hannity and his producer, Lynda about the pros and cons of Ashley Madison, the cheating website. “Again?” I thought. It seemed like more than once I had heard Hannity either talking about the website or arguing with the Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman, about the website. Was Hannity going through a mid-life crisis? After berating Anthony Weiner for a half hour, was Hannity now one red corvette away from having his own affair?
The discussion between Hannity and his producer waged on for what I thought was an uncommonly long while. Air time is valuable and with Zimmerman-IRS-Immigration going on this week, I would expect the time would be allotted to those tidbits rather than Lynda the producer taking a pro Ashley Madison position and Hannity of course taking the disapproving Catholic, finger wagging position. Considering how much the very concept of a website to facilitate cheating on your spouse apparently offended Hannity, why would he give so much free air time to promote a business he morally opposed?
Knowing how careful radio hosts are about spending airtime to promote businesses that are not sponsors, I got a little bit suspicious. Could Ashley Madison, the red warning sign of the decline of Western Civilization, and promoter of the disintegration of the American Family, be a paid advertiser of the Sean Hannity radio show?
I did a little snooping on Hannity’s website. No banner ads from Ashley Madison with cute adverts like, “get your cheat on.” were visible. However I did see that the Ashley Madison CEO had been on the Hannity show quite a few times: Today, July 24, 2013, May 17, 2013, June 15, 2011, and May 12, 2010, at least from the archaic search function on the site, so I suspect it’s probably more than that.
The website addicting info.org carried an article that addressed Ashley Madison’s attempt to buy advertising time on The Rush Limbaugh Show. The author of the article, Wendy Gittleson, did make the point that it’s not a natural fit to sell infidelity to the family values set:
In my opinion, only an act of desperation would tempt Limbaugh’s show to take the offer. Ironic as it might be, he speaks for those who fancy themselves the “family values” party. The largest segment of his demographic is 65+. I don’t know how well Grandpa and particularly Grandma will take to his biggest sponsor being a website geared toward adulterers. Ashley Madison does advertise on Sean Hannity and Howard Stern.
OK, Howard Stern I get. If ever there was a natural fit, it would be between Ashley Madison and the Howard Stern Show, but Sean Hannity?
Doing an on-air plug is not only the best sort of radio advertising; it’s generally the most expensive, since the radio show host, who presumably you trust since you are listening to their show, is telling you how great the product or service is. But in this case, the host is telling you how terrible the service is. But he’s telling you over and over.
I’m no expert on the radio business, but I’ve never heard of selling negative plugs, just to get your name out. If this works, and perhaps only Ashley Madison knows for sure and they’re notoriously discrete, that could be an opportunity for political talk radio. “Wait, I hate you, and you want to pay me to talk about how much I hate you? Where do I sign?”
Still, it has an air of dishonesty to it. Hannity’s finger waging of disproval doesn’t seem as nearly as disapproving if he’s collecting a big fat check for it.
This post brought you to you by the Sean Hannity Show. Hannity, for all your conservative needs (j/k).