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.
Before the election, Hannity was riding high in the ratings and topped thought leaders on the right, like Dick Morris, Ann Coulter, Peggy Noonan and talk radio bulldog Mark Levin, who predicted Obama would lose in a landslide.
Those voices — and many others like them — all but drove the political coverage on Fox News, talk radio and conservative blogs.
But as Conor Friedersdorf wrote in The Atlantic just after the election, “Outside the conservative media, the narrative was completely different.”
Because in reality, statistics proved the presidential race was in fact never even close — despite the lopsided picture delivered to faithful viewers by Hannity and those who shared his opinions.
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