CNN's Brian Stelter breaks down why advertisers are fleeing Tucker Carlson's show
Stelter: "We are seeing a significant advertiser pressure campaign against Carlson's show by this liberal group Media Matters, and it is having a real effect."
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From the March 18 edition of CNN's At This Hour with Kate Bolduan:
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RYAN NOBLES (GUEST HOST): It's no secret that President Trump and Fox News share a friendly relationship. But now the president is going after the network to defend one of it's biggest -- or one of his biggest defenders, I should say. In a string of tweets over the weekend, President Trump demanding that Fox News bring back Jeanine Pirro. Sources tell CNN she was suspended over comments that she made about Democratic Minessota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar that some see as Islamophobic. Now Fox quickly responded condemning her remarks but so far Pirro herself has yet to apologize. And here with me now to discuss this, as CNN Chief Media Correspondent, the host of Reliable Sources, Brian Stelter. So Brian, what have you learned about Judge Pirro's status with Fox right now?
BRIAN STELTER (CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT): You might say Fox is trying to have it both ways here. A source familiar with the matter says she was suspended after that Islamophobic rant. However, she has not been fired and the network will not confirm publicly that she's been suspended. I think this network finds itself in a really tricky situation now vis-a-vis its supporters, its viewers, and President Trump's supporters. You saw those tweets from the president over the weekend, three tweets saying, "bring back Judge Jeanine. I stand by Tucker Carlson," who has also been criticized recently. He is urging the network to, in his words, to stay strong and fight back against the left. If the network -- he's also criticizing several of Fox's news anchors. So he's supporting the opinion of talk show hosts, he's criticizing the news anchors. The network is being very quiet about this because I don't think it wants to pick a fight with the president lest it tick off its own viewers.
NOBLES: Right, no doubt. You mentioned Tucker Carlson. He's under, has come under some criticism for some [controversial] comments he made a while ago, back on a shock jock radio show. The network has not really taken any action related to Carlson, have they?
STELTER: No. He's remained on the air. But what we've noticed, and I measured this over the weekend, is that the number of ads on his show has really markedly declined. We are seeing a significant advertiser pressure campaign against Carlson's show by this liberal group Media Matters, and it is having a real effect. You look at the number of minutes of ads on his show, there is a very small ad load compared to most other shows on television. So what we're seeing is that a lot of advertisers, big brand advertisers, don't want to be associated with these kinds of shows that end up stoking a lot of controversy that ended up causing a lot of concern. It caused a lot of heartburn among advertisers, so they've pulled out. But Fox is standing by Tucker. And that's something else the president said, "stay with Tucker Carlson. Stay firm with Tucker Carlson." I think the president is trying to make sure his biggest supporters on TV stay on TV. It's like a shelter from the storm. He wants to make sure that shelter is reinforced.