GM Turns To Insanity Hannity And Chrysler Goes To Church. Maybe Detroit Really Is Dying.

Posted by: David Kiley on October 2, 2006

hannity.jpg

Sean Hannity is not just a loud-mouthed blow-hard. He’s evil. And I don’t say that lightly. I don’t think he’s evil because I disagree with him about almost everything. That would be stupid. I think he’s evil because he is an artist in the worst sense of the word devoted to making hateful, destructive ideas seem plausible and logical to a certain cross-section of incurious Americans. He’s not a crafty debater. He is, however, crafty in his daily TV and radio show at assembling often weak opponents for his programs. If participating in a real, legitimate debate, with rules and someone else controlling the microphone, he’s toast. That’s why he rarely puts himself in that position. I also like the strategy of stacking his right-wing side with talking heads who are well-spoken, if nuts, and finding weak-kneed stammerers for the other side. It all works to great effect.

That brings me to the nutballs at General Motors who decided Hannity would be the ideal sales vehicle for a GM giveaway themed, “You’re a Great American Car Giveaway.” G.M. is awarding a free car every week through Nov. 6.

Hannity does not discuss politics and American culture on his show. He trashes Democrats and anyone who takes the opposing view of his own or Karl Rove’s. He has said awful, hateful things about Iraq war protester Cindy Sheehan. He has compared a vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton to support for Hamas or Hezbollah. He gave extraordinary aid, comfort and air-time to the lying Swift Boaters who attacked John Kerry and made them seem legitimate to incurious voters.

GM officials say Hannity does not speak for G.M. They say the promotion just makes use of Hannity’s large audience. Hannity’s ad rates are cheap too. Do you know why? Because so few advertisers want to be associated with his brand of vitriol. Yet, on Insanity Hannity’s website, the program is hailed as “The Sean Hannity You’re a Great American Car Giveaway.” Sure sounds like h’s kind of speaking for GM.

Maybe it’s a coincidence. But Chevy just launched an ad campaign for its Silverado pickup truck, entitled “Our Country. Our Truck.” That seems right up Hannity’s jingoistic street. Hey GM, don’t forget to advertise the truck on his show too. Insanity Hannity’s audience is probably strongest in rural and semi-rural red-state areas where the pickup truck wars are being fought. So, from a raw media buying standpoint, the buy makes sense. From a human standpoint, though, it is shameful.

Good Judgement?
Chrysler, not to be outdone on the weird front is about to kickoff a series of ride and drive events at so called “mega-churches.” The idea is to reach more African-Americans by taking vehicles to giant Baptist, African-Methodist Episcopal and non-denominational churches. Look, I wasn’t in on the negotiations to use churches as staging areas for test drives. Even if the church pastors were happy to host them, if I’m Chrysler’s marketing chief, I might have rejected this on the basis of taste and good judgement. The driving events precede a gospel concert in each market by Patti LaBelle. But I can tell you that if I was on a committee at my church to decide whether or not to host an automaker’s test drive event, I’d be the guy in the room suggesting that’s not what churches are for.

Reader Comments

Jerry

October 2, 2006 11:57 PM

Thanks for the speaking up! I couldn't agree more...and I was about to purchase a 2007 Cadillac SRX. But when I heard this crap, I said no way is GM getting my money. I don't know how many liberals are out there who feel like I do, but its certainly got to be a net zero sum game when you consider what they may gain in the "red" states by what they will certainly lose in the "blue and purple" ones, my business for sure. I swear to the invisible cloud being that I will never purchase another GM vehicle until they renounce Hannity and apologize to the real Americans he (and now they) has/have insulted! THANKS again.

jrcallaway

October 3, 2006 12:16 AM

So uh... your little rant here seems to belong on the daily koz, not on a business magazine post. You're rant is no more clever than you claim Mr. Hannity to be. Fortunately though I don't get a change to listen often to his show... I know that your presentation is either based on ignorance, bias or an agenda... Having listened to the show enough. I do know that the picture you paint is taken out of context.

Carla Kiiskila

October 3, 2006 2:46 AM

I couldn't agree more. I'm shocked that a company I've always considered reputable would associate themselves with a biased and foul-minded radio personality.

I am old enough to remember when political discourse was spirited but respectful, when the debate ended with the acknowledgment that we were all Americans and entitled to our views, and that democracy itself depended upon our willingness to share and to listen to each other.

Now GM, practically the HEART of America, is associating itself with right wing bombast of the lowest sort, and calling it patriotic. I'm ashamed of my Saturn and Chevy Truck, and if they don't do an about-face soon, I'll never buy another.

What in the world is happening to our country??? We've become murderers and torturers, we don't seem to mind much when the government snoops through our communications, and now GM gets into the pigsty with the far right and calls it PATRIOTIC???

This is the man who supported Ann Coulter's attack on the widows of 9/11 victims. Is this patriotic?

Along with a good number of my fellow Americans, I'm at the end of my rope.>

candide

October 3, 2006 6:31 AM

Hannity is right out of Joseph Goebbels playbook. There is something fascistic about many conservatives and republicans -- in line with what Sinclair Lewis wrote 70 years ago: when Fascism comes to America it will be Red, White, and Blue.

john lee

October 3, 2006 12:42 PM

disgraceful from gm.

Steve Williams

October 3, 2006 1:34 PM

That's quite an opinion piece. Are you:
1. out of important things to say
2. looking for a forum for your own vitriolic pontificating
3. just lashing out against "right-wing nut jobs" and Christians
or
4. secretly working for Ford?

So what if Hannity advertises for GM? So what if a church allows a car show? America is still a free market society. If you can't handle that, move to Iran. I imagine that Mahmoud would agree with your opinions.

lucas black

October 3, 2006 2:35 PM

Clearly Sir you lack objectivity on this matter and should reexamine your skills as a reporter. I would have referred to you as a journalist but that would be giving to much credit to the feckless manner in which you extol your point of view.

Of course, YOUR point of view is the ONLY point of view that matters, to you anyway. As is the case with 99.9% of those in your "profession", who so obviously bloviate out of the left side of their orifice, you simply are incapable of any semblance of objectivity.

You refer to Hannity as “evil” and a “blowhard”. Have you ever met the man? Do you know for certain that he is diabolical in nature? I am sure your answers to those questions were “no” with an expletive or two thrown in the mix.

It is sad really that you failed to report this matter in a rational way by presenting it as information rather than inflammation. Perhaps you could have heralded the contest were it handed over to Air America front man Al Franken. Sorry that did not happen. I think G.M. wanted to have this contest associated with a successful journalist rather than the captain of a ship sinking into oblivion through bankruptcy and lack of listeners.

I would continue this post but I am sure that you would merely label me as a “nut” as well. After all, when push comes to shove a liberal such as you will always begin spitting venom and commence personal attacks when their views are diminished with the facts of any matter.

Tony

October 3, 2006 3:51 PM

Kiley
Thanks for your personal opinion on Sean Hannity, like we really care what you think!!
If you had any type of journalistic integrity you would keep your biased opinions to yourself.
I'm quite certain Hannity has a lot bigger following than you do, jealous?

Ben

October 3, 2006 4:29 PM

You librals are pissed because Sean Hannity &
Bill O'Riley are number one talk show host.

Paul

October 3, 2006 4:47 PM

Oh get over yourself!

If Al Franken was running this promotion, you'd have nothing at all to say about it. Heck--throw in Howard Stern too.

And as for this whopper:
-------------
"I don't think he's evil because I disagree with him about almost everything."
-------------

Do you think truth-telling is only for those prude, "hateful", "mean-spirited" people who care about "morals and values'?

So pathetic, you can't even drop politics for the sake of objectivity?

Twok

October 3, 2006 5:03 PM

You are about as equipped to talk about politics as Hannity is to talk about cars.

Here is an explanation of the leftist mind.

http://futurist.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/06/a_take_on_the_l.html

Bryan

October 3, 2006 5:38 PM

This article is just as biased as the person they claim to be judging. I am conservative and will come out and say that, however I represent my opinions to be just that, not fact. This article is so full of lopsided opinions that I cannot believe it is the featured blog. I can only hope the persons who made this article a featured item did so out of humor or sympathy for David Kiley. I understand that blogs are opinions, however the opinions stated in this article not only reflect poorly on the author, but also on the magazine as a whole for allowing such tainted, highly controversial opinions to be broadcast from what is otherwise a respectable site.

Larry Stimely

October 3, 2006 8:08 PM

First of all, I listen to Sean even though I'm on the west coast and listening to the national talking head media is less than convenient for someone three hours behind.

I don't agree with much of what he says, but he seems genuine if not slightly shallow and monolithic at times.

You may never agree with him and I may agree with him only about sixty percent of the time but I can assure you that people in the Dallas, Atlanta and Orlando suburbs agree with him probably ninety percent of the time...and that should give you a moment of pause.

I have this theory that Democrats/liberals in this country lose all the time because (1) they don't control the media anymore, and (2) because at their core, those people's personalities aren't well suited to winning. That may not make sense to you but it does if you really think about it.

I, as a white male conservative, enjoy the battle. I like to fight and I love to win...I truly enjoy the process. If you think about the average schoolteacher or social worker or artist or college academic, they're passive personalities. They don't think well on their feet or under pressure. They also don't think tactically...and that's really what this is about.

Was Susan Estrich thinking clearly and tactically when she allowed Mike Dukakis to ride around in that tank, knowing that his dark hair and Greek heritage would make him look like a monkey? Nope...and I'll also tell you that's a mistake that Lee Atwater or Karl Rove would NEVER have made.

Estrich is an Ivy League-trained attorney and attended the same undergraduate institution that Hillary Clinton attended. I would never call either one of those people stupid but I am saying that, for some reason, they and/or their people and their supporters and people in their party don't think clearly and tactically, and it gets them into trouble...year after year, election cycle after election cycle.

Does any of this make sense to you?

Herault

October 4, 2006 5:39 AM

From your vivid description of SEAN HANNITY this preacherman seems an odd choice to promote Americas greatest car company. What happened to the idea of baseball apple pie and chevrolet. Apparently to get the attention of the great American car buyer needs a supercharged voice loaded with a thousand slingshots aimed at specific targets that are defined as enemies of the state. The average truck driver may need a laugh with the landscape full of Japanese trucks. OUR COUNTRY....OUR TRUCK may not help because most of the buyers know the Japanese trucks are made in America.

Jersey McJones

October 4, 2006 6:59 AM

It's good to see a car guy that's not incurious politically!

May I ask of you?

I worked as a parts inspector in the auto industry in the 90's. It seems to me that of the 4000-5000 parts makers that go into any given car or truck, a large number of them are produced abroad or by "sweatshop" labor right here in the good ol' US of A. Just how many parts, in a GM or a Chrysler, are produced, in a sweatshop or not, in America?

Thanks, JMJ

John

October 4, 2006 12:34 PM

Wow, thanks for that colorful commentary. You just solidified my decision to not renew my subscription to Businessweek. Why can't you just call Sean Hannity, Sean Hannity, without the "Insanity" moniker? He has a large audience simply because there are more Americans that agree with his point of view than your apparent views.

Good luck to GM and their ad campaign. And good luck to Chrysler Group, too.

solomonrex

October 5, 2006 4:01 PM

Yes, you're so unbiased on Hannity, really. Sure.

It's not like you're liberal or anything. I loved the objective evidence you use to prove your point.

It's obvious you don't care that he disagrees with you, it's just that he makes hateful destructive ideas plausible to an incurious public.

Of course, I know this because you tell me so.

Obviously you're used to the lazy, incurious public who take lazy liberal ideas spoonfed from biased reporters in the media. That isn't the same behaviour you're accusing Hannity of. Not at all.

You know, actually, I think YOU ARE employing the same tactics you supposedly hate Hannity for, only you aren't paid for your political expertise/entertainment.

It's like CS Lewis said,
"This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people."
--Mere Christianity

worker

October 7, 2006 1:16 AM

Who the hell is this socialist writing this article ? First of all, his knowledge of automobiles is outrageously weak, but he actually considers himself an expert.. And when it comes to politics, this little "know-it-all" is even weaker. He claims that being against "his" leftist party pits others against all that is American. Kerry lost the election simply because his constant disingenuous dialogue got to the point that America couldn't believe a bloody thing he was saying. "swift boat liars" ? Liley, er, Kiley, you need a lesson in telling the truth. Who in the world gave you a pen to write about cars, and especially politics ? ? ?

David Kiley

October 11, 2006 11:30 AM

I'm so conservative, I make Hannity look like a Roosevelt New Dealer.

I call him Insanity annity because he is part of a wave of people, a leader of it in fact, who have corrupted conservative ideals. His reasoning on most positions is tortured. I often tune in to his show for at least a few minutes to get a good laugh.

I said what I said becaiuse it's a blog. A blog doesn't require the same rules that articles in the magazine do.

I often comment on the effectiveness and appropriateness of advertising. This is such a case.

I'm not critical of the Hannity deal because I disagree with him about almost everything. I am critical of it because I think his brand of conservative populism has created a toxic environment for political discourse in the U.S. If I was GM, I wouldnt want my brand being talked about in the same breath that the man spews his blather.

Dave T

October 11, 2006 1:30 PM

So...the hateful positions are...negative comments about Cindy Sheehan?? This woman is travelling the globe trashing our president and meeting with any foreign "leader" who is anti-American (eg Hugo Chavez), camping outside the president's house in Crawford, Texas so she can harrass him, and Hannity is the evil, destructive one??? And you know the Swift boaters are lying because you have seen Kerry's sealed military records or were with him in Cambodia during that Christmas? Oh wait - that never happened. Time to get your glasses fixed. If you want REAL hate, turn on the experts at hate - Air America - if you can still find them on the dial.

John C

October 25, 2006 2:48 PM

Hey, business is busness, and if it works, well all the power to GM. Remember, with people like Hannity, Rush,O'reilly, and even Al Franken, It's not about the issues - it's about THEM! Any talk show host worth their salt knows the issues matter, not them, and that the callers are who counts, not them! A good host will not coddle the yes callers and cut off the no callers, but will give the caller "enough rope in which to hang themselves" or the host. So I'd just take this idiot and his show with a grain of salt.

Clay

February 21, 2007 6:29 PM

Honestly, I don't know who this Hannity even is, but I must say that I find your comments funny. I see right-wing reporters gripe about the fact that some company is associating their product with some liberal personality, and they write crap like this. And you saw nothing wrong with companies using those folks you were in agreement with you did you? Blue states bought the product with pride and now that these companies are catering to red states for sales you are all up in arms. Bottom line boys and girls, it isn't about the left or the right, it isn't even about red or blue, it's just about green. Lot's and lots of green. And Don't you forget it. Get over it! Companies are going to go where the people are and they don't care what they believe as long as they buy their product. I'd like more business reporting and less personal comments.

Mark

May 15, 2007 12:11 PM

Sounds like you are a democrat that can't stand the truth. You know when people tune in to watch Hannity, they do it by choice. As you commented on, it is a considerable amount. 3 hour on radio and night show. Truth hurts, but seems you can not differientiate that. Do you know if the Swift boat men lied? You were there? It sure rattled Kerry! Maybe it was true. You know there are extremes, but let the congressman stand up and fix it. Will a democrat launch a bill- One topic per bill. No more attached bills or hidden pork? Change vetos to line item vetos. I bet more get passed..One term and you are out. Get rid of the perks. No more gasoline for congressmen. No more WAM money. (Walking around money) Do we have enough memorials and parades? Let's spend it on education. Hannity brings out these topics and democrats shake to their bone


Mark

litirte

August 31, 2008 5:35 PM

I'm not surprised to find so many pro-Hannity responses to this posting. Outside of gun shows, the business world is the next largest population of conservative wing-nuts. I suspect it has something to do with limited education and a willingness to have somebody else do their thinking. Hannity, O'Reilly et al are rabble-rouser mouthpieces for the Treason Party (aka Republicans).

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