It must have seemed literally world-ending as a Fox News viewer to have followed the 2012 presidential election so closely for so long, thus expecting that President Obama would’ve been soundly defeated by Mitt Romney — only to watch in horror as the president rolled over his challenger with little problem, inasmuch as all of those statistical models turned out to be on the money. After all, its pundits had spent month after month endlessly carping about how Obama was destined to lose because of some flimsy parable involving seeing more Romney signs on Florida lawns, or something. Among those pundits was Sean Hannity, who easily ranked amongst the most clueless of Fox’s pundits — compared to the merely rude like Bill O’Reilly, Hannity was a willful promulgator of flim-flam, bad faith, and questionable math in his ceaseless insistence that Obama was headed for a loss.
But never underestimate the American people’s tolerance for nonsense: Because Hannity was so, so amazingly off the money, he lost half of his viewers in the weeks following Obama’s reelection. O’Reilly took a hit, too, but not by nearly as much, while Hannity’s competitors like Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow didn’t suffer much at all. (Probably because their viewers spent the first few post-election weeks with CNN and MSNBC on loop, whilst vigorously rubbing baby oil all over themselves.) It’s sort of an inside baseball story, but reassuring to see that you can only shovel so much shit on top of the public before they eventually stand up and realize they’ve been had. It’s also nice to think that Fox News might learn from this and rebrand themselves as an actually responsible conservative-leaning news organization, but Hannity is still on the air. For now.