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Hannity in the Hot Seat: How the Fox News Host Is Driving Viewer Emotion

Fox News is home to some big TV personalities — and over the past few days, one of its biggest, Sean Hannity, made waves once again. (See “Advertisers cut ties with Hannity after Moore coverage, sparking social media backlash,” via CNBC. See also: “Keurig's CEO apologizes for 'taking sides' as conservatives smash its machines to defend Sean Hannity.”) With all the talk about how Hannity is firing up viewers (and prompting some brands to make tough choices), we turned to Canvs, the emotion measurement company, to see exactly how people are feeling about the outspoken cable-news anchor.

The data show that current topics aside, Hannity has been a big emotional trigger for people throughout the fall. In fact, from Sept. 1 through Nov. 12, he has been TV’s second biggest individual driver of Emotional Reactions (ERs), with 164,301 ERs in total (LeBron James was No. 1) — and no single TV host or non-sports personality drove more reactions.

Specific feelings about the nightly news anchor vary, with love accounting for 17.7% of ERs and hate/dislike combining for 23.9% of ERs.

Of particular note, and unlike most emotional conversations about TV, brands have been raised to the forefront of the discussion surrounding Hannity, with top Hannity advertisers following the controversial host as top drivers of ERs from viewers.

To be clear, the conversation around the brands in the word cloud above is mainly focused on their role as advertisers on the show. Keurig, for example, has receivedbacklash from some Hannity diehards who are furious that the coffee maker brand has pulled its commercials from the show.

To highlight just how dramatic this conversational shift is, take a look at the topics driving ERs around Hannity from a week ago (note that the brands mentioned below don’t have anything to do with Hannity advertising; they are mentioned in the context of the show’s coverage, unlike the current conversation, which is focused mostly on the advertisers):