Advertisers Bailing On Rush
As of this writing, seven advertisers have bailed out of Rush Limbaugh’s radio program following his despicable comments about Sandra Fluke. There’s no need to rehash those comments here - this post is about the consequences of those words on Limbaugh, his advertisers, and the public.
The seven advertisers who bailed are as follows:
ProFlowers, mortgage lender Quicken Loans, mattress retailers Sleep Train and Sleep Number, software maker Citrix Systems Inc., online data backup service provider Carbonite, and online legal document services company LegalZoom.
These companies have made the decision to no longer associate with Limbaugh. It’s a money thing. They don’t want to see their own brands sullied by Limbaugh’s statement. It’s a defensive measure on their part.
For Limbaugh, it hits at his radio brand and the profits that he has heretofore enjoyed. That’s going to have a lasting effect, particularly if many of his other prominent advertisers follow suit. A radio show stays on the air so long as it continues to draw audience numbers and advertisers willing to fund it.
Yet, this is not about free speech. We aren’t talking about government action here. The advertisers aren’t responding to a government action but are acting in their own self-interest.
Limbaugh’s advertisers are choosing to no longer associate with him and some of his former base are distancing themselves from his statements. So far, Clear Channel (which is owned in part by Mitt Romney’s former company Bain Capital) is standing behind him:
Clear Channel’s Premiere Radio Networks Inc. hosts Limbaugh’s program, one of the country’s most popular talk radio shows. The company is supporting Limbaugh, whose on-air contract with Premiere runs through 2016.
“The contraception debate is one that sparks strong emotion and opinions on both sides of the issue,” Premiere Networks said in a statement emailed Sunday by spokeswoman Rachel Nelson. “We respect the right of Mr. Limbaugh, as well as the rights of those who disagree with him, to express those opinions.”
Bear in mind that Limbaugh’s statements weren’t about contraception. They were a direct and ugly personal attack. Clear Channel would rather that people focus on the substance of Fluke’s comments and not Limbaugh’s. They’re trying to minimize the economic fallout.
Even Limbaugh’s “apology” is designed about keeping his advertisers (and hence his lavish lifestyle) in place. However, he’s effectively attacked all women with his comments.
And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.