Rush Limbaugh is in deep trouble.
14 months after his attacks on Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, pressure on Limbaugh’s advertisers by groups like the Flush Rush Facebook community and #stoprush Twitter has cost the right wing radio host more than 2,600 advertisers.
Rush Limbaugh’s long career in radio has been defined by mean-spirited attacks on women, ethnic minorities, homosexuals, and the poor.
For many years that approach was his bread and butter—so much so that Clear Channel-owned Premiere Radio Networks gave him a lucrative 8 year, $400 million contract in 2008.
But this is no longer the United States that Limbaugh started his career in back in 1967. Each year our nation grows more diverse and tolerant. Notions of women or ethnic minorities as inferior to white males, of the poor as victims of their own laziness, and of homosexuals as sick people who don’t deserve the right to marry are on their way out.
Intolerance doesn’t sell nearly as well as it once did.
But even though Limbaugh’s message isn’t as well received as it used to be, he’s stuck to his mission of division—it’s the only thing he’s good at.
Rather than tone down his rhetoric following the Sandra Fluke scandal, Limbaugh has upped the ante with the following attacks—all of these in the past three months:
Limbaugh mocks children afraid of being shot after Newtown, CT massacre
States that “scholarly research from academia” shows that Mexicans have a poor work ethic.
Says of African American Congresswoman she had “outlived her usefulness on the plantation” and that “her child-rearing years are over, so her value had plummeted.”
Claims marriage equality is linked with a move to normalize pedophilia
Cracks jokes about a 5 year-old girl performing oral sex on a 4 year-old boy.
Suggests abortion can be stopped by requiring it occur with a gun
Laughs about exploding pressure cookers the day after three people died in Boston bombing
While even Limbaugh himself will tell you that his advertising power has sunk to historic lows, he still keeps throwing gasoline on the fire that has led to 2638 advertisers leaving in the last 14 months. And that puts the foundering Clear Channel in a uniquely difficult position.
Clear Channel reported losses of $424 million for 2012 and has been laying off people in droves to try to stop the hemorrhaging. Some have speculated that Clear Channel is facing bankruptcy, with 10 billion dollars in debt due in 2016 which will make its debt levels higher than its assets.
If that weren’t enough to jeopardize Limbaugh’s hold on his golden microphone, there are also rumblings in the GOP that he is no longer earning his keep as Spokesman in Chief.
Mother Jones this week released a hidden tape on which top GOP strategist Frank Luntz referred to the man whose bag was once carried by President George HW Bush as “problematic” and blamed him for the political polarization within Republican party.
So if keeping him is costing Premiere Radio Networks millions in lost ad revenue, and the GOP is starting to move him to the fringe, how long will it be until Clear Channel decides to jettison Rush Limbaugh?
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