Rush Limbaugh Ad Boycott Still Rolling Along

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Photo: Bill Pugliano/2007 Getty Images

Although the nonstop headlines have died down, Rush Limbaugh's "slut" comments about Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke are still reverberating, with the New York Times reporting today that this week "new evidence emerged that the ad boycott was costing Premiere Radio Networks — the show's syndicator — money, though the total amounts are unclear." The sustained push-back against Limbaugh can be largely credited to liberal groups like Media Matters for America, whose homepage this morning rotates between three stories: "The Habitual Dishonesty Of Rush Limbaugh," "Rush Limbaugh's Denial," and "Who's Advertising On Rush Limbaugh?" Following their lead, the campaign has persisted on blogs and social media, with advertisers being targeted directly, one by one. By Media Matters's count, 51 sponsors have publicly bailed from Limbaugh's show, while Politico puts the number closer to 100.

The Times reports that local stations carrying the show have been told that for the next two weeks, they can stop running certain national ads, a move which "critics interpreted ... as proof that local radio stations were being affected by the boycott." Although the numbers are inexact, less than $2 million in revenue has been lost so far, according to one Times source, "and some of that has been recouped by moving ads to other slots." Even if the so-called "dent" to the bottom line is tiny, the persistence of Limbaugh's critics shows demonstrates their organization and dedication.

The Politico article, meanwhile, focuses on the conservative response, which includes targeting those on the left who have said nasty things about women like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, namely Bill Maher. The group ShePAC, started in order to back conservative women, has attempted to reclaim the issue. "The right should raise hell," its founder told Politico. "And we, every one of our elected officials and every one of our activists should call them out on this. If Bill Maher wants to make good use of his million dollars for the Democratic party, give it to a home for abused women. Give it to a group of women who get to hear every day that they are sluts."

"This is their false equivalency," Maher explained on his show. "It's not the same thing. I am a potty-mouth. That’s different than a misogynist." And even New York Senator Chuck Schumer was forced to parse the differences on television over the weekend. "Rush Limbaugh's comments were just nasty and directed at a particular young woman who had a particular point of view and was expressing herself. Bill Maher's a comedian. It's much different," said Schumer. "Rush Limbaugh has tremendous weight in the Republican Party and no one will rebut him. Bill Maher's a comedian who's on at eleven o'clock at night, but has very little influence on what's happening here." If Maher is the left's Limbaugh, then the liberal media is a lie.