Opponents bring war against Rush Limbaugh to Georgia

On one hand, comic Bill Maher has an op-ed in today’s New York Times calling for an end to the clichéd cycle of insult and apology:

Let’s have an amnesty — from the left and the right — on every made-up, fake, totally insincere, playacted hurt, insult, slight and affront. Let’s make this Sunday the National Day of No Outrage. One day a year when you will not find some tiny thing someone did or said and pretend you can barely continue functioning until they apologize.

On the other, Rush Limbaugh’s critics have stepped up their war on his radio program. Note that Macon is a targeted city. From the Associated Press:

NEW YORK — Rush Limbaugh’s opponents are starting a radio campaign against him Thursday, seizing upon the radio star’s attack of a Georgetown law student as a “slut” to make a long-term effort aimed at weakening his business.

The liberal Media Matters for America is using a past campaign against Glenn Beck as a template. In Limbaugh, however, they’re going after bigger game. He’s already fighting back and the group’s stance has provoked concerns that an effort to silence someone for objectionable talk is in itself objectionable.

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. AP/Chris Carlson

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. AP/Chris Carlson

Media Matters is spending at least $100,000 for two advertisements that will run in eight cities.

The ads use Limbaugh’s own words about student Sandra Fluke, who testified at a congressional hearing that contraception should be paid for in health plans. Limbaugh, on his radio programs, suggested Fluke wanted to be paid to have sex, which made her a “slut” and a “prostitute.” In return for the money, he said Fluke should post videos of herself having sex. Under sharp criticism, Limbaugh later apologized.

In one of the anti-Limbaugh ads, listeners are urged to call the local station that carries Limbaugh to say “we don’t talk to women like that” in our city.

Ad time was purchased in Boston; Chicago; Detroit; Seattle; Milwaukee; St. Louis; Macon, Ga.; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The cities were selected to support active local campaigns against Limbaugh or because of perceptions Limbaugh may be vulnerable in that market, said Angelo Carusone of Media Matters.

“What we’re really looking for is a way to demonstrate the persistence of the effort and the fact that it is on a wide scale,” Carusone said.

A spokeswoman for Premiere Radio Networks, which syndicates Limbaugh’s show to more than 600 radio stations nationally, said Media Matters has gone beyond criticism of Limbaugh’s words to an attempt to silence him and intimidate advertisers.

“This is not about women,” said Rachel Nelson, Premiere spokeswoman. “It’s not about ethics and it’s not about the nature of our public discourse. It’s a direct attack on America’s guaranteed First Amendment right to free speech. It’s essentially a call for censorship masquerading as high-minded indignation.”

Limbaugh, on his radio show Wednesday, said he’s being targeted in an attack that was long-planned — not mentioning it was his words that lit the fuse.

“They’re not even really offended by what happened,” he said. “This is just an opportunity to execute a plan they’ve had in their drawer since 2009.”

Determining how much of a financial impact the Fluke comments have already had on Limbaugh is murky business.

Radio stations in Hawaii and Massachusetts have dropped his show. Media Matters claims that 58 companies have specifically asked that their ads be excluded from Limbaugh’s show. Radio-Info.com’s TRI Newsletter said Premiere has circulated a list of 98 advertisers who want to avoid “environments likely to stir negative sentiments,” essentially all politically pointed talk shows.

There’s more. TRI also said a group with several stations that air Limbaugh sent out a list of 31 advertisers who don’t want to be on Limbaugh’s show.

Premiere notes that a list is sent out four times a year reminding stations of advertisers who don’t want to be part of controversial programming, and suggests a reported exodus is exaggerated. The company offered no list of its own, or a comparison that could show advertisers resistant to Limbaugh or other controversial shows that predated the Fluke comments.

Some companies said not to want to advertise within Limbaugh’s program — JC Penney, NAPA Auto Parts, Chapstick, Gold Bond, Green Mountain Coffee — did not respond to requests to clarify their policies. One company listed, NBC-TV, said the network was unaware of any policy or past efforts to advertise with Limbaugh.

Valerie Geller, a veteran radio consultant who worked at Limbaugh’s WABC flagship in New York, said it appears that advertising money coming into Limbaugh’s show is slowing down. “I think it’s a very big wakeup call,” she said.

Whether the advertisers return is another question. Limbaugh has a daily audience estimated at between 2 million and 3 million people, according to Talkers magazine.

“I suspect some people will permanently stay away,” said Tom Taylor, executive editor at Radio-Info.com. “I suspect some people will drift back to Rush. What you won’t see is a press release of someone saying, ‘Hey, we’re back with Rush!’”

While a law student, Carusone was active in a campaign to reach Beck’s advertiser that began after the commentator said in July 2009 that President Barack Obama had “a deep-seated hatred for white people.” Eventually, more than 400 advertisers said they didn’t want to be part of Beck’s show and, for Fox, the ad revenue was nowhere near what would be expected for a TV show as popular as Beck’s. When Beck left Fox in June 2011 to take his show to the Web, the parting was mutual.

The idea with Limbaugh is similar: take advertisers away so rates go down, Carusone said. Couple that with the need to keep track of ever-changing lists of who will advertise with Limbaugh and who won’t, and Media Matters hopes that station managers, market by market, may someday conclude that it’s just not worth the trouble.

Conveniently, many stations will soon have a choice. Former GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is launching his own syndicated radio show in April that will air at the same time as Limbaugh’s, and Huckabee’s backers are touting the show as a more civilized alternative.

Beyond the First Amendment concerns, industry experts like Talkers magazine publisher Michael Harrision are concerned that Media Matters’ effort will simpy take some advertisers out of radio altogether when they have different options.

Carusone said Limbaugh has a chilling effect of his own. “There are plenty of people who self-censor out of fear that Mr. Limbaugh will smear them,” he said.

The means of protest puts Media Matters and the conservative Media Research Center in the unlikely position of agreeing with each other. Brent Bozell, founder of the conservative media watchdog, said his group also informs advertisers of things it considers objectionable.

“We all have free speech,” Bozell said.

That’s where the agreement stops. Bozell this week called on MSNBC chief Phil Griffin to resign, citing objectionable things said in the past by Ed Schultz and Al Sharpton, both MSNBC show hosts. It’s in part retaliation for attacks on Limbaugh, he said. The Fluke story was covered extensively by MSNBC.

“There’s a great sense of selective outrage that is going on here,” he said.

***
On a related note, the AJC’s Politifact Georgia has this look at whether comic Bill Maher measures up as the liberal equivalent of Rush Limbaugh when it comes to attacks on women.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

328 comments Add your comment

findog

March 22nd, 2012
9:07 am

Macon is on the list only to catch the Florida-Mid West traffic on I-75

The Limbaugh Dialectic

March 22nd, 2012
9:13 am

I’m truly amazed that the masses on the loony-left and their captured sock-puppets in the media cannot understand my elegant logic. I did not say anything on my show is in any way slanderous. If I woman wants to use birth control, she is immoral and we, the American People, should not be required to subsidize her immoral ways.

Ergo, Res ipsa loquitor

Doug

March 22nd, 2012
9:19 am

I have no idea about her sex life but we would not be having this discussion if she did want free stuff. She may not be a slut but she wants to steal my money to be used as she sees fit . Thief is much worse then slut.

john k

March 22nd, 2012
9:19 am

Drives me nuts that Limbaugh supporter say this is a free speech issue. It’s not even remotely, unless Congress is passing the “Limbaugh is not allowed to express opinions Act.”

No one has a right to a radio show, and if he were to lose it today, he would still be able to express opinions tomorrow.

justjanny

March 22nd, 2012
9:20 am

The matter does speaks for itself…Yes, Rush is the matter, the matter (that is wrong) with this country!

Dave

March 22nd, 2012
9:21 am

Please read Al Frankens book Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot

euler

March 22nd, 2012
9:22 am

@Doug: “She may not be a slut but she wants to steal my money to be used as she sees fit ”

I would gently recommend you look into this matter further, because (despite what the media is saying) that is not what she asked for. You can verify this by reading the transcript of her testimony.

Roberto

March 22nd, 2012
9:23 am

Al Franken? Surely, you jest.

PMC

March 22nd, 2012
9:24 am

Opinion broadcasting has become virtually worthless.

jimp

March 22nd, 2012
9:24 am

He described her very accurately. She said she needed someone to pay for her birth control and she wasn’t married.
slut (slt)
n.
1.
a. A person, especially a woman, considered sexually promiscuous.
b. A woman prostitute.
2. A slovenly woman; a slattern.

PMC

March 22nd, 2012
9:25 am

It’s almost as futile as our election process.

That's Goofy

March 22nd, 2012
9:26 am

Rush is what he is. People can listen or don’t. Media Matters is no different than the people that tried to get the Simpson’s cancelled, the Parent Television Council (went after WWE) any those that are bent over Stern.

Don’t listen or watch if it offends you.

Crimson Tide Pride

March 22nd, 2012
9:28 am

Rush is Right!

ROLL TIDE!

john k

March 22nd, 2012
9:29 am

euler, they’re not going to look into the matter further. Rush told them what to think, and being obedient little dittoheads, they follow.

It doesn’t matter that she never once said she wanted birth control to have lots of sex, Rush said it, and therefore it is in stone.

euler

March 22nd, 2012
9:29 am

@jimp: “She said she needed someone to pay for her birth control and she wasn’t married.”

She said no such thing.

Rafe Hollister

March 22nd, 2012
9:30 am

Rush will be on the air long after Barry arrives back in Chicago to live, and Ms Fluck has drifted back to wherever Pelosi plucked her from.

Mook

March 22nd, 2012
9:30 am

Read my book

I Couldn’t Give a $hit About Al Franken

findog

March 22nd, 2012
9:32 am

Doug, she doesn’t want it free, she wants it covered in her insurance plan. What if they decide the high blood pressure and cholesterol should just be treated with diet and exercise and quit covering that; or diabetes; or cancer?

John K, wrong everyone has a right to a radio show; capitalism at work determines who can make a living at it.

ECDawg

March 22nd, 2012
9:33 am

Media Matters is all for free speech as long as it passes muster with their views. Limbaugh made a mistake and apologized. His listener numbers are trending higher due to this incident. Despite Galloway’s efforts, Limbaugh is more popular with the American public than ever………..

woodrow

March 22nd, 2012
9:33 am

Rush Limbaugh is piggish fascist media ’slut’ and I don’t think we want to give him a day off.

justjanny

March 22nd, 2012
9:37 am

Tell me, people, what is conservative about Rush Limbaugh? Outrageous, yes, conservative – hardly. Rush is out to make uber dollars and some idiots are foolish enough to pay him to spout off. Come on, folks, can’t we all just use our God-given intelligence and stop letting the Rush Limbaughs of the world fool us! Me thinks that “the emperor has no clothes on”…

john k

March 22nd, 2012
9:38 am

findog, yes, capitalism at work. Rush and his blindly loyal flock of dittoheads cannot force companies to advertise on his show so he can remain on the air. Companies can decide, for whatever reason they choose, to advertise or not advertise on his show. If they decide to drop him due to public outcry, then so be it, if they decide to stay, then so be it. If they decide to leave or remain for any other reason, then so be it. But his freedom of speech is not being suppressed in any way, shape, or form if he loses his show.

Listen up!

March 22nd, 2012
9:38 am

People, reading really is fundamental!! For all of you who say she was wanting “free stuff” or that she is having sex all over the place, please read the transcript of her testimony. She never once referred to herself. Her’s was a series of stories she had heard from different woman who were having to prove to the insurance company why their birth control pills was a medical necessity. A few years ago after suffering intense abdominal pains, my gyno suggested me using the pill to help it. I made the decision not to do that and opted for surgery, but it was my decision to make!

One more thing. Rush is free to say anything he wants to say on his show, but when you do that, be prepared for the consequences because there are always consequences!

Kiljoy

March 22nd, 2012
9:38 am

Doug, we wouldn’t be having this discussion if Rush hadn’t called her a “slut, prostitute etc” and suggested that she give him free porno films. This isn’t about what she said, its about what he said. No American citizen should be slandered just because they express an opinion that you disagree with.

Tex

March 22nd, 2012
9:38 am

You hippies go get jobs and take baths. Rush is right as always. That woman is a disgrace to women and very fat and ugly at that. Thanks Hippies. Rush’s ratings just get better. Ha Ha

calliope

March 22nd, 2012
9:38 am

how incredible that two commenters here still do not face the truth–she was asking for insurance (not taxpayer) to cover birth control..which is used for many health issues besides “birth control.” If insurance covers viagra, it can surely cover birth control..and many single men use viagra..old guys ya know. so, what are they doing with it? it is really too much fun to judge and praise a fool who wishes to insult someone..which is what a fool does when he has no real argument… he makes a bunch of statements intended to mislead his pandering ican’tthinkformyself audience rather than address an issue that applies to most women at some point in their lives.. should birth control be covered by insurance? The answer is yes, and it is overdue.

ragnar danneskjold

March 22nd, 2012
9:39 am

I have less respect for the Limbaugh protesters than I do for all of those leftists who said such terrible things about Sarah Palin’s daughters. Those who called those children horrific names were not Fascists seeking to punish free speech.

Fred ™

March 22nd, 2012
9:40 am

Doug

March 22nd, 2012
9:19 am

I have no idea about her sex life but we would not be having this discussion if she did want free stuff. She may not be a slut but she wants to steal my money to be used as she sees fit . Thief is much worse then slut.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
This idiot Doug is typical of the Limbaugh worshiper. The woman wants nothing FREE but Doug is too stupid to know that. He only “knows” what his drugged out god, Rush tells him. to actually find the FACTS is too much effort for Dougie and takes too much brain-power (of which he has none). It’s better to be a mindless automaton and spew forth words that one doesn’t understand than to actually think says Dougie.

I WILL agree with Dougie on one thing. A thief is lower than whale dung and Dougie is a thief. He steals the truth and tries to replace it with lies. Man up you thief Dougie. Quit being a thief and a liar. Quit attacking women Dougie you nutless thief.

justsayin'

March 22nd, 2012
9:40 am

Enough already. Who cares what a fat, draft dodging, college dropout thinks anyway?

gm

March 22nd, 2012
9:41 am

Once again for the mis informed Hanniy viewers: Bill Maher is a paid comedian who goes on tour to be funny and insult people, you have never seen him at Dem events or saying he represent Dem.

Rush the scum has been seen at several fund raisers for Rep he has been given awards by the rep party he has introduced Rep members and he said he is the face of the rep party, only the right nut wingers would forgive him for attacking a college student.
Sara the idiot is a public figure like Hillary Clinton they are going to get attacked but calling a college student a slut, you can not get more lower then that.
For all you redneck and hillbillies in Georgia I wonder if rush called your mother or your wife or sister a slut and lets see you defend him””’

The Truth

March 22nd, 2012
9:41 am

Will they also be protesting Bill Maher for his rants about Sarah Palin that were a lot worse then what Rush called the young lady? Will they run a tv ad and ask HBO to remove Maher from their network? No, I did not think so because in a liberal world and mind it is OK to be a racist or sexist as long as you vote democrat.

sheepdawg

March 22nd, 2012
9:42 am

Rush appeals only to people just like him. None of them are worth the time and effort to address. Just allow them to die and go away as our population progresses to a more intelligent level.

Listen up!

March 22nd, 2012
9:42 am

@Calliope, its much easier for them to have someone else tell them what she said than to actually have to read it! Don’t want facts to get in the way of Rush and crew!

Dave

March 22nd, 2012
9:42 am

The Conservative Right tea baggers has drifted so far from reality they have more in common with the Taliban when its about Women.

The Truth

March 22nd, 2012
9:44 am

gm

March 22nd, 2012
9:41 am
Once again for the mis informed Hanniy viewers: Bill Maher is a paid comedian who goes on tour to be funny and insult people, you have never seen him at Dem events or saying he represent Dem.

And here is your liberal hypocrisy at work. Maher is a mouth piece for the dems who just gave a million dollars to Obama for his campaign and this nut wants to make it look like he is being funny. Nice try, people with common sense don’t fall for it.

Steven Arp

March 22nd, 2012
9:44 am

She can be a slut as long as my tax dollars don’t pay for it . Rush was correct. We need more people to speak up. She can have an abortion as long as I don’t have to pay for it. Wake up America before it’s too late. At worst we have 4 more years of this crap, God stay with us, we are gonna need your continued support. Not all of us have turned our backs on you. Obama wants you out.

The Truth

March 22nd, 2012
9:46 am

Dave, to say you are a moron would be a dis-service to the morons of America. The majority of which lives on the left. You break the mold in your racist rant.

Junior Samples

March 22nd, 2012
9:46 am

i am glad obama called her and got that worked out. it was so important to the surviaval of this country.

gm

March 22nd, 2012
9:48 am

The Truth

Hey fox misinformed nut job:

Maher is a paid comedian who goes on tour to be funny and insult people, you have never seen him at Dem events or saying he represent Dem.
What part of that dont you far right nut job understand?

Randy

March 22nd, 2012
9:48 am

Different rules for Liberals ( “progressives” now ).

Phillip Castleberry

March 22nd, 2012
9:49 am

Dems and libs are just plain ignorant.

Buck Hayek

March 22nd, 2012
9:49 am

Fat Rush is the Archie Bunker of today. Uneducated, ignorant, and proud of it.

And millions of fans.

The Truth

March 22nd, 2012
9:50 am

gm

March 22nd, 2012
9:48 am
The Truth

Hey fox misinformed nut job:

Maher is a paid comedian who goes on tour to be funny and insult people, you have never seen him at Dem events or saying he represent Dem.
What part of that dont you far right nut job understand?

Once again little boy, nice try. When you become an adult come back and join the discussion. A C C O U N T A B I L I T Y, I know you can not spell it or define it. You are liberal.

racer

March 22nd, 2012
9:52 am

Galloway which liberal rag of a newspaper signs your pay check?

JB

March 22nd, 2012
9:53 am

As my right, I boycott sponsors of Bill Maher. Letterman.Conehead and Ed Shultz radio, just say’n. to be fair

Astropig

March 22nd, 2012
9:54 am

Rush is controversial and sometimes way too bombastic,but he’s much better,more professional and well prepped than our own local wanna be Rush-Neil Boortz. It’s literally hard to listen to Boortz try to stumble through a three hour show when he has clearly not prepared by reading,studying or even becoming passingly familiar with what he’s pontificating on during any given day. I’m not talking about Neil’s opinions-I am in general agreement with them. But it’s the half baked,college radio texture of his show that has become a major tune out. Its all cliche stuff that he has been doing for years and now his old recycled phrases are just a crutch for him to cash a paycheck.He’s mailing it in and it shows. Rush went through that phase himself back in ‘01-’02-’03 and it was painful to hear. he turned it around and now he’s back on his game (as evidenced by this attempt to get rid of him). but Neil…Well,Neil,you may want to spend more time prepping and less time hitting the Senior Early Bird Specials around Naples.

gm

March 22nd, 2012
9:54 am

The Truth

Do we need to start listing the people that gave money to Rep party? the Koch brothers backed the rep party, and the dirty money they have given to terrorist group do your research”””

Name one Dem event you have ever seen Maher? I guess all comedians who are dem, Obama is responsible for? Rush the slob has been given awards for his work in the rep far nut wing party

John

March 22nd, 2012
9:56 am

You have to laugh at the looney left. They’re going to protest Rush but all it will do is increase his listenership! I Love it!!!

Dave

March 22nd, 2012
9:57 am

The Truth: OK your reaction to the exaggerated statement about the Far Right views on Women is comparable to the lefts reaction on Limbaugh..So who wins…Nobody!

Becky

March 22nd, 2012
9:58 am

Did you ever notice when someone can’t produce facts to prove their point they result to name calling? This seems to be a republican problem most of the time.