Fleeing Advertisers And Still No Full Apology: The Rush From Limbaugh
On February 23, 2012, Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke appeared before members of Congress to talk about the various ways her classmates rely on prescription birth control, including a story about a friend who takes it to manage ovarian cysts. For this, Rush Limbaugh viciously attacked Fluke over the course of several days.
Limbaugh smeared Fluke as a "slut," claimed she was having so much sex that he was surprised she could still walk, suggested she was having sex at 12 years old by asking who purchased her condoms in the sixth grade, urged her to keep her legs closed by placing an aspirin between them, and demanded she create homemade porn videos and place them online -- in addition to 41 other attacks.
Following Mr. Limbaugh's multi-day attempt to silence a student simply for sharing information about women's healthcare, individuals and organizations sprang to action. So far, two radio stations have dropped Limbaugh's program from their lineups, and more than 60 advertisers have already issued public statements confirming they will no longer advertise on Rush Limbaugh.
Mr. Limbaugh has refused to apologize for all of his attacks or even acknowledge the full scope of his remarks.
After some of his show's major financial backers exited, Limbaugh issued a statement apologizing for calling the student a "slut" and a "prostitute," but he made it very clear that he would not be apologizing for any of the other 44 other attacks. Instead, Limbaugh claimed everything was fine, hired a crisis manager and scrubbed the record of his attacks from his website.
But, advertisers continue flee. Just last week, several advertisers issued public statements confirming that they would no longer run ads during Rush Limbaugh's show.
Recently, we announced a multi-city radio ad campaign aimed at educating communities about Rush Limbaugh's irresponsible attacks. The ads have been running on Rush Limbaugh's competitor stations in a number of cities.
We know that many of you may already be actively involved in work to hold Rush Limbaugh accountable with other organizations or campaigns, and we encourage you to continue that work first and foremost. But, for those of you who aren't already involved and would like to get active, we have a few suggestions:
By participating, you ensure that the de facto monopoly backing Rush Limbaugh is not able to convert the controversy created by his irresponsible attacks into increased ad revenue. By eliminating this perverse incentive to smear for ratings and revenue (Limbaugh's business model), you deliver accountability each day and help prevent it from taking place in the future.
Angelo Carusone Campaign Director Media Matters for America