Suspension Isn't Good Enough: Limbaugh's Advertisers Need to Leave for Good
The netroots campaign to get companies to stop advertising on Rush Limbaugh's show is going great guns. Despite the hate-radio maven's pathetic "nopology" to Sandra Fluke, the list of local, regional and national advertisers who have signed off now totals 33, and there are more to come.
But this is just Round One. Because, as Jeff Bercovici points out, this isn't the first time advertisers have left Limbaugh:
The complete details of Limbaugh’s eight-year, $400 million contract aren’t known, but much of it takes the form of guaranteed money, with Limbaugh having claimed publicly that he received at least $100 million as a signing bonus. Like some other top-tier radio stars, including Ryan Seacrest, Limbaugh does hold back some of the commercial time during his program and keep the revenues from it. Higher ad rates yielded Limbaugh an extra $6 million last year.
In that sense, then, a mass walkout of his advertisers could put a damper on his earnings. But the impact is likely to be minimal and short-lived, says Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine, which monitors the talk radio business.
“We’ve seen this many times in the past,” says Harrison. “Some of the advertisers that left will come back, and some will be replaced. Life will go on.”
Plus he says, the fact that Limbaugh is a magnet for controversy will attract some advertisers regardless of what he says.
But not everyone agrees:
“The tactic of just asking advertisers has been a very successful one,” said Krystal Ball, a 30-year-old MSNBC commentator who started a website called boycottrush.org. “So as long as that is successful, we’ll continue.” [...]
“The social media world has really exploded,” said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. “I think Rush Limbaugh is going to go down over this.”
If the past were the only factor, then Harrison's assessment might pan out. But, Harrison's caveats aside, nobody can predict where this unprecedented netroots uprising will wind up. Limbaugh may be thinking he'll ride out this storm just as he has the others, but he has never before had to contend with the level of blog- and social media-fueled opposition that his attacks on Fluke have engendered. If he expects this to be over in a few days, he's in for a surprise.
For now, getting more companies on board the advertiser boycott is the chief order of business. But next up is persuading these companies not just to stay away from Limbaugh until the fury at his attacks dies down but to cut their ties with his show for good.
AccuQuote has instructed our media agency to immediately pull all our advertising campaigns that support Rush Limbaugh. His recent comments do not reflect the values of AccuQuote.
Spotted your tweets and wanted to let you know that Netflix has not purchased and does not purchase advertising on the Rush Limbaugh show. We do buy network radio advertising and have confirmed that two Netflix spots were picked up in error as part of local news breaks during the Rush Limbaugh show. We have instructed our advertising agency to make sure that this error will not happen again.