Gloria Allred, the biggest self-promoting legal hack on Earth, wants Rush Limbaugh charged with a crime for his on-air misogyny. That’s incredibly stupid, not to mention counterproductive. The Homing Anti-Rush Movement (HARM) and StopRush never asked for her input or advice; she can keep both to herself and STFU. So can Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, and Robin Morgan, who want the FCC to censor Limbaugh. None of these ideas actually help anyone but the people promoting them.
As a movement, our focus is on advertiser education — and it has proven to be an effective strategy so far. In fact, 98 advertisers have already asked Premiere Networks to pull their ads from all the shock jocks — not just Limbaugh:
Valerie Geller, an industry insider and author of Beyond Powerful Radio, confirmed the trend. “I have talked with several reps who report that they’re having conversations with their clients, who are asking not to be associated with specifically polarizing controversial hosts, particularly if those hosts are ‘mean-spirited.’ While most products and services offered on these shows have strong competitors, and enjoy purchasing the exposure that many of these shows and hosts can offer, they do not wish to be ‘tarred’ with the brush of anger, or endure customer anger, or, worse, product boycotts.”
Again: there have been zero actual boycotts so far because advertiser education almost always results in the company pulling its ads voluntarily. This is the model of activism Angelo Carusone, better known as StopBeck, created in 2009 and continues now as StopRush. Whereas Allred and company would like to get judges and government officials to do the job for them, our movement depends on citizen involvement (you can volunteer here) and is a free market reaction to Rush’s sickening clown show.
But there is one battlefront that does require interaction with the government, and it’s the one I zeroed in on from the beginning: this petition to remove Rush Limbaugh from Armed Forces Radio needs another four thousand signatures, and must be coupled with a contact campaign that reaches people directly in charge of content decisions at the network. This petition at VoteVets is also important.
I say “important” because as much as Rush Limbaugh likes to yap about personal responsibility, he never takes any. His “apology” was a merely a sentence that had the word apology in it. Aside from our actions to separate him from his advertisers, he has paid no price at all for talking about Sandra Fluke nonstop for nine hours over three days — after his supposed apology! — which is a level of immunity no one else in the radio industry enjoys:
Premiere is a subsidiary of Clear Channel and Clear Channel just last month suspended KFI-AM (640) radio hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou for calling the late Whitney Houston a “crack ho.” KFI carries both Limbaugh and John & Ken.
The acerbic duo missed seven programs in late February when the Los Angeles station called them out for what management called “insensitive and inappropriate comments.” Kobylt and Chiampou apologized to their listeners and to Houston’s family both before and after their suspension.
When rumors circulated that Limbaugh might also be suspended, a Premiere spokeswoman quickly knocked that idea down. Bottom line: Kobylt and Chiampou got seven shows off for their “crack ho” comment. Limbaugh got zero time away from the mike for “slut” and “prostitute.”
When I served in uniform, the culture was all personal responsibility all the time. I’m pretty sure that hasn’t changed. And while it’s important for Armed Forces Radio to provide a diversity of views, his rhetoric has become contrary to good order and discipline in the barracks. It is hard to be more regressive than the military, but somehow Rush Limbaugh has succeeded. In part, that is because his audience is 60-year old white males — a demographic hardly common to the armed forces.
This backlash was decades in the making. It has been empowered by social media. And it will not be deterred by naysayers, just as it will not be sidetracked by self-promoting hacks and burned out hippies who understand this brave new world even less than Limbaugh does.