Exactly one month after the conservative radio host sparked outrage by calling Georgetown law-school student Sandra Fluke “a slut” and “a prostitute” in a three-day diatribe, stations are standing by him, advertisers are trickling back to his program and the news media have moved on. [...]Clear Channel, by the way, has left the dirty work of defending Limbaugh to Premiere for the past several weeks, apparently waiting for the outrage to lighten up a bit before speaking out. But, now that it's safe, Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says that he's "delighted" to have the "king" of radio associated with his company.
On Monday, the 600 or so radio stations that air Limbaugh’s program were told by his syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks, to resume running “barter” ads during his program. Stations are required to run these ads in exchange for paying discounted fees to Premiere to air Limbaugh’s show. Premiere, which is owned by radio giant Clear Channel Communications, had suspended the “barter” requirement for two weeks in a move widely seen as a way to give advertisers a chance to lie low while Limbaugh was in the news.
Does this mean the flap is over and all is well for Limbaugh? Not so much, says Media Matters.
“We were able to identify 9 ‘long-term sponsors’,” the group’s campaign director Angelo Carusone says. “Six of these dropped Rush Limbaugh: Carbonite, Legal Zoom, ProFlowers, Sleep Number, Citrix, and AOL. Premiere has offered no evidence to suggest that any of these 6 have returned. If we just look at Carbonite, which probably had the strongest relationship with Rush, their departure is still visible on the front page of Rush’s website — there’s now an empty space where there used to be a permanent Carbonite ad.” He adds that while Limbaugh says all’s well with the business, “his actions tell a different story. He hired a crisis manager and continues to lash out at his critics on his radio show and Twitter feed.”This week, in fact, Limbaugh lost three more advertisers. Plumbing fixtures manufacturer Kohler announced they were dropping earlier in the week, and today it's Fisher Nuts and Reputation.com (go figure).
The major advertisers are still out, and more are joining them. This ain't over. But just to put a point on that, let's remind advertisers that we're paying attention.