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The business model for a public air waves radio station is matching advertising dollars with listeners. Advertising pays all the bills. It becomes obvious, then, that advertisers are the real power behind any publicly broadcast program. Advertising funds program content, and all else.

In 2006 Spocko, a San Francisco blogger, was carrying out a simple, yet elegant plan for holding shock jocks accountable: if advertisers on radio programs on the public airwaves aren't hearing the offending talk show audio in the news sufficiently that they'll spontaneously become embarrassed by the association of their brand with the offensive content, then listeners might provide them with the content special delivery. Almost single-handedly, Spocko created havoc for certain miscreants in the radio industry. Since then, the web and social media have enabled another layer of potential discipline against flagrant bigotry, misogyny, or political lunacy on the public airwaves. In the era of Komen/Planned Parenthood, Rush/Fluke, and shock jock Dominic Dieter's "rape away the gay" advocacy, Spocko's formula has become supercharged.

Spocko's plan was an alternative to another social responsibility mechanism which had been effective, but more recently seems unavailable: regulation. We'll explore that circumstance, as well as shock jocks, Spocko's method, Rush, and StopRush, all after the hop.

Era of Regulation

There are essentially three related issues wrapped up in the question of public airwaves regulation: decency, fairness related to controversy, and domination of radio networks by conglomerates. A tug of war between liberals and conservatives over each of these issues has buffeted enforcement by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for decades.

Both conservatives and liberals have been accused of selectively enforcing decency according to political philosophy. Generally speaking, conservatives have consistently favored the right to controversy over the fairness and balance preferred by liberals. And, conservatives have been somewhat divided on the conglomerate vs. local control issue, with conglomerates usually, but not always, winning. As in so many industries, conglomerates tend to dominate lobbying efforts, and in the radio/television industry, the heavyweight lobbyist is the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).

During the administration of President Clinton, and early in the George W. Bush adminstration, FCC enforcement of decency had some teeth. Infinity Broadcasting paid a $1.7 million fine to the FCC over Howard Stern-related indecency charges in 1995. Clear Channel Communications settled with the FCC for two million dollars over Stern in 2004. That same year Clear Channel also faced the threat of a $755,000 fine over Bubba the Love Sponge. In all three instances, the radio networks terminated the offending programs. However, according to Radio-info.com, "it’s been many years since the FCC fined a radio station for alleged indecency."

FCC regulation of decency on public airwaves (particularly when children may be listening) got a boost in the 1978 Supreme Court decision in Pacifica Foundation v. Federal Communications Commission -- a case brought about by a complaint over the airing of George Carlin's "seven dirty words". In both Rush Limbaugh's Fluke controversy, and in the more recent dust up over shock jock Dominic Dieter suggesting that men should rape away a female teen's girl-kissing tendencies, some have advocated an FCC solution to crass and vulgar pronouncements by on-air personalities. However, a 2010 court ruling "that the vagueness of the FCC's guidelines and the inconsistency in its decisions chilled the First Amendment rights of broadcasters in violation of the First Amendment" has muddled the issue, making subsequent enforcement at least questionable. The arguments about first amendment issues vs. the government regulating indecency continue to rage.

President Bush presided over an era of dramatic expansion for radio network conglomerates:

Concentrating Media Ownership

The FCC in 2003 approved controversial new rules allowing large media companies to expand their ownership of television and radio stations. The Republican-led commission, with Michael Powell at the helm, voted 3-2 to allow broadcast networks to own television stations that reach a combined 45% of the national audience, up from 35%...

Democrats on the FCC board and Capitol Hill objected to the changes, as did consumer groups and some traditionally-conservative voices.

http://www.allgov.com/...

The loosening of rules limiting radio conglomerates followed a party line vote. In 2005, Bush chose a new chairman for the FCC:
President Bush on Wednesday announced the appointment of Kevin Martin as the new head for the U.S. Federal Communications Commission...

Concerned Women for America (CWA), a Christian advocacy group, hailed Bush’s appointment, calling Martin "the right pick".

"Commissioner Martin is the man we backed because he has a consistent and strong track record of decency enforcement," said Jan LaRue, CWA's chief counsel.

"He has been a champion of cleaning up the filth in broadcasting, and being chairman will only further posture him to do just that," LaRue added. "We have repeatedly urged our 500,000 constituents to flood the White House with calls urging the President to choose Kevin Martin for this essential role."

http://global.christianpost.com/...

The "filth in broadcasting" that caused such consternation for Concerned Women for America, however, appears to have been Janet Jackson's televised "wardrobe malfunction" the previous year. Although the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005 became law in 2006 largely as a response to the Superbowl Halftime Show, it's primary purpose is increasing the amount of fines. If no fines are assessed, of course, the dollar amount means little.

Meanwhile, some conservative organizations and websites such as KeepRushOnTheAir.com (now defunct) supported conglomerates in opposition to local control, and opposed efforts to restore the Fairness Doctrine, which had been abolished by President Ronald Reagan's FCC. The Fairness Doctrine had been:

...a policy of the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC), introduced in 1949, that required the holders of broadcast licenses to both present controversial issues of public importance and to do so in a manner that was, in the Commission's view, honest, equitable and balanced.

http://en.wikipedia.org/...

President Obama was seen by conservatives as a probable champion of fairness and local control, and thus, a threat to conservative talk radio:
President-Elect Attacks First Amendment
Democrats want to bring back the Fairness Doctrine to stifle conservative talk radio’s criticism
Jack Thompson, Human Events, December 2008

In 1987, President Reagan’s FCC jettisoned the Fairness Doctrine, and conservative talk radio grew like topsy, unencumbered by the logistical nightmare of determining what is "controversial" and what is "fair." Rush Limbaugh’s meteoric, syndicated rise is directly attributable to this repeal...

Glenn Beck has warned that if the Fairness Doctrine comes back, he’ll be off the air...

Jim Boulet, Jr., the head of English First in Washington, D.C., one of whose projects is www.keeprushontheair.com has been studying and warning for months about the morphing of FCC localism...

Obama sent a public letter to Chairman Martin stating, "The Commission has failed to further the goals of diversity in the media and promote localism..." The head of Obama’s transition team is John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress. In 2007, the Center issued a report, The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio, which concluded there were too many conservatives on the radio because of "the absence of localism in American radio markets" and urged the FCC to "[e]nsure greater local accountability over radio licensing..."

http://www.thepeoplenews.com/...

The alternative to government regulation of public airwaves, of course, is organization and engagement by the larger society. Communication with advertisers becomes the free speech mechanism by which content providers may also be pressured.

Shock Jocks

A relatively small number of sponsors of the Don Imus morning show withdrew their advertising in 2007 after a racially tinged slight of the Rutgers Women's basketball team. Yet the Imus soundbite "nappy headed hos" was repeated incessantly on cable news programs, creating a firestorm of protest. Eventually, Imus was fired.

In 2009, Glenn Beck was host of one of the highest rated news commentary programs on cable TV. By the time the Fox News host called President Obama a racist, the formula had been refined. Media Matters for America and Color Of Change joined forces to record Beck show content, and to contact sponsors. Over a period of twenty months, a "trickle of advertisers" boycotting his show eventually "turned into a torrent". Fox News had long seemed an unassailable bastion of ideological conservatism, the perfect playground for Beck's peculiar bounce off the blackboard brand. Yet Beck was also fired.

The shock jock phenomena is not really anything new. There have been "notoriously offensive performers" throughout history, and the era of radio shock jocks has existed at least since the 1970s. Wikipedia asserts,

Many shock jocks have been fired as a result of such punishments as regulatory fines, loss of advertisers, or simply social and political outrage. On the other hand, it is also not uncommon for such broadcasters to be quickly re-hired by another station or network.

http://en.wikipedia.org/...

Thus, with the FCC perhaps inhibited by an unfavorable judicial environment, there is little to discourage the most boorish behavior by on air personalities.

Rush

Many offenses by a significant number of radio talkers involve sound bites that are no less outrageous than now ubiquitous comments by Limbaugh, Beck, or Imus. Occasionally, some of these personalities are fired. More often, either due to the host's lower profile, or perhaps due to market segmentation, the offensive audio never hits the mainstream. In the case of Rush Limbaugh, notoriety and highly visible political connections insured that his Sandra Fluke attacks were widely reported. He casually dismissed what might have taken down a lesser personality as "a few missing french fries". He claimed 18,000 advertisers on his 600 radio stations, suggesting that the damage was limited. And, he claimed there was no one who could fire him. Yet Rush does have a contract, and that contract is viable only so long as he continues to perform -- in industry parlance, matching ears with advertisers. And, his contract is expensive -- not a comfortable circumstance if events take a turn for the worse.

Rush Limbaugh's millions are derived from advertising dollars, partly contracted directly with the so-called EIB Network -- the mildly pompous "Excellence In Broacasting" moniker that Rush has given to his show --  and partly derived from syndication. His show is distributed via Premiere Networks, a subsidiary of Clear Channel. Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman, who has invested $400 million in the talk show host, waited just under a month for the Fluke crisis to calm before offering his public approval of Rush.

One might have expected Limbaugh, the putative "king of talk radio" and "godfather of the GOP", to take note when advertisers fled Beck's show. But some have argued that Rush essentially creates his own reality, and passes this on to his listeners. He called Sandra Fluke a slut and prostitute for three days straight, and even demanded sex videos. He repeatedly knocked down straw arguments that Fluke never made. Of course, this isn't the only time that Limbaugh has been caught in a flagrant lie. Limbaugh's lies are rarely challenged effectively, in part because no one else has a talk show broadcast on 600 stations. That he attacked Fluke unfairly Wednesday through Friday, and failed to recognize a threat to advertising revenues until Saturday, attests to the impermeability of his reality bubble. In less than two weeks 140 major advertisers had vowed not to advertise on Rush.

Limbaugh hired a crisis manager, and joined the Twitterverse. But even after giving away an Ipad a day for retweets, his just over 200,000 followers (who have been invited to join two Twitter accounts, which he adds together to assert double the number of followers) are a mere fraction of the twenty million listeners that he claims. (In comparison, Stephen Colbert has 3.3 million Twitter followers.)

Limbaugh's crisis team removed transcripts of his tirade against Fluke from his otherwise comprehensive archives. They also employed legal maneuvers, pressuring YouTube to take down a video entitled, "53 of Rush Limbaugh's most vile smears against Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke". The video is once again available, perhaps vindicating the Fair Use Doctrine for activist use, even as it underscores the futility of removing anything of significance from the Internet.

When advertisers continued to fall away, many after hearing from customer/activists, supporter Jeffrey Lord, writing in the American Spectator, tried to launch a "Rally for Rush" counter-movement. It fizzled, in spite of his dangling transgender issues, together with bullet in the brain imagery, nazis, communists, and a conjured leftist ku klux klan in front of his readers. Scattered ditto-heads lurk on Facebook pages of advertisers who have left the show, and on the pages of advertisers they fear may leave, but the save Limbaugh movement is fractured and of little consequence, save for the occasional abuse or threat. The cacophony of right wing blather on Twitter remains high, but isn't really focused on Rush and his difficulties.

Meanwhile, claiming that "McDonald’s, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Intuit, Kraft, Arby’s, and Walgreens have shown their true colors: appeasement yellow" [emphasis added], columnist Michelle Malkin, seeking redemption for both Limbaugh and ALEC, envisions right wing retribution against erstwhile allies. She has called for nothing less than a counter-boycott of corporations by conservatives. Many businesses are already averse to sponsoring programs "deemed to be offensive or controversial", and one wonders whether such high profile smearing of corporations is likely to engender much sympathy in corporate boardrooms. Some progressives believe the more conservatives respond with vitriol, the less likely businesses are to ever again risk their brand in sponsorship of controversial programming. Because conservatives dominate talk radio, conservatives presumably have more to lose from any backlash to the backlash. How surreal that the Fairness Doctrine may have been eviscerated by conservatives in favor of a right to controversy, yet that very controversy, given free rein, seems to have loosed enough bridle for conservatives to hang themselves. How ironic that market forces are now correcting a gross imbalance in the direction of the "honest, equitable and balanced" playing field envisioned by the very doctrine that conservatives decried. Of course, none of this is assured without participation of an aroused citizenry.

Spocko's Method

By his own account, Spocko worked quietly, deliberately, and pretty much in isolation. He established contact with the advertising departments of corporations, linking audio of offensive commentary in his messages. He researched their corporate statement of values, and asked them to consider offensive content in light of those values. When a controversial radio personality voiced a company's ads, Spocko observed that this person was also the voice of the company. Spocko emphasized that withdrawing advertising support for a show didn't limit a host's free speech, it was simply ceasing to support offensive content with advertising dollars.  He would summarize, "You can choose to advertise elsewhere. This is really about YOU. Do YOU want to be associated with these comments? Do you want your company and brand to be associated with these comments?"

How might Spocko counter the argument made by Rush Limbaugh supporters that listeners should tolerate the free speech of shock jocks or talk show hosts, and simply change the channel if they don't like the content? He has cited the example of three Rwandan radio personalities who were convicted of genocide for inciting the murder of about 800,000 Rwandan citizens. Free speech is fine, but hate speech can have very serious consequences.

The method that Spocko pioneered is now embraced by activist organizations far and wide. It played a significant role in removing Glenn Beck from Fox, and variations came into play in the Komen flap. With greater numbers of individuals involved, activists ask the same or similar questions of businesses via email, Twitter, Facebook, fax, or phone.

Color of Change asserts that more than 285,000 people asked hundreds of advertisers to distance themselves from Glenn Beck's program. Komen experienced comment counts on Facebook numbering ten thousand in a single thread, and the damage to Komen persists, with "[a]ffiliates from Indiana to Arizona [reporting] declines in race participants and funds". Even as the daily attacks on Sandra Fluke continued, hundreds of people launched anti-Rush petitions on sites such as Change.org. Credo Action counted more than 450,000 messages to Rush's sponsors.

Consumer activists availed themselves of numerous online resources to gain corporate attention in the early days of the Limbaugh-Fluke flap: Corporate Headquarters, Contact Help, Pissed Consumer, and Customer Service Scoreboard are just a few of these. Any site that allowed comments about products -- Amazon.com, for example -- saw commentary about Rush and Fluke. Yelp (a free competitor to Angie's List -- one of two major companies to return to Rush) was pressed into service, with negative reviews of ProFlowers simultaneous with that company's two days of holding out as a Limbaugh sponsor. Perhaps because of the incongruity of its product and customer base with the misogynist anti-Fluke rant by Rush, ProFlowers was inundated via Facebook and Twitter. UltraViolet, a women's rights group, spurred "100,000 signatures online in two days for a petition asking ProFlowers to boycott the show," with the first ten thousand signatures gathered in just an hour. Another 30,000 messages to the company followed. ProFlowers caved on the Sunday following the Fluke tirade, citing the flood of comments for its decision.

And what of the impact of the Rush backlash on the radio industry? We already had seen indications that the Rush backlash was being felt by both talk and music format stations. Some in the radio industry are nervous that Rush has no reservations about blasting former advertisers on the air. The following is from Radio-info.com, an industry message board:

May 3, 2012

I heard Rush mention by name two sponsors that dropped him are using his name on the Internet in conjunction with their products ... he seems to be indirectly trashing sponsors who support other programs and stations.

 So in the 12 to 3 PM est block Rush says these people dropped him, and in the 9 to 12 est block, some other host or station is saying buy from these sponsors.  Is this a good idea?  I suppose he wants people to give his tea for Mother's Day and not a competing product.  Seems to be hurting other radio people and the stations that are caught in the middle.  

Just bringing up the names of the 2 sponsors that dropped him during the Mother's Day season seems to be getting a little nasty, of course they dropped him...however any new RUSH sponsors might think if they advertise with him, then drop him, they might be targeted with negative commentary?  

Why not let sleeping dogs alone  and move on?  Rush seems to have gotten new sponsor, conservative websites and think tanks, so why hurt your affiliates??

-MC

http://boards.radio-info.com/...

Of course this is nothing new. While business entities generally keep their transactions private, a spiteful Rush Limbaugh gleefully trashed Sleep Train on the air after it briefly suspended ads. Rush was coy -- not mentioning the name of the company on the air, but making its identity clear to longtime listeners. Sleep Train Chief Executive Dale Carlsen had been a friend, and the company advertised with Limbaugh for 25 years. The Los Angeles Times gave us the inside story:
March 8, 2012

The intense campaign to cut advertising to "The Rush Limbaugh Show" took another turn Thursday when one of the first companies to pull its ads reportedly asked to return to the radio show -- only to be told by Team Limbaugh that the conservative host no longer would give his endorsement...

Limbaugh spokesman Brian Glicklich on Thursday forwarded a copy of an email that he said had been sent to Sleep Train Chief Executive Dale Carlsen. In it, Glicklich wrote that Limbaugh had personally received the company's requests to resume advertising on his show.

"Unfortunately," Glicklich wrote, "your public comments were not well received by our audience, and did not accurately portray either Rush Limbaugh's character or the intent of his remarks. Thus, we regret to inform you that Rush will be unable to endorse Sleep Train in the future..."

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/...

If hard information on the industry-wide impact of the Rush backlash is difficult to establish, anecdotal information about Rush does trickle out from time to time. For example,
April 28, 2012

I was at a radio summit yesterday when the Rush topic came up briefly. One group VP mentioned that, like Howard Stern, controversial programming is fine, so long as the ratings are there. He also went on to explain that, unlike many shows that are offered on a barter basis, Rush's show costs money AND inventory. It is expensive. Again, fine, just so long as the ratings are there and the revenue follows. He indicated however that Rush's listenership has been eroding and wasn't anywhere near where it's been. His contract with this particular group is coming up in the next year or so and this VP indicated that renewal was not a lock.

--robnokshus06

http://boards.radio-info.com/...

Limbaugh's listenership is eroding (in spite of his grandiose claims otherwise) and he is "not a lock" for keeping his network together. Sounds like a sign of things to come.

StopRush

So, in spite of all this history, the Limbaugh/Fluke controversy is dying down, right?

The worst is over, Rush and his crisis management team can heave a sigh of relief, right?

Not on your life. The fight against Limbaugh is just beginning. The right wing senses the danger, and has been responding with every bogus argument that it can muster. The newly energized StopRush movement is responding, on Daily Kos and elsewhere, suggesting the patriotic slogan, we have not yet begun to fight.

Meanwhile, perhaps reminscent of the battle scene arrival of Old Ironsides, the StopRush Project's long-awaited database has come online, marking emergence of the most sophisticated infrastructure to date for holding talk show hosts and shock jocks accountable.

StopRush is "a collaborative crowd-sourced volunteer effort to gather information on sponsors and other data related to, and useful for the StopRush Campaign. We took the name from the #StopRush hash tag when it first appeared on Twitter. The site is just one of many efforts in a leaderless, national, multi-party grass roots campaign to change Rush Limbaugh's daily reliance on hate, lies, and vitriol to sell conservative political messages masquerading as 'entertainment'..."

http://www.stoprush.net/...

Rush will have something new to tweet to ditto-land.

Tue May 08, 2012 at 11:27 PM PT: Two important developments, days after this diary was published:

Rush Limbaugh’s 'slutgate' controversy caused parent company to lose 'millions of dollars' in advertising

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...

and,

Rush Limbaugh Launches "Rush Babes For America"

http://mediamatters.org/...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...

Originally posted to Richard Myers on Fri May 04, 2012 at 11:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Sluts and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (182+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Othniel, WisePiper, SilverWillow, pure prarie, fumie, Mogolori, humphrey, Hanging Up My Tusks, 2thanks, Shockwave, blueoasis, elwior, Jeff Y, uciguy30, ask, drawingporno, Pam from Calif, hotdamn, mdmslle, MartyM, markthshark, msmacgyver, AnnetteK, AntKat, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, parsonsbeach, skohayes, DRo, ATFILLINOIS, Eddie L, Pandoras Box, banjolele, LynChi, Up to here, Emerson, sydneyluv, Rumarhazzit, LaFeminista, sodalis, Dobber, TRPChicago, GreyHawk, nervousnellie, davidseth, FrY10cK, susakinovember, MKSinSA, Cedwyn, litoralis, Clytemnestra, arlene, statsone, GDbot, MadGeorgiaDem, tobendaro, p gorden lippy, clananderson, kerflooey, flowerfarmer, SD Goat, buckstop, karmsy, Radiowalla, tomasyn, S F Hippie, a2nite, eru, VTelder, myboo, bjedward, stratocasterman, TBug, DSC on the Plateau, Delta Overdue, middleagedhousewife, Debs2, ruleoflaw, Herodotus Prime, cfk, Gowrie Gal, petulans, fcvaguy, Chi, cotterperson, rja, Alma, Cronesense, lilsky, zukesgirl64, mofembot, Otteray Scribe, dmhlt 66, Ice Blue, GenXangster, YucatanMan, Mistral Wind, dirkster42, semiot, quill, maybeeso in michigan, LSmith, snazzzybird, means are the ends, 88kathy, certainot, millwood, sillia, skod, Sychotic1, dksbook, Babsnc, x, NYWheeler, Haf2Read, maggiejean, On The Bus, Thinking Fella, Sun Tzu, ontheleftcoast, spocko, OIL GUY, Timaeus, pvlb, ParkRanger, Unduna, Nica24, kmbaya, BlueMississippi, IndieGuy, leftywright, jethrock, rsmpdx, 99erinOregon, RunawayRose, wasatch, citizen dan, 417els, squarewheel, TBTM Julie, flavor411, TrueBlueMajority, rapala, Caddis Fly, Crabby Abbey, Sandi Behrns, kbman, juliesie, Eyesbright, bookwoman, linkage, dradams, Smoh, dotsright, GeorgeXVIII, Bob Duck, badscience, antooo, Damnit Janet, leftykook, elziax, mskitty, nominalize, Temmoku, rubyr, EdSF, Puddytat, mkfarkus, Quantumlogic, eeff, grollen, 1BQ, lina, Mathazar, debaseTheBase, G Jones, ItsaMathJoke, maf1029, soyinkafan, bfbenn, tikkun, grrr, papercut

    Follow me on Twitter: @denverunionguy

    by Richard Myers on Fri May 04, 2012 at 11:01:15 PM PDT

  •  Interesting (40+ / 0-)

    I was not aware of Spocko, or his methods/activities.

    It really does provide the template for what people are doing today.  Glad the StopRush folks have their database up.

    Just think in our lifetime, we could see the end of Rush on the Radio and the Murdoch empire . . . one can dream.

      •  If their media collapses (16+ / 0-)

        You'll see political civil war between the various conservative factions. Without an outside messaging system to direct their hate they'll turn on each other.

        Hilarity and an era of good governance would ensue.

        The only difference between (Mitt) Romney and George W. Bush is that Romney hasn't destroyed the American economy, yet - MoT

        by Herodotus Prime on Sat May 05, 2012 at 07:45:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Skeptical. Angie's List advertizes on Rush. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior

        Sorry, but I think this is all wishful thinking. Makes no sense if Angie's List doesn't fear a Rush-association backlash, IMO.

        It is ignorance which is hopeless.

        by IdeaTipper on Sat May 05, 2012 at 04:32:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It would be interesting to know... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          debaseTheBase, G Jones

          ...if this comment is based upon general perception, or specific knowledge.

          Angie's List is a special case. They had their IPO a few months back. The company is growing, but so are expenses.

          So the company is in a race between costs and revenues. They've just recently announced another sale of stock, and the proceeds are to be used for advertising. Why? They believe the only way they can balance the books is by outgrowing their expenses.

          Their business model is closely associated with how well the economy is doing; for example, if a lot of folks have extra money to spend, they're going to be doing a lot of remodeling. Remodeling = more subscriptions to Angie's List.

          I've had some contacts with key people in Angie's List in recent weeks. I sense a nagging fear that they're worried their plan won't work out. Could this be because of their own inherent gambit (investing an appreciable portion of net worth in growth), or because of the possibility StopRush could affect them, and throw them off of their growth plan? Or both?

          I can tell you, StopRush is already affecting them. The questions are, how much near term, and how much long term?

          There's one more thing that Angie's List fears, and that's having Anti-Rush groups focus a spotlight on the company, i.e., singling out a small handful of companies as representative of all the recalcitrant advertisers. Anti-Rush groups really haven't turned on any particularly bright spotlights, at least not since ProFlowers two months ago. But just wait.

          Follow me on Twitter: @denverunionguy

          by Richard Myers on Sat May 05, 2012 at 04:58:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Angie's List (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Richard Myers

          You might think Angie's List is run by "Angie" - not so. The CEO,  Bill Oesterle, is a hard-core Republican. Ex-Hudson Institute and Mitch Daniel's campaign manager. So I suspect this is not a purely business decision (perhaps the case with Staples too).

          At the end of the day, Limbaugh's show cannot survive on a handful of national advertisers and a motley collection of mostly low-rent advertisers.

          The other issue at play here is that Clear Channel, courtesy a leveraged buy-out by our friends Bain Capital (with another firm Thomas Lee), is teetering on the edge of default in 2016 when they have huge debt repayments (more than $12 billion) due.

      •  Thanks! I'd blush if Vulcans blushed (5+ / 0-)

        But everyone knows Vulcans never blush. Or what that bluff... I forget. I blame Dr. McCoy.

        Thanks for the great piece Richard. It's really wonderful to see my concepts and method being used against the RW media.

        They are also being used successfully against ALEC by linking them to the NRA and their nasty laws.

        My method involves understanding corporations and their needs, goals, mission and brands and then convincing the sponsors that a person like Beck, Rush or KSFO hosts, are bad for their brand.

        Social media helps them see that other people notice this brand problem too.

        If anyone wants to hear more detail about how I did it AND how to keep pushing it harder, here is alink to a podcast on In Deep with Angie Coriowhere I discuss the process and what's next.

        I also have a monthly podcast/radio show with Mike Stark where we discuss effective activism and media activism. It's held in Second Life with the podcast live on Blogtalk Radio.  In this latest episode I spoke with the deputy Director of New York Communities for Change, Greg Basta. (I call them Zombie ACORN because some of the staff were from ACORN) I've been advising them on some of their Occupy Wall Street joint actions.

        One of my biggest frustrations is that the progressive groups I've been advising don't have a budget to pay me.  And because of this, I've had to limit my work.

        Think of the economic impact that these methods have had, now ask yourself, How much would the Right Wing pay to do the same to liberal institutions?

        I'm not James O'Keefe (thank god!) but look a what he did to ACORN. How much did that damage the left in terms of votes alone, not to mention all the help they did on the issue of low income housing. Did you know O"Keefe was paid 60K for that? Quite a bargain for the Right. I don't get any Soros money, contrary to popular belief.

        I know that we are all supposed to do this work for love, but the progressive movement loses experienced, effective people like me because they fail to understand I can't live on quatloos.

        On the right I would be well paid fellow at a think tank out there executing strategies that hurts the right.

        I know private industry can understand my value and because progressive groups can't or won't I'm going to have to helping.

        On the other hand if YOU are part of a non-profit (or regular company -esp tech companies) that needs help telling your story to the media, creating a narrative and delivering it effectively you can contact me and maybe I can help. spockosemail at gmail. com  I've got plenty of pro bono clients so they will need a budget though. My dollars to quatloo rates are very reasonable.
        LLAP
        Spocko

        •  I couldn't get the Paypal link on your site to (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Richard Myers, spocko, G Jones

          work.

          Suggestion:  post on DKos more often and always include a Paypal link.  People here value what you do.

          You are doing essential work and have been a real trailblazer.

          It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

          by Radiowalla on Sat May 05, 2012 at 05:58:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Feed Our Effective Contributors (0+ / 0-)

          We need to make sure our most effective contributors EAT and have a ROOF over their heads.  This is also true for excellence in reporting. Each of us should have a subscription to a McClachey newspaper.  Pardon me for yelling but too many people think that our activists, reporters and writers can live on love.

          Newt 2012. Sociopath, adulterer, hypocrite, Republican.

          by tikkun on Tue May 08, 2012 at 09:24:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  For those who use Facebook... (33+ / 0-)

    One of the most active Facebook groups participating in the StopRush effort is Flush Rush (the original group), which is here:

    https://www.facebook.com/...

    Please consider joining the effort, if you are so inclined.

    thanks!

    Follow me on Twitter: @denverunionguy

    by Richard Myers on Sat May 05, 2012 at 01:14:18 AM PDT

    •  The $700,000,000 Man. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, Puddytat, rosabw

      Imagine if a Liberal talk show host got a contract like that? One that has nearly bankrupted the company that made it with him or her? Wingers would know that there was something more than meets the eye taking place. But since it's Rush, it's okay.

      The White Guy - 2012

      by kitebro on Sat May 05, 2012 at 12:28:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It'll be a bit tougher trying to whittle... (10+ / 0-)

    ...off some of the christian broadcasting that peddles racism, misogyny, hate and stupidity but that's something to lay the groundwork for at some point.

    •  A stop religion movement is quite welcome. (11+ / 0-)

      We've had too much irrational thinking already. Time to put a stop to it.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Sat May 05, 2012 at 02:27:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't have any problem with religion. (19+ / 0-)

         It's the hypocrisy and the abject stupidity and the immoral moralizing that bothers me.
            Religions generally emanate from our spiritual nature, our highest aspect as humans. But those who take power from it to use toward selfish, greedy, or malevolent ends have twisted religions into something they were never meant to be.

        "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

        by elwior on Sat May 05, 2012 at 04:03:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  but religion isn't necessary (15+ / 0-)

          for a rich and fulfilling spiritual life.

          ; )

          If you're gonna die, die with your boots on. If you're gonna try, well stick around. Gonna cry? Just move along. The truth of all predictions is always in your hands. - Iron Maiden

          by Cedwyn on Sat May 05, 2012 at 06:03:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There's some disagreement on that (4+ / 0-)

          I say this a little toungue in cheek since we don't know and don't have any evidence about the origins of religion whatsoever.  However you might find this interesting food for thought:

          Some have suggested that religions actually emanate from our tribal nature by way of a group selection mechanism in which groups with a tight knit narrative of superiority, coupled with supernatural powers, does better in the context of incessant warring over limited resources, chimpanzee troops style.

          But of course, that baser instinct has since been coopted by those with a mind to elevate that highest aspect of ourselves....

          Still, I think your basic point that whatever the origin, we would be VERY well served by being aware that the enobling aspects of religion and the the more infamous nature of religion are two distinct aspects and we shouldn't let our revulsion at the latter blind us to the presence of the former.

          Frankly, if we banished religion, some other mechanism for the latter would arise anyway.  I would offer the various xenophobic and hatefilled movements, such as nazism, to demonstrate that one does not need religion to have the bad aspects we complain of.  And as Cedwyn points out, one doesn't necessarily need religion to be ennobled.

          In fact, if you'll indulge me, Buddha told a story about buddhist practice that it is designed to foster an enlightened state, but it is the goal that matters, not the practice.  In that sense religion is like a raft used to cross a river.  Once you cross the river, you do not carry the raft with you.  So it is with practice that if it has served its purpose, abandon it.

          •  exactly (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            dksbook, Nica24, elwior, Eyesbright, Smoh
            Frankly, if we banished religion, some other mechanism for the latter would arise anyway.
            religion is a proxy for and tool of power.  full stop.  like you said, chimpanzees warring over limited resources.

            i'd much prefer honest warmongering to the duplicity of religion.

            If you're gonna die, die with your boots on. If you're gonna try, well stick around. Gonna cry? Just move along. The truth of all predictions is always in your hands. - Iron Maiden

            by Cedwyn on Sat May 05, 2012 at 08:25:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Religion = social club for many. (6+ / 0-)

            Local churches function as big community centers for the whole family in many areas. And people who join can have an instant sense of purpose and belonging, totally aside from any spiritual benefits or damage that may accrue from that church. And they acquire a network that benefits them in many aspects of life.

            Many successful ministers I have known are more like social organizers and directors, ensuring that there is a choir/group/round of activities for each age and stage of their flock. Actual spiritual belief or understanding seems, in my estimation, rather low down on the list of prime requirements. In fact, a low-key spiritual approach can often keep a church steadier, IMHO.

            OTOH, I joined a buddhist group which put spirituality first and it always struggled to remain in existence and to have adequate funding. Singles were reminded that retreats were for serious work,  NOT a place to look for mates, for example.

            What people could really use are wonderful taxpayer funded community centers with arts, sports, classes, groups for every age! That is what people need, and often the only place to get even a pale semblance is sadly, at church.

            Nothing against good churches, just saying that that is how these mega-churches get an in. And then keep people by encouraging negativity and hatred.

            Just MHO.

            Life is a school, love is the lesson.

            by means are the ends on Sat May 05, 2012 at 08:57:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I gotta agree, elwior. I'm an atheist. (8+ / 0-)

          I'd never want to "stop religion". I'm a reluctant atheist, one that searched and searched for God most of my life until I realized that because I had to SEARCH, it was evident that I was without a thing called faith and I had to embrace that and come out of the closet.

          And as per Cedwyn's comment below, I see the world with new eyes. I weep at the beauty of life's configurations and I'm touched deeply to know that human beings are alone in this universe and they love each other and this beautiful oasis of a blue marble world floating in the void enough that we haven't all killed each other. Yet.

          Because I love humanity that much, I'll let the others have their faith. It's gotta be a legitimate thing because so many people have it. Some of us just aren't able to tap into that mystery of the human brain, how one can believe what they don't see.

          My life is more full than ever. I love with my whole heart now and I'm unafraid to do so. Religion confuses and depresses someone like me. It's just not for everybody. ;-)

          "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

          by GenXangster on Sat May 05, 2012 at 08:30:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I think there's a bigger issue. (17+ / 0-)

    While self-defense is presumably available to every individual, self-defense is only effective, if the contestants are fairly matched AND if it's a matter of life and death.  That's because self-defense risks certain injury, which is only "better" in relation to the worst -- i.e. death. When the assault is not meant to be lethal, but only to intimidate and subordinate, then self-defense is worse than useless because, in risking additional injury, the victim becomes a tool of the abuser. That's why torture is worse than death.  It does on indefinitely and there's no out for the victim, unless there's an outside intervention.
    This is true, whether the abuse/torture is physical or verbal.  Moreover, when authority (which we set up to counter the deprivation of rights) stands idle in the face of abuse, it becomes complicit. Law enforcement agencies have finally come to understand that in domestic abuse situations and are learning to intervene by either relocating the abuser or the victim.

    Rush Limp bough (I call him that because his braggadocio  obviously springs from a sever case of feeling inferior and insecure) is an abusive person.  His behavior is obsessive and will continue until someone makes him stop.  And, as long as no-one did, that he was able to continue sent the message to potential objectors that they could expect no support for their resistance.  It wasn't until somebody took a stand that the proverbial "townspeople" came out of their refuge to join the chorus of objectors. Which suggests that, from Rush's perspective, it's only going to get worse. Most people don't like being verbally assaulted and they don't like hearing others assaulted.  But, like a train wreck, such behavior is fascinating and people can't help watching and waiting to see what happens next.  One can call that entertainment, but it's not what they would choose.  Just like watching FOX in the airport lounge is better than worrying whether the plane has crashed.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Sat May 05, 2012 at 02:31:30 AM PDT

  •  Oxy/Viagra loving Rush's vile comments (11+ / 0-)

    would've been deplorable used against any human being, but the fact that he went after an incredibly intelligent, articulate law student was stupid and despicable. I hope Ms. Fluke sues the crap out of him and enjoys her new West Palm Beach digs!

    "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Matthew 5:11

    by parsonsbeach on Sat May 05, 2012 at 04:14:23 AM PDT

  •  not sure (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    downsouth, elwior

    what your stance is regarding government regulation of content. I favor boycotts and advertiser pressure, but I don't trust the government to decide what is decent and what isn't.
    Enforcement has been selective to say the least.

    "I represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic party." -Paul Wellstone

    by crackpot on Sat May 05, 2012 at 05:09:04 AM PDT

  •  Rush is very deserving of the fruits of his labor (7+ / 0-)

    It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. I expect he will brag and flail his way into oblivion. The loyal ditto-heads will miss him. I won't.

    Keeping a firm grip on my gratitude list

    by Up to here on Sat May 05, 2012 at 05:13:37 AM PDT

  •  Thank you. Excellent diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MKSinSA, Radiowalla, elwior

    I haven't been following this topic and I'm so happy to read about this activism. I used to listen occasionally to Rush just to keep up with right wing hate speech.  But for the last few years I've done my best to put my fingers in both ears (la, la, la, la)and block him out!!

    The 'shift' is hitting the fan.

    by sydneyluv on Sat May 05, 2012 at 05:33:07 AM PDT

  •  Do you really want to stop Rush? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    downsouth, elwior

    He seems to help Democrats more than hurt them - I say let him keep going - it's great to have him as a voice of the right to compare and contrast to.

    The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government. - Thomas Jefferson

    by ctexrep on Sat May 05, 2012 at 05:41:25 AM PDT

    •  Not to mention the brown running down (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, Eyesbright

      Republican legs these days.  Any Repblican politician who objects to the control that Rush has over the Party risks getting swamped with objections and vitriol from the Dittoheads.  Maybe there are fewer of them than there used to be but they still seem to carry a lot of weight with Republicans.  

      Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

      by arlene on Sat May 05, 2012 at 06:33:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes! He is responsible for making it cool (10+ / 0-)

      to demonize liberals and cool to mock them and their values.  He has legitimized hate speech by pretending that "it's all in good fun."

      For the first time there has been a true backlash and Rush is on the defensive.  I say keep up the pressure.

      It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Sat May 05, 2012 at 07:19:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Read comment above. He gives the deranged (6+ / 0-)

      direction, without direction they will turn on each other.  Because they hate and they are deranged.  Taking away Rush takes away their ability to attack.

      . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

      by 88kathy on Sat May 05, 2012 at 08:52:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have now been following Rush... (8+ / 0-)

      ...every day for two solid months. I have also explored his impact upon political discussion in our society, on a daily basis.

      A number of individuals have explored what Rush actually represents, and some books have been written. While i haven't read any of these, i expect that they contain some important information, and i would advise anyone who thinks Rush is either benign, or that his overall impact is positive, to do more research.

      The number one issue that everyone needs to understand about Rush is this one, simple fact: he lies.

      I'm not talking spin, i'm talking absolute, flagrant, bald-faced lies. As the loudest, and perhaps most far-reaching purely partisan political voice for more than two decades, that one circumstance has had an incalculable negative impact on our politics.

      The number two issue is, whatever his actual audience, his lies are amplified on a daily basis throughout our society. I see articles from multiple sources repeating his lies, hitting the web on a daily basis within an hour after he voices them. I see ditto-heads writing letters to the editor, repeating his lies verbatim, and asserting that they are the gospel truth.

      Rush Limbaugh the propagandist is a festering infection that we must cut away from the body politic. I believe that anyone suggesting he can be held up as an example for the rest of us, or for swing voters, or for anyone else, hasn't yet realized one simple fact: no one else has a loud enough voice to do so. To be sure, John Stuart and (in his own way) Steven Colbert have shown that competing narratives can get traction. But neither of these voices is regularly heard in the hundreds of thousands of rural communities around the country where Rush has not only become a staple, but is believed to speak with the inerrancy that some attribute to the Bible itself.

      Consider, even the president of the United States isn't heard by a significant measure of the populace for eighteen hours a week, some fifty weeks out of the year.

      The very idea that a society would enable such a pernicious propagandist, and make him wealthy in the process, is in itself revolting. Let us, together, go about the work of disassembling his empire, advertiser by advertiser. Having been allowed unchecked, unaccountable authority to say whatever he pleases for so long, he has given us sufficient ammunition (with much of it readily available on Youtube) to do so.

      Now, having said all of this, do i believe that we should violate Rush Limbaugh's right to free speech? Absolutely not. Let him talk all he wants, to whomever he wants.

      I simply think we should take away his megaphone, for not only is it larger and more pervasive than any other person in our society, it allows him to spew so much bigotry and bile that it has no socially redeeming value.

      And how do we best accomplish this goal? By using our own right to free speech, and by availing ourselves of the very market forces that conservatives cherish. Don't let anyone tell you it is otherwise.

      Follow me on Twitter: @denverunionguy

      by Richard Myers on Sat May 05, 2012 at 11:54:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well said! (0+ / 0-)

        "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

        by elwior on Sat May 05, 2012 at 12:47:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  But most do not realize there are lies. (0+ / 0-)

        He backs up his statements with selective soundbites which give an aura of truth to his opinions.  I am not sure how many lies there are as opposed to opinions which I think is his very careful way to avoid slander.  Of course the Fluke tirade was more than a lie but an absolute lunatic episode of sordid proportion.

  •  I have always been suspect (8+ / 0-)

    of the numbers attributed to Limpball's show.  There is no way possible he ever had 20 million listeners.  The numbers were cooked and all had a good laugh on their way to the bank.  He is now being exposed for the fraud that he is.  The Twiiter totals will devastate his rating quickly, that is true representation of his place among "entertainers".

    And she's good at appearing sane, I just want you to know. Winwood/Capaldi

    by tobendaro on Sat May 05, 2012 at 06:46:34 AM PDT

  •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Eyesbright

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sat May 05, 2012 at 07:11:18 AM PDT

  •  Not sure... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, bfbenn

    that removing Rush from the air is such a good idea for the Democrats.  As ctexrep says above, he provides a useful "voice on the right" to compare Democratic opinion to.  We benefit from such a comparison, especially in the eyes of the independent swing voters who are so important these days.  Removing Rush would leave us with a relative moderate like Mike Huckabee as that "voice on the right".  Huckabee is a skilled politician who has given his subject matter much more thought than Rush, and makes his arguments from a much less confrontational and extremist point-of-view.  This would severely reduce the gap between the "voice on the right" and Democratic opinions, thereby risking losing some of those independents.

    I also agree with crackpot above in that, while consumer boycott is fine, I do not want the government determining what speech is "decent" speech.  Consumers themselves can regulate such things with their pocketbook, by not purchasing and actively boycotting the products of companies that support speech they disapprove of.  Just as your StopRush movement is doing here.  No need for the FCC to be involved.

    •  NO (8+ / 0-)

      it's a brain washing effort. And it works. I listen to Rush and Hannity and then I hear their words repeated exactly on C-Span's Washington Journal. Word for word. Better they are off the air.

      •  Not very effective, then... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior
        it's a brain washing effort. And it works. I listen to Rush and Hannity
        Here you sit, on a Democratic blog, despite listening to these 'brainwashing" programs.  Kinda brings their effectiveness into question, I'd think.  Of course, you're not a driveling idiot, like most of the rest of Rush's "20 million listeners", so maybe that explains it.

        As for your other argument, it sounds dangerously close to saying that any opposing opinion should be censored, all for the good of society of course.  It's easy to believe in freedom of speech for those with whom we agree.  The challenge is to believe in it for those with whom we disagree, as well.

    •  Rush controls the mob. Without the leader (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, Eyesbright

      the mob would turn on itself.  Rush will not tolerate any Republican who comes even close to being a Republican.  

      . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

      by 88kathy on Sat May 05, 2012 at 09:03:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then challenge the leader. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior

        Put progressive talk radio hosts on the air to refute his drivel.  Take him to task for what he says...not for his right to say it.  George Washington once said, and I paraphrase, "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led to the slaughter."  Today, it's Rush Limbaugh.  Tomorrow, it may be you.

        •  Air America. (0+ / 0-)

          The understood you in your commands, is me, and I couldn't even get Air America on the radio in my house.

          So what you are saying is get a bigger microphone than Rush, well that would be a boycott of his sponsors.  That I can do.

          . . . from Julie, Julia. "Oh, well. Boo-hoo. Now what?"

          by 88kathy on Sat May 05, 2012 at 04:55:50 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the great diary. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Myers, 88kathy, elwior, Eyesbright

    This is a quote by Thomas Paine, the American colonialist pamphleteer (today, he'd be a blogger) who was writing, about just what Rush Limbaugh represents in society:

    Calumny is a species of treachery that ought to be punished as well as any other kind of treachery. It is a private vice productive of public evils, because it is possible to irritate men into disaffection by continual calumny who never intended to be disaffected.
    "Calumny" means "slander." I think of "calumny" as also having connotations of "gossip," or private communication. Today, with the mass media and the internet, calumny hardly counts as a "private ill," and the one way I could justify Paine's assertion in light of Limbaugh's career is that Limbaugh appeals to a base of aging, angry white males that wants to feel like it's "rebelling," presumably against some new, oppressive public standard of decency. Limbaugh's discourse, contrasted with this public standard, paradoxically, is "private."

    Rush Limbaugh, very much, has built his lucrative empire on calumny. It's how this lionized and influential man breeds self-hatred and misery in all kinds of people, and all kinds of rot in society. In his remark, Paine, writing at the time of the Revolutionary War, was talking about something distinct from Free Speech. Paine's remark is prescient. He is also describing the talk radio, slandering an ethnic group, that led up to the horrific Rwandan Genocide.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sat May 05, 2012 at 07:43:44 AM PDT

  •  This would call for some guerrilla tactics too (4+ / 0-)

    I can certainly imagine handing out flyers with just the company name and a particularly offensive quote from Rush at the entrance to supermarkets, or even stickering the companies products with the hate speech so that people know what they are supporting.

  •  What a thorough and well explained diary on (9+ / 0-)

    the topic of radio and Rush.

    Reagan set this country back over 50 years.  Think of all the progress that would have been made if the ridiculous concepts of privatization, free trade, deregulation, and killing the Fairness Doctrine had not taken place.

    Rush Limbaugh was "created" in a Rovian way (although this was too early for Rove's doing) as a permanent rally leader for disgruntled people voting against their own best interests.  Reagan made Rush possible.

    Many diaries have pointed out that Reagan would be considered a "liberal" in today's Republican Party, but Reagan made this avalanche to the right possible. He tore down the framework which had kept our nation on a somewhat reality-based, middle-class supporting path and gave a giant kick-start to the right wing fanaticism and crock-pottery of today.

    My little speech aside, this is a great diary outlining the issues around talk radio, Rush, and the power of people to come together and create changes. Thank you!

    What a Police State Looks Like: "On one side: soft human flesh, unprotected human skulls, cardboard signs, slogans they chant, armed with belief in 1st Amendment rights. On the other: helmets, body armor, guns, batons, chemical weapons." -- JanetRhodes

    by YucatanMan on Sat May 05, 2012 at 08:24:14 AM PDT

  •  Just (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, 88kathy, elwior, Eyesbright

    looked at Twitter and Rush has 176,903 Followers compared to Hannity's 352,135.

    And that's after giving away iPads to follow him and retweet.

    To me it shows how old his audience must be.

  •  Great Diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Myers, elwior

    One thing I do want to expand on is "EIB"

    Rush does demonstrate excellence in the technical art of broadcasting.

    What he does not do is actually use that in a way that reflects the excellence in content.

    Two different things.

    Many radio people will cite his talent, and he does have huge talent, and "it's show business" as outs, many of them wishing they had the mic Rush does.

    ***Be Excellent To One Another***
    IF THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THE PEOPLE, MAKE THEM OWN IT.

    by potatohead on Sat May 05, 2012 at 08:52:32 AM PDT

  •  Oversight: Consolidation in Radio started in 1996 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Myers, elwior, Minnesota Deb

    with the passage of the Telecommunications Act.  The law did many things, but regarding radio, it lifted the cap on number of stations that one company could own from 40 to 35% of the total market.  President Clinton and Vice President Gore championed the passage of the act.  It passed 414-16 in the House and 91-5 in the House.

    While radio was not a paragon of serving the public interest prior to the passage of the act, it got way worse after.  Clear Channel and other conglomerates bought up hundreds of stations each.  Minority ownership almost disappeared.  Programming decisions were made for hundreds of stations at a remote corporate office rather than locally.  Local news coverage in many stations almost disappeared.  

    It is important to be clear that the bulk of the Democratic Party works for the 1% most of the time and this is another example of that.  Otherwise, this is a great diary and I recommended it.

    •  Fully agree, thank you (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, Eyesbright, mashed potatoes

      The entire radio industry conglomerate story is much richer, and much more disturbing, than even hinted at in this diary about Rush. It is part and parcel of the "lean industry" concept, the same sort of universal corporate mechanism that results in periodic layoffs, that off-shored many thousands of factories and tens of millions of factory jobs, and has contributed to the continuing (and accelerating!) concentration of wealth in our society, while (in the case of radio) insuring that local radio stations are less responsible, and less responsive to communities' needs.

      As i was researching and writing this diary, i occasionally ran across information that flagged that writer's sentiment, "gee, everyone should know about this..."

      Clear Channel and Cumulus (two of the largest radio industry conglomerates) have both had recent layoffs. Observers have been shocked that many who were once regarded as essential talent (news reporters and well-known local anchors, for example) have been let go.

      Clear Channel and Cumulus have both been cited as possessing bad corporate reputations in industry discussion forums -- in the sense of people not wanting to work for a heartless, soulless corporate entity.

      And the very nature of working for radio appears to have undergone some rather radical machinations. One particularly disturbing story involved a hazardous materials accident, in which local authorities assumed the local radio station would still be available for broadcasting emergency messages to the populace. Not so; the local radio stations of this era of global syndication are relics of a bygone period, with content created elsewhere, aimed at a mass audience for greater efficiency. Often, no one is even there to pick up the phone.

      But the connection with Rush just didn't seem close enough to include these other industry stories. Perhaps i'll find opportunity to explore some of these issues in a future diary.

      Follow me on Twitter: @denverunionguy

      by Richard Myers on Sat May 05, 2012 at 10:02:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary- couple of points (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Eyesbright, Minnesota Deb

    i think this effort to finally challenge RW radio is the most important political work progressives can do. the RW has been getting a free speech free ride re radio for 20 years and it needs to stop. it's been kicking democracy's ass.

    IMO radio activists and those contacting advertisers etc. need to know and keep in mind a lot of the crap pushed on this country by the right the last 20 years would probably not have succeeded without RW radio- from clarence thomas to bush to iraq, swiftboatings, wall st deregulation, obama obstruction, continued global warming inaction, and on and on. the alternate reality the right needed to create their pro corporate anti-democratic constituencies would not be nearly as successful without unchallenged repetition to 50 mil a week.

    and rush activists need to know that RW radio is a well coordinated propaganda machine and rush is only the point man. when rove lost the white house (and rush needed palin in order to back mcain) there was some disunity and that might still be a problem to some extent (for them) but in general when it comes to important issues all those RW talkers are going to be on the same page with the same think tank talking points and the same think tank hacks are touring the country getting interviewed by all the same local blowhards to deny global warming, lie about obama, etc.

    getting limbaugh down to a couple hundred stations in the south would be a significant success but the same work on all RW radio would be huge.

    the dem party or some of the big left orgs need to put up a searchable database of transcripts of the  main national and local talkers so this election season dems aren't going to get punked as much.

    and our universities are playing a key part in maintaining the acceptability of the RW radio reality and those relationships- university sports on partisan radio stations, need to start to unravel this election season.

    the use of paid callers for RW radio needs exposure also. maybe rewards for whistle blowers...

    thanks again for the diary.

    got a slow connection last few weeks - sucks right now especially.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sat May 05, 2012 at 09:37:25 AM PDT

  •  Can you edit this down? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    I'm sorry, but the diary started to meander after the jump. You lost me. You started of strong with the homage to Spocko. But honestly, I don't need a quarter-century of history to understand the anti-Rush effort. I stopped reading as I do with with all (IMO) overly-long diaries.

    It doesn't matter that you lost me but I doubt I'm the only one. If you want to reach a wider audience you should consider a concise version. to supplement this in-depth version. This version is a fine resource for those who want to go into the details in greater depth.

    I usually get lambasted when I advocate for concise diaries, so let me have it if you (anyone) feel the itch. But understand I am not trying to say I am a better writer I am trying to promote wider readership.

  •  Conservatives favor the right to controversy? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior
    Generally speaking, conservatives have consistently favored the right to controversy over the fairness and balance preferred by liberals.
    Please supply reasoning and data for this contention.  It is well-known that conservatives - and corporations - fight to keep muzzle many voices and views.  For example, liberal advocates cannot even PAY tv stations to run anti-gun ads - and single payer health care ads (and supporters) have been silenced for years.  Conservatives "favor" a "right to controversy" only when the view expressed is far right.  

    If conservatives "favored"  a "right to controversy" we would have seen conservatives airing the views of gay rights advocates for decades.

    •  This question could require its own diary... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, Eyesbright

      or maybe two or three to cover adequately. But the qualification ("generally speaking") suggests there are exceptions, and you identified an example.

      Some of the evidence for this statement may be found in the links that follow it. I don't have time to respond more fully right now, but perhaps others will comment.

      Follow me on Twitter: @denverunionguy

      by Richard Myers on Sat May 05, 2012 at 10:26:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Extremely well-done! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, Eyesbright, rubyr, lilsky, bfbenn

    I usually avoid reading such long and detailed diaries.  However, this one is so well-researched, topical and strategic, it kept my interest throughout.

    Kudos!

    As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    by rsmpdx on Sat May 05, 2012 at 10:14:55 AM PDT

  •  will rush always have _enough_ advertisers ? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, bfbenn

    obviously there are a solid few million people, evil and not-too-bright, and various proportions thereof, who will always tune in to rush, and hannity and the rest.

    it's nice to put a dent in his revenue stream, but getting him off the air would be extremely difficult.

    28% of the people in this country approved of W when we got rid of him - that represents the core group who will keep the rush, hannity, coulter crowd rolling in enough green that we will never be truly free of them.

    but just the thought that this probably really annoys them makes me happy :-)

    big badda boom : GRB 080913

    by squarewheel on Sat May 05, 2012 at 10:37:10 AM PDT

  •  Why hasn't the White House reponded to our AFR (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    petition?  We got the required 20,000 signatures.  Reach that threshold number and the WH says they will respond to the petition to remove Limbaugh from Armed Forces Radio.  
    There are women and men in uniform "forced" to listen to rush on ship when it is sent thru the speakers of every room, or so i have been told.  Even if only on one ship, it is still torture to non-dittoheads.

    Elizabeth Warren 2016!

    by windwardguy46 on Sat May 05, 2012 at 01:02:34 PM PDT

    •  It's 25,000 signatures required, and we've (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rubyr, windwardguy46

      already got over 28,000.
         But there's a review process involved by the White House before it gets sent out to SoD Panetta for a decision on it.
          The best thing to do now is to contact the White House to urge prompt consideration.
           Pulling Limbaugh off of AFR would be a great big step so follow-up action is very much worthwhile!

      "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

      by elwior on Sat May 05, 2012 at 01:14:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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