Last week, a diary here alerted me to the fact that Angie's List, a home maintenance and repair referral service (oh, and they do referrals for medical care now, too), has recent chosen to return to advertising on the Rush Limbaugh radio show.
I was disappointed to say the least. We've been Angie's List members for a number of years, and I have found the service to be helpful in finding reliable service contractors. Rather than just cancel our membership right off, I decided to email them about my concerns. This is what I said:
I have been an Angie's List member for several years, and I was dismayed to learn this week that Angie's List has voluntarily signed on as an advertising sponsor of the Rush Limbaugh radio program. It is disappointing to see a company like Angie's List, begun by a woman and utilized by many women and women-owned businesses, actively choosing to support a misogynist backward thinker like Rush Limbaugh. There are so many other places to advertise, causes to support and opportunities to reach out to the people who make household spending decisions (hint: women by 78%!) rather than give us reasons to want to abandon your service. Please reconsider this choice as soon as possible, as word is spreading about your action to support Rush.Some here questioned why I would even bother to email them with my concerns. I responded that I was interested to see what they would have to say, and if they failed to respond at all, well that would tell me volumes too.
Today I recieved two emails from Angie's List. The first one notified me that my membership was coming due shortly and that I needed to update my payment method.
The second one responded to my concerns above:
Hello Mamabigdog,Obviously, this is a canned response. It is designed to be sent out to anyone who complains about their advertising choices, arguing that I'm upset that they're not supporting my issues. That is where they're wrong.
Thanks very much for contacting us to share your thoughts about Rush Limbaugh. I'm sorry for the delayed response.
Our advertising strategy is to use as many venues as possible to share information about the service we provide at Angie’s List. We use this wide array of venues not to express support for any specific person, outlet or philosophy but to reach as many consumers from as many points of view as possible.
We place ads on all the major networks and cable outlets, as well as radio and newspapers, reaching outlets that cover the gamut of conservative to moderate to progressive to liberal. On any given day, we’ll hear negative reaction to our choices from each part of that spectrum, most of them protesting that we do not support their particular issue or that we do support another.
Just as we trust members to read reports and make their own decisions about which service companies to hire, we trust them to make their own choices about which outlets to watch, listen to and read. We don’t believe it’s our job to tell them which of those venues to support or monitor. That said, we have ongoing conversations about where to place our ad dollars, and we’ll certainly add your comments to that discussion.
Thanks again for reaching out, Mamabigdog.
What I'm unhappy about is that encouraging Angie's List to drop ads on Rush is about far more than the fact he is a misogynist, backward thinker. He's simply a hateful person, who time and again shows everyone that there is no level too low for him to stoop. Rush is mean-spirited, and he lazily relies on those old racist, classist, sexist, ageist stereotypes to make whatever twisted talking point he's serving up each day.
Rush is the embodiment what is wrong with public discourse in America today. Because of him, and the others that followed, millions of Americans believe that the only way to win an argument or point of discussion is to yell louder and be meaner than your opponent. There is no need for truth or accuracy- only volume and nastiness counts. What Rush doesn't realize is that people don't stop arguing because they think he's won. They stop arguing because he's disrespectful, deliberately ignorant, and flat out wrong.
If that's what Angie's List feels is a good advertising venue for their service, then I won't be responding to that first email they sent me today. I will no longer be a member, and I hope you will join me.