The business press seems uneasy. Late Friday, the Wall Street Journal admitted that "Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett kept [Wisconsin] Gov. Scott Walker on the defensive" in their Friday night debate. The National Review's Iain Murray has called for a counter-boycott of Amazon over that company's decision to stop supporting ALEC. And the International Business Times noted that the Limbaugh boycott has gotten results, even as it described them as "mixed".
All three of these news stories – the Wisconsin recall, the effort to pry corporations away from ALEC, and the campaign to drive Limbaugh off the public air waves – have been described as key political struggles of this era. If progressives and their allies embrace any of these three causes in sufficient numbers, and with sufficient passion, there is a significant possibility of victory.
ALEC, and the Scott Walkers now in control of numerous state governments, have been responsible for devastating attacks against working families, against women, and against minority rights. But easily the foremost propagandist on the right is Rush Limbaugh, who inveighs against perceived enemies of conservative old white men for fifteen to eighteen hours a week, on six hundred radio stations. Limbaugh has an audience estimated in the millions. On some weighty political issues (such as climate change), researchers have determined that Rush Limbaugh has impacted our nation's political dialog moreso than any other single entity.
Yet since his Fluke attack, Limbaugh has been under significant pressure. He has hired a crisis manager, has started using Twitter, has unsuccessfully pressured Youtube to remove videos of his rants, and has created "Rush Babes For America", all in response to that pressure. Beyond the jump, we'll explore why it is necessary for us to use our own free speech to get Rush Limbaugh off the public airwaves, and three ways to accomplish that task.
Limbaugh has always cultivated the ability to offend. Limbaugh thoroughly enjoys embellishing news stories with insinuations and absurdities, thereby offending multiple groups at once. "Farewell sex" is a typical example: Limbaugh reported as fact that "Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Passes Law Allowing Husbands to Have Sex with Dead Wives Up to Six Hours After Death." The claim has been called a lie by the editors of Foreign Policy, and "Utter Hooey" by the Christian Science Monitor. Yet Limbaugh used it as a simultaneous salacious attack against Muslims, foreigners, and women's rights. "Who provides the contraceptives when an Egyptian guy has sex with his dead wife?" Limbaugh demanded to know.
Lies and ridicule are just two aspects of the Limbaugh formula. Agitation, scapegoating, vilification, and naked innuendo are also regularly employed. Limbaugh recently compared President Obama to Communists and Nazis. In another raunchy jab, Limbaugh noted that "Silvio Berlusconi, former prime minister of Italia, [known] for his wild parties, would have a beautiful Dominican woman dress up like Barack Obama at some of his parties. I don't know what happened after that."
Limbaugh saw a simple story on demographic changes in the United States as another opportunity to stoke fear in his audience. He droned:
It is clear that this, and other similar stories like this, are meant to serve as a warning to Republicans and conservatives. And the warning is: You are on the wrong side of history. And you are on the wrong side of demographics. You better do what the coming majority wants right now, or you’re gonna suffer the consequences. There is an implied threat in this story. You’re getting older. You’re white and you’re dying off. Pretty soon you’re gonna find out what it’s been like to not be you.By such relentless fear-mongering, Limbaugh makes it respectable for his audience of millions to fear, hate, and malign.
Rush is syndicated by Premiere Networks, a wholly owned subsidiary of Clear Channel, which is owned by Bain Capital, which until recently was headed by, and continues to financially support, Mitt Romney. Another Clear Channel shock jock without Limbaugh's reach and political import momentarily advised a father in the listening audience to have his friends rape away his daughter's gayness, and was promptly removed from the air. Limbaugh's transgressions against Sandra Fluke were similarly grotesque, but were also sustained over days, yet he received accolades rather than discipline. Limbaugh is a protected commodity because he is a key part of a master plan for conservatives to dominate politics, and thereby control the country.
According to Limbaugh, eighteen thousand advertisers have made his incessant attacks possible. The StopRush movement is steadily reducing that number, with zero the eventual goal. Many of the activists amassing data on Limbaugh's advertisers and educating them about what their ad dollars purchase are new to activism. However, they're working alongside some of the same team who drove Glenn Beck off of Fox News. Fully aware that this struggle is a marathon and not a sprint, we can smile at headlines suggesting our results are "mixed" – the Beck campaign lasted for 20 months before bearing fruit. The Limbaugh campaign hasn't yet passed its third month.
We'd like to invite you to help this effort. Can you commit to one of the following?
1) Become A Part Of The Movement
The circumstance that makes this campaign possible is rather simple: most advertisers contract for radio time, but do not know when their ads will run. We repeatedly encounter surprised advertisers when we inform them that their ads are running on the Rush Limbaugh Show. Many vow immediately to rectify that situation.
All across the country, individuals listen to his show on the radio (streaming audio doesn't have the ads that we want to track), and write down the advertisers and contact information, also noting the time and date of each ad. This information is input into the StopRush database.
Others use the database to contact the advertisers by phone, email, web, Facebook page, or Twitter to let them know their ads are running on Limbaugh.
Limbaugh's list of radio stations is here.
You can determine whether his show is currently being monitored in your area by searching on your local station, here.
A few advertisers aren't aware of the controversy that stains their brand when they advertise on Rush. A number of sources – Media Matters for America, AddictingInfo, and Daily Kos to name a few – have put together videos and other materials that convey the essence of Rush, compiled on one web page, or compressed into a brief video. These advertisers may be interested to see Caught On Tape: Limbaugh's Seventy Sexist Smears, How Many Times Can Rush Slander Women in 1 Minute?, or 35 Hateful And Stupid Rush Limbaugh Quotes That Should Anger Everyone.
2) Help To Bring Others In
Blog. Share. Send emails. Link. Let friends, family, and associates know. Share with any organization or group of which you are a part. The more who join this effort, the sooner we can expect a significant result.
3) Contribute Directly
The StopRush effort is a volunteer effort. There is one small expense with which you might help, and that is for the hosting ("server and data storage"). The bandwidth usage grows daily. We, the volunteers contribute enormous amounts of time and we feel that effort is paying off for everyone. But the out of pocket costs are growing. We would really appreciate it if you could chip in a couple of bucks with the DONATE button at http://stoprush.net. Consider: the payoff for your small investment is the continuing diminution of the Limbaugh enterprise. Thank you!