The world's foremost political shock jock — the man who just declared that Mitt Romney "is the only guy that looked presidential [during the Libya attack]" — has listeners who never miss a radio broadcast. They listen, then immediately act upon scores of new action items gleaned from each and every Limbaugh show. No one pays them for data input, making contacts, and networking around the clock, seven days a week. And no one knows how many true believers there are, for they participate in forums on different social media sites across the web. These network ninjas are honing skills through their own experiences, for week after week they receive feedback on what works, and what doesn't. Loyal to a fault, they are the Rush Limbaugh Show's most dedicated listeners, but none of them receive EIB engraved iPads from Rush. Indeed, many ignore the radio host's diatribes entirely! These network ninjas, loyal to the goal of ultimately getting Limbaugh off the air, listen to record and catalog his sponsors. And the number of activists joining this anti-Limbaugh legion continues to grow.
In spite of a newly developed impulse to pull his punches to protect advertising revenues, Limbaugh keeps feeding the frenzy. Of the Libyan embassy attack, Limbaugh claimed,
“Barack Obama’s in charge of the foreign service – him and Hillary Clinton,” said Limbaugh. “Their first instinct was to sympathize with the attackers..."Limbaugh claimed that there were no Libyans attempting to help Ambassador Christopher Stevens:
—Rush Limbaugh, as reported by Mediaite
“Then to add insult to injury, we have to listen this morning — honest to God folks — to Mrs. Clinton and Obama praise the Libyans for trying to save our ambassador,” the conservative radio host said Wednesday. “These pictures that you’ve seen with the ambassador upside-down, half naked, being carried over somebody’s shoulder? We’re told, ‘Yeah, our friends in Libya were taking him to the hospital.’ They paraded our ambassador around! Taking him to the hospital? How stupid do they think we are?”Politico contradicts Limbaugh, noting that the Associated Press and a photo caption from Getty Images indicate Libyan citizens took an unconscious Ambassador Christopher Stevens to a hospital in Benghazi. Limbaugh failed to acknowledge that "as many as 10 Libyan security guards were also killed in the attack." Some of the Libyan people have expressed sorrow over the attack [PHOTO]. (Also please see this highly recommended diary.)
—Rush Limbaugh, as reported by Politico
Limbaugh also mused [AUDIO], "what if Ayman al-Zawahiri and other Al-Qaeda leaders gave up Osama Bin Laden for the express purpose of making Obama look good?" Limbaugh then riffs on the now familiar gasbag theme that Obama and Al-Qaeda are on the same side.
Perhaps Limbaugh's greatest danger is his tendency to flat out lie. For example:
CBS is reporting that our ambassador is dead because our "friends" in Libya told that mob where they had taken him for his own safety. There's a protocol. There's a procedure. When the consulate's attacked, you get the ambassador out of there. You move him to an established place of safety. They did that, and then they told the mob where that was.The CBS Timeline of the attack actually states:
—Rush Limbaugh, transcript, RushLimbaugh.com
2:30 a.m. Wednesday — Libyan and U.S. security forces retake the annex. Officials believe that Stevens got out or was pulled out of the main consulate building during the battle for the annex and was taken to the hospital. The officials do not know if Stevens was alive when he arrived at the hospital.Thus, the backlash against Rush continues to grow. On Facebook alone, anti-Rush groups go by more different names than Rush has personal friends: Oppose Rush. Boycott Rush. Fire Rush. Flush Rush. Some are huge; one boasts more than two hundred thousand supporters. Some are smaller, but intensely engaged. Some are open, while some are invisible to outsiders. The one thing that all participants share is a certain disgust that the so-called free market empowers bigoted, partisan hate speech. But the free market has likewise empowered citizen consumers via social networking, and these activists — many of whom have never before engaged in any sort of activism — are utilizing social media — email, Twitter, Facebook, fax, phone, discussion forums — for all it is worth.
A few typical responses to emails sent to Limbaugh's advertisers:
Actually, we were not aware that our ads were playing during his show. We will be meeting with our rep today to discuss this. Thanks for the heads up.The advertisers who have dropped Rush have cost the radio networks millions, at least.
Thanks, Jodi [at our company]
Those whom support [our business] have brought it to our attention that we may have an advertisement running during a controversial talk radio program. We were not aware of our ad placement and will be assessing our media plans with our representatives next week. Thank you for your concern [our company]
Appreciate your concern.
[Our company] does not support Rush Limbaugh. We are working with hundreds of US radio stations to get the word out and sometimes do not have full control of when and where our ads air.
We've requested to take our ads down from the program and our spots will no longer be on that show.
Keep up the positive energy and focus to help us provide [product to our customers].
We appreciate your support. [our company]
Thanks very much for your note. Although we don't support Limbaugh or his views, we discovered yesterday that one or more of the companies we use to purchase advertising may have placed our ads on his show in a few markets. This was done without our instruction or permission. We're working to get to the bottom of this.
Thank you for letting us know about the ads, and please let us know if you see any more of our ads on Rush's show.
Danny [at our company]
The radio networks have invested additional millions in a technological capability they never before contemplated, but now consider a necessity — shielding their own advertising customers from the controversial programming for which they themselves are responsible. Rates have fallen, prompting a characterization of the current state of the radio advertising revenue model as seven percent quicksand.
Rush has attempted to counter the social media denizens on their own turf. That having largely failed, Rush — whose ditto-head supporters frequently use the "violation of free speech" argument against Rush flushers' free market tactics — tried to quash activist's free speech rights by claiming copyright against fair use of Limbaugh audio snippets on Youtube:
Limbaugh lost that particular battle. But now, it is possible (no confirmation) that Rush is behind a similar attack, in which Facebook has taken down one of the anti-Rush Facebook groups, allegedly for "posting multiple images which violate copyright laws." Stay tuned.
|The greatest threat to Rush Limbaugh's continued radio dominance is the activism of consumers, volunteers, and activists who seek to hold Rush accountable for his hate speech by joining Flush Rush on Facebook, and other groups that use the StopRush Database to inform advertisers about where their ads are appearing. Please consider joining.|