The "war" to hold Rush Limbaugh accountable for his hate speech has taken numerous forms. The idea of a private lawsuit was kicked around, but then discarded. Complaints to the FCC never got far. A petition to remove Limbaugh from Armed Forces Radio made it to the White House, but was denied months prior to the election. There was some clamor about reviving the Fairness Act, but the judicial climate is not favorable. Some talked of mounting protests against radio stations. None of these efforts came to fruition.
What did take hold was a widespread movement to focus on a contradiction in the ultra-lucrative Limbaugh business model: advertisers funding the angry and depraved talk radio program did not necessarily support its excesses. Sponsor advertising is the achilles' heel of the Limbaugh empire.
At the start, hundreds of thousands outraged about Limbaugh's "slut" tirade had participated, with focus on a very small number of companies. Their numbers overwhelmed any resistance, and within ten days, more than 140 major corporations spontaneously distanced themselves from the Limbaugh show.
A few tens of thousands have remained engaged, with some of these making use of the Stop Rush database. Ever since, the simple, systematic process designed to help inform Limbaugh's claimed 18,000 advertisers of their sponsorship has been wreaking havoc on the radio networks that enable Limbaugh.
Pushback against the Stop Rush movement has been erratic and mostly ineffective. A writer connected with second tier right wing publication American Spectator attempted to launch a counter-organization called Rally For Rush. Nothing came of it.
Dittoheads have sought to engage Rush flushers on sponsors' Facebook pages, and on Twitter. Perhaps the greatest noise they've raised to date was a crude, energetic but poorly disciplined effort to blast companies that publicly announced they were dropping Rush or ALEC (in a parallel campaign).
In the intersection of this kerfuffle — with some advising, please don't sponsor Rush (or ALEC), and others screaming, don't cave in to the fascists! — we see a clear delineation between our struggle and theirs.
Rush flushers are generally respectful; they try to be helpful; they are making an argument about decency with the goal of helping concerned advertisers to protect their brand. No question, Rush is the ultimate target. Yet pretty much everyone across the political spectrum readily acknowledges: Rush made himself a target.
The Anti-flushers, on the other hand, do not respect companies; they are prone to lashing out, rather than offering new and potentially useful information; and even more obtuse, they make political arguments that alienate more than they resonate.
These two examples are typical of the attacks routinely launched by Rush and ALEC supporters:
Lame. Weaklings @cocacola caved to the fascist boycott of entities which collude with the WH on agenda.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) April 4, 2012
(Dana Loesch, a CNN contributor, should know better.)
The customer is always right, except at @arbys. Tweet any criticism of them and you'll get blocked. Typical gutless left-wing bitches.— YankInGeorgia (@YankInGeorgia) April 5, 2012
Imagine trying to convince corporate officials to embrace your point of view by calling them "typical gutless left-wing bitches". Playground epithets aren't likely to accomplish much when engaging the target of those epithets. One Rush flusher once engaged a sponsor with such vitriol, and was immediately ejected.
Limbaugh's supporters routinely engage sponsors with such hostility and political demands. They then celebrate their most strident attacks within the right wing echo chamber. Such counterproductive rituals can only work to reinforce the negative rhetoric.
They do not seem to appreciate a simple reality — to the extent that they vilify advertisers over "betraying" the conservative cause, they are helping to inoculate these companies from ever again investing their advertising dollars with conservative talk radio. Most companies don't want to be on the "right side" of the political divide; when it comes to marketing their brand to potential customers, they want nothing whatsoever to do with political division.
A new right wing movement seeks to copy Stop Rush
Now an Alabama racist is attempting to form a new group on the right that is styled after Stop Beck and Stop Rush. He calls his effort Operation Slam, or OpSLAM (for Operation Stop the Lying A** Media).
Rush Limbaugh's Fluke tirade was a primal cause that motivated Flush Rush activists to commit to opposition. OpSLAM has no such primal cause related to the media. It isn't an effort to hold a particular news host accountable for hate speech. It is, rather, an effort to re-litigate the 2012 election.
The target is the mainstream media, but they're planning to first make an example of MSNBC.
The rationale for action, and analysis of the political situation is:
An uninformed populace, fed a steady diet of lies, or even worse, no news at all on many important issues went to the polls in what was probably the most important election of our lifetime with the predictable result.Flush Rush is committed to a non-partisan agenda, focusing on issues of respect and decency rather than politics. Conservatives, and even libertarians have joined; their voices are respected and appreciated.
Even then, stories of election irregularities were circulating throughout the internet and social media, but no one in the mainstream media cared to even take a look. Why should they? Their chosen hero whom they had defended and pushed upon the American people had won, and by extension, they had won. They had shaped an election. They had the power.
It is time we strip them of this power. It is not rightfully theirs. This power belongs with the American people. The press was never intended to determine the course of American history, but to report it as it occurred.
It is time, we, the people of the United States, who still believe that the truth about our government and its actions is the most important role of the press stop the press from its continued corruption of America.
OpSLAM, on the other hand, is purely partisan:
Operation SLAM — #OpSLAM Stop the Lying A** Media was introduced a little over a year ago. However, at the time, the conservatives on Twitter seemed to still be of the belief that we could rely on a fair electoral process and the Republican party to easily remove a completely failed president. Of course, with the media providing cover, parroting the lies of the administration and helping to select our candidate during the primaries, the result was another four-year term of the rapidly growing dictatorship.Unlike the gaggle of dittoheads who discredited themselves attacking companies who dropped Rush, OpSLAM counsels right wing activists to be courteous, and to hide their motivation — an Obama electoral win — and their real goal of destroying the media.
We reintroduced #OpSLAM two days ago to a public that was now ready to act.
They have picked their first corporate target:
The first targeted sponsor of MSNBC is (subsidiary of Proctor & Gamble) Oral-B, the oral care company. We believe this to be particularly appropriate for several reasons. First, they are a company dedicated to clean mouths. How antithetical to their corporate mission that they would sponsor the hate speech and oral filth that deluges the viewers of MSNBC! [emphasis added]I'd like to predict that OpSLAM will draw little support, and fail utterly. Unfortunately, the Alabama racist behind the effort is fairly well known, and has more than 86,000 Twitter followers.
I will observe that light invariably tends to disinfect. When Rush flushers shine a bright light on Limbaugh's bigotry and misogyny, advertisers are able to see the reason for the boycott.
In the case of OpSLAM, on the other hand, shining a bright light on the political goal of the group — especially its explicitly stated attempt to neutralize the results of the election, but also the simple spelling out of the OpSLAM acronym — should convince corporate sponsors why they should not boycott based upon such transparent remonstrations.
The diarist is active in Flush Rush on Facebook:
|Rush Limbaugh's talk radio career is in a slow downward spiral in part because of the activism of consumers, volunteers, and activists who seek to hold Rush accountable for his hate speech. One very active group in this cause is Flush Rush on Facebook. Flush Rush and other, similar groups use the StopRush Database to inform advertisers about where their ads are appearing.
Please consider joining. Small donations are also accepted to fund data storage; visit StopRush for more information.