Nearly 100 advertisers have made it clear that they intend to pull their ads from all right-wing talk radio, according to a newsletter cited by the online trade journal Radio-Info.com.
TRI Newsletter, a daily column by radio insider Tom Taylor says Premiere Networks, the Clear Channel subsidiary that carries The Rush Limbaugh Show and other popular AM talk-radio programs, is circulating a memo stating that a group of 98 advertisers are pulling out of not just Limbaugh's show, but out of the conservative talk-radio market altogether.
The companies have asked that the network "schedule their commercials in dayparts or programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity)." The group includes auto companies like Ford, GM, and Toyota, insurance companies including Allstate, Geico, Prudential and State Farm, and restaurants such as McDonald's and Subway.
The advertiser exodus is part of the ongoing fracas over Limbaugh's over-the-top attacks on Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, who testified before Congress about the difficulties faced by women beholden to nominally Catholic institutions like hospitals and universities whose insurance plans do not include contraception coverage. Advertisers have been abandoning Limbaugh in a steady stream since he called Fluke a "slut" and a prostitute, in spite of the fact that the radio host posted an apology to his personal web page last week.
Limbaugh insists that everything is fine for the show, comparing the departing sponsors to "losing a couple of french fries in the container when it’s delivered to you in the drive thru. You don’t even notice it.” The media watchdog group Media Matters, however, posits that the repeated incidences of "dead air" and a sudden abundance of PSA's during the Limbaugh show are proof that the advertiser boycott is working.
Advertisers aren't the only ones trying to wash their hands of any association with Limbaugh. Musician Peter Gabriel and the bands Rage Against the Machine, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Rush have all demanded that their music no longer be used on The Rush Limbaugh Show.
Gabriel's reps posted on his Facebook page that he was "appalled to learn that his music was linked to Rush Limbaugh's extraordinary attack." Rage Against the Machine's guitarist Tom Morello is quoted in Rolling Stone as saying "Our response: 'Hey Jackass, stop using our music on your racist, misogynist, right wing clown show."
Morello later posted the same message on his Twitter feed.
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