As nearly every political writer will attest, it’s nearly impossible to write about a right-wing agitator like Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh without someone smugly commenting, “why do you even give them the time of day? If we ignore them, they’ll go away.”
The obvious flaw to that logic is that even if a blog were large enough to make an impact, for the most part, our readers are not the people who are financially supporting the right-wing media cabal. The people who support the right-wing cabal only listen to the most extreme voices. They only read the most extreme publications and blogs. They only watch Fox News. They want to hear hate.
Now, beyond even that fact which should be evident to any 12-year-old, we have tangible proof that the tactic for dealing with propaganda is not to ignore it – it’s to shout it from the rooftops. That proof comes in form of a beyond life-sized package called, Rush Limbaugh.
In February of 2012, Limbaugh went a bit too far. He called an innocent college student a “slut” and a “prostitute” for testifying to Congress on the subject of birth control. For almost 30 years, Limbaugh has been enjoying a life as the world’s highest paid shock-jock. It’s doubtful that even he believes most of the bile he spews but souls have been purchased for far less than $400 million a year.
His audience and his sponsors had grown accustomed to the outrageous. Limbaugh is no stranger to racism or sexism. He famously coined the word, “feminazis,” which defines basically any woman who dares defend her personal rights. He once told an African-American caller to “take that bone out of your nose and call me back.” He’s made countless racist comments aimed at President Obama, including playing a song parody called “Barack the Magic Negro.”
Of course, the only people truly immune from Rush’s tirades are those who are white, straight, male and most importantly, conservative – his type of conservative. Those whom he doesn’t consider conservative enough get their own derogatory name, RINO (Republican in Name Only).
Personally, Limbaugh is about as wretched as anyone he’s ever skewered. He is on his fourth marriage. He’s a drug addict who’s been in legal trouble for his habit.
For almost three decades, Limbaugh’s brand of hate speech was no problem to his sponsors, his network or his stations. He became so popular that he dominated the talk radio market. He’s often on multiple times per day on multiple stations in big markets. He was the king of talk radio. He knew it. His fans, called “ditto heads,” knew it. Even those of us on the left knew it. Yet, in February of 2012, Limbaugh went a bit too far. He called an innocent college student a “slut” and a “prostitute” for testifying to Congress on the subject of birth control.
The blogosphere went nuts. For some reason, this one caught on fire. Even many of the ditto heads thought he crossed a line. Soon, his sponsors began to take notice. First, they began leaving one by one. Within days, he was bleeding sponsors so quickly that sites calling for their boycott had to update on an almost hourly basis.
Speculation began that Limbaugh was losing money for his investors. Still, it was an election year. This was no time for the right to throw in even the most soiled towel. If anyone could drive the right-wing base to the polls for Mitt Romney, it was Rush. But Rush failed. Well, to be fair, it was Romney and the Republican party who failed, but Rush didn’t help.
It’s been six months since the election and more than a year since Limbaugh made his now infamous comments about then college student, Sandra Fluke. The numbers are in. The open spigot of sponsors are beginning to take its toll and beginning next year, we may be hearing less of Rush. It seems he’s toxic and most advertisers know it. For that, I credit the left-wing blogosphere and its insistence on not giving up on exposing the despicable words of the right – regardless of how much we are told to ignore them.
|Wendy Gittleson grew up in a political family. Her passion is for social justice and fairness. She lives in a union household. In her rare downtime, you’ll find her hiking or exploring the shoreline with her dogs. Follow her on her Facebook page, on her Facebook blog page or on Twitter, @wendygittleson|