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May 9, 2012 12:09 AM   Subscribe

After Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown student Sandra Fluke a "slut", a campaign was launched to pressure companies to stop advertising on Rush's show. But how much did the boycott really cost Cumulus Media? Well, a lot.

Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey said the boycott cost his company a "couple million dollars" in first quarter, about 1% of the company's total revenue, and expects a similar number for second quarter. "It hit us pretty hard," Cumulus CEO Dickey said in his quarterly call with financial analysts.

In response, Rush Limbaugh has launched a "Rush Babes for America" campaign. Previously on MetaFilter.
posted by mattdidthat (84 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Talkers Magazine reported that Cumulus CEO "Dickey says everything seems pretty much back to normal for June."

I have a theory about that statement. I don't think any old advertisers will be coming back, but by June, the SuperPac advertising blitz should be in full swing. With hundreds of millionsof dollars burning in their pockets, why shouldn't they be supporting their old ally? And for the price of 6-8 minutes of paid ads per hour, they'll be essentially getting a program-length commercial for Romney and the GOP. Great for the Get Out The Vote work.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:19 AM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


So it hit revenue; what about the bottom line? And what about the marketing value of all the media attention over the comment and boycott?

A 3.5% drop in overall sales for a media company in 2012? It's almost miraculously good.
posted by chavenet at 12:23 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rush Babes for America (a.k.a. The National Organization for Rush Babes) is a Facebook Page dedicated to the millions of conservative women who know what they believe in: family, American Values, and not being told by Faux Feminist Groups how to think.

Yeah! Fucking "Faux Feminist Groups" (this a proper noun now?) and their propaganda! These millions of conservative women are told how to think by the GOP leadership as God and Jesus intended!
posted by Talez at 12:52 AM on May 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


Yeah! Let some bunch of old white guys tell you what to think instead!
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:13 AM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Another victory for freedom of speech!
posted by shii at 1:13 AM on May 9, 2012


[Comment deleted; basically, let's leave the hyperbolic nasty anti-woman namecalling and demeaning fantasies to the other side, 'K? ]
posted by taz at 1:14 AM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Clear Channel and Cumulus, the dregs of American Radio. It was during the Bush administration that Michael Powell, as head of the FCC pushed through rules that effectively killed local ownership of radio, and therefore local news, information, and viewpoints, opening the market up to large-scale ownership of local stations by national propoganda, um, radio syndicates.

It was the least Bush could do in payback to his Clear Channel pals Tom Hicks and L. Lowry Mays, who have been supporting his campaigns since he was running for governor of Texas, and have been well rewarded for their efforts.

I guess the moral bankruptcy of these syndicates and their programming choices is sometimes just too difficult for even the most hard hearted to ignore.

The Rush Babies can keep listening if they want. As for me, I'm keeping track of the companies listed in the links who still advertise on Rush's show, especially the local companies.
posted by eye of newt at 1:30 AM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Its like they think by racing to the bottom they'll get some kind of prize.

And at least 25% of the voting public is tethered to the party these people pollute. GRAR American political system GRAR.
posted by Slackermagee at 1:52 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, Delta Airlines has dropped its advertising on the Daily Show over the vagina-mangers skit.
posted by Ardiril at 1:57 AM on May 9, 2012


These millions of conservative women are told how to think by the GOP leadership as God and Jesus intended!

This is not only a very condescending view of a large number of American women, it is simply wrong. The shoe is, in fact, mostly on the other foot.

I know plenty of "conservative women" who listen to Rush Limbo. They are not empty-headed, Jesus-loving bubbleheads who are told what to think by radio DJs and "by the GOP leadership ". This is a ridiculous, insulting caricature. If anyone is being told how to think it's La Rushie and the GOP leadership who need the support of this influential segment of the population.

Women who hold conservative views think for themselves and conservative radio guys like Limbo have tuned into them, not the other way around. These AM radio guys and the companies behind them are successful because they discovered this large market of listeners out there (male and female) who want to consume the product they sell. They sell validation to an audience hungry for it. Advertisers like this political demographic and are willing to spend lots of money to reach it - as they are equally willing to lean on the DJs like Limbo who sometimes play the wrong records.

AM radio is a business, the audience is the political force and I think progressives ignore that all too easily.
posted by three blind mice at 2:18 AM on May 9, 2012 [27 favorites]


Meanwhile, Delta Airlines has dropped its advertising on the Daily Show over the vagina-mangers skit.

I don't know what that is but fuck Delta anyway. What do their ads say anyway:

"Want to be stuck in Salt Lake City for 7 hours and be given a $5 'meal' voucher for your trouble? Fly Delta!"?
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:28 AM on May 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


Women who hold conservative views think for themselves and conservative radio guys like Limbo have tuned into them, not the other way around.

This blanket statement is as false (if not as detestable) as the one it's a response to...
posted by Dysk at 2:28 AM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Rush Limbo

Isn't that where you have a really good stereo but you can't listen to anything earlier than Roll the Bones?
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:30 AM on May 9, 2012 [31 favorites]


If anyone is being told how to think it's La Rushie and the GOP leadership who need the support of this influential segment of the population.0

If that's really the case, that makes it so, so much worse.
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:20 AM on May 9, 2012


chavenet : A 3.5% drop in overall sales for a media company in 2012? It's almost miraculously good.

Considering the fact that we saw worldwide outrage, and even Rush's own fan base vocally disapproved, can we really call 3.5% (and only for two quarters, so potentially half that) even noticeable, never mind "miraculously good"?

Yes, talking about a lot of money in the absolute sense. But to someone making on the scale of Rush, this doesn't even mean he'll need to cut back to feeding his Oxy addiction with generics rather than brand name. More realistically, it just means a large number of Cumulus support staff - Average Joes like us - Went without COL increases this spring.

Pity that righteous indignation doesn't go as far as it once did.
posted by pla at 3:35 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


can we really call 3.5% (and only for two quarters, so potentially half that) even noticeable, never mind "miraculously good"?

I think you've interpreted chavenet's comment backwards. I think (please correct me if I'm wrong) s/he means good for the media company, given the economy in 2012.
posted by pompomtom at 3:48 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


We sure have a lot of lame nicknames for this guy.

And "he pulled a Delta!" is a phrase coined by The Bugle guys that can refer to any type of extraordimary fuck-up.
posted by Brocktoon at 4:06 AM on May 9, 2012


That's great and all.
But where can I get tasty treats in buckets?

But, really, I will never under America. Rush Babes? Really? Is there anything that is not wrong about that?

American women: he thinks you're sluts. And, if you're married, he wants you to pretend tyo be sluts.
posted by Mezentian at 4:08 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Women who hold conservative views think for themselves...

Never have so many been given so much credit for doing so little of something, and doing it so very badly.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:18 AM on May 9, 2012 [13 favorites]




Rush Limbo

Isn't that where you have a really good stereo but you can't listen to anything earlier than Roll the Bones?



No, that's "Spirit of the Radio" played on steel pans.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:37 AM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why does the existence of conservative women who've arrived at their own conclusions surprise people? I reckon it has something to do with the conservative notion that women take a subservient role, in home and business, so surely conservative women are just doing what they're told. But "conservatism" isn't a monolithic entity. They might be - and I think are - so very, very wrong about many things, but at least give conservative women the acknowledgement that they probably arrived at their political opinions themselves.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:39 AM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Of all the offensive stuff Rush has said over the years, it seems odd that this was the statement that everyone freaked out over. I think a lot of it just had to do with the fact it was really well timed for democrats to score some rhetorical points. Not that I have a problem with it, republicans do deserve to get called on the crap Rush says.

But on the other hand I doubt you would have seen a firestorm of the same proportion had he called some other random woman a slut at some other point in time. In fact, I'd be shocked if he hadn't.
posted by delmoi at 4:43 AM on May 9, 2012


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing, certainly some of them did, just as certainly as some didn't (much the same as with any demographic segment you want to look at). Blanket statements of either are just not correct.
posted by Dysk at 4:44 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


certainly some of them did, just as certainly as some didn't

Fair enough. But the whole "haha brainwashed airheads" remarks about conservatives seem to crop up far more often when talking about women than men.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:46 AM on May 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Sorry, but if you listen to Rush on a regular basis, brain dead is how I'll describe you regardless of sex.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:52 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I want to highlight something that's been pointed out before, but hasn't received enough attention. It's this comment from Rush:

"She's having so much sex, she can't afford her own birth control pills."

Birth control pills work exactly the same whether you have sex once a month or twice a day. You can abstain from sex and still be on birth control pills as a precautionary measure. If Limbaugh does not understand this, he has no business getting paid to offer his opinion on reproductive health care. If he does understand how they work, but nevertheless promulgates misunderstandings about birth control, he is especially unqualified to offer an honest opinion.

Moreover, at this point, I assume that well-informed adults know how birth control works. Why in the world would any adult person who knows about birth control tolerate it when Rush Limbaugh infers anything about sexual habits on the basis of a birth control prescription? What possible reason could there be other than hateful sexism?

And this is what it comes down to for me. If his listeners aren't ignorant of basic facts about matters on which they've formed strong opinions, then they're willing to overlook these facts because they enjoy listening to sexist character assassination.

I don't think it's any surprise that there are so many advertisers pushing health supplements that would appeal to aging, insecure men. I suspect that those advertisers are unlikely to leave. But looking at Rush Limbaugh's sponsor database (you can search here), I find zero current or former advertisers within 100 miles of my current or former ZIP code. A quick search for advertisers on the local station that carries his show also comes up empty. In other words, the sponsor database isn't even fully populated yet.

There's a lot more that can be done here. If you can find an advertiser whose products/services are used by your friends, get on Facebook and get your friends to vocally boycott. If there are no advertisers listed in your area, you can listen to his show (yeah, I know...) and add to the database. You can volunteer here.
posted by compartment at 4:54 AM on May 9, 2012 [20 favorites]


Women who hold conservative views think for themselves and conservative radio guys like Limbo have tuned into them, not the other way around. These AM radio guys and the companies behind them are successful because they discovered this large market of listeners out there (male and female) who want to consume the product they sell. They sell validation to an audience hungry for it. Advertisers like this political demographic and are willing to spend lots of money to reach it - as they are equally willing to lean on the DJs like Limbo who sometimes play the wrong records.

I listen to a fair amount of talk radio, since I'm in and out of the car all day. My impression is that the talk radio listener likes to believe they think for themselves, but in the end, they just parrot what their favorite talker says.

But also, guys like Limbaugh and Hannity have absolutely MASTERED the long con, as they say. There are two games I've personally witnessed:

1- They have their one-off sound bites for the casual listener. But for the dedicated listener, they do these thematic long-arc stories that last weeks and months at a time, feeding dribs and drabs of the intended message on a limited basis so that by the end of the messaging period, listeners will have digested the full message. Hannity did this with evil aplomb as the Treyvon Martin case was ramping up. His first few shows on the issue were actually thoughtful meanders through the issues. "Wow", I thought, "this guy is actually treating something with respect and dignity." But then, as days passed, the old conservative theme developed. Guests were chosen that telegraphed the message. He got two african american community leader types to debate whether this was more about race, or more about guns. But both of the guests were "urban" sounding. Overt message: Hannity is gathering opinions from diverse sources. Subtext: black people don't talk like white people, and are also scary.

2- They conflate issues. I heard Mark Levin, I think, starting a segment with an anti-Obama rant. He was interviewing an author about a book or an article critical of Valerie Jarret. Oh heavens, she likes to shop and was mean to someone once. But the whole time, the host was asking leading questions "so, these women, like Jarret and Michelle Obama, they really like to let power get to their heads, don't they?" And the author would answer something like "well, I don't know anything about Obama, but these are the facts I found about Jarret." And then Levin ended the segment with a full on rant about what dirtbags the Obamas are. The goal was plain: get the listeners to confuse the specifics about Jarret and assign them to the Obamas.

So it isn't nearly as simple as being told what to think. The best way to impregnate (pun intended) an idea into someone's mind is to tell them to think for themselves, and then offer "facts" that lead them to what becomes an unavoidable conclusion. While also sowing mistrust in all other sources of information.
posted by gjc at 4:54 AM on May 9, 2012 [172 favorites]


The "brainwashed/not-brainwashed" thing goes the other way as well. There are plenty of liberal voters of both genders whose political views were entirely formed by the environment they grew up in. I haven't personally found that big a difference between the two sides in their ability to coherently explain why they support the things they do, especially controlling for my own liberal biases (i.e., I'm naturally more likely to think that progressives are doing a good job justifying their views).
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 4:55 AM on May 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Of all the offensive stuff Rush has said over the years, it seems odd that this was the statement that everyone freaked out over. I think a lot of it just had to do with the fact it was really well timed for democrats to score some rhetorical points. Not that I have a problem with it, republicans do deserve to get called on the crap Rush says.

I think it was because Rush usually is very talented at implication without actually using the words. By using the word slut, and the other graphic depictions of his fantasy of her sex life, he crossed into libel. And provided convenient sound bites for people to latch on. Not to mention that he got the facts almost completely wrong.
posted by gjc at 4:59 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


if you listen to Rush on a regular basis, brain dead is how I'll describe you regardless of sex. -- I listen to him in my car sometimes when I'm running errands. I think of it as reconnaissance. It's interesting to hear what he (and by extension, his followers) are worked up over, and what chinks they're working in the left's armor. But I'll admit, more often than not, I turn him off in outraged disgust. I did notice that for awhile, all Rush's commercial breaks were filled with public service ads, (ironically, touting government support programs that Rush and the right routinely deride), but more recently, they managed to find new advertisers who don't seem to have any qualms being associated with him.
posted by crunchland at 5:15 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


It was during the Bush administration that Michael Powell, as head of the FCC pushed through rules that effectively killed local ownership of radio

Ah yes, Michael Powell, who redefined "in the public interest" as "stuff the public is interested in".
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:16 AM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Never have so many been given so much credit for doing so little of something, and doing it so very badly.

Most people don't spend much time thinking about society in the abstract. What they care about is their tiny little culture: their family, their friends, their workplace, maybe their place of worship, maybe their hobby circle. Why would they care about anything else? It's not like it's their business to give a damn.

It's damned tough explaining how or why paying attention to the bigger picture is important. It takes a serious effort, usually it's a total downer, and unless somebody's willing to significantly change their life to make an impact, most people really can't achieve very much. Even the people who spend their lives making a difference don't accomplish as much as they'd like. The ratio of effort-to-payoff is abominable.

Even when people are aware of a system's oppressiveness, their interest is usually personal-level: beyond how it affects them, they don't care (though they may be sympathetic to other people oppressed similarly). This is why there are so many tragic instances of somebody overcoming one form of oppression only to encourage the oppression of others. Obviously thinking about how things personally affect you without understanding the greater causes will lead to your being wrong about some things, but why does that matter? Even if you were right, you couldn't change things. All you need is something to vent at. Venting accurately doesn't make the venting any more effective. Sometimes it makes it even worse, cos you realize just how fucked you are.

My extended family's a mix between liberal and conservative. A cousin my age was rooting for Rick Perry; my grandfather loved Newt Gingrich. Feminism doesn't come up too often, but I'd bet there are some feminist sympathizers and some who think feminism is overrated. They're all fantastic people, fascinating people. They're content with their lives and not especially concerned with becoming more politically motivated than they are already. Even when I disagree with the things they say, most of the time I don't bother taking it up with them, because who am I to ruin a happy occasion with a heated political discussion that goes nowhere?

Sometimes their political beliefs are even more complicated. My grandfather's grandfather was something like the czar's chief bodyguard pre-Bolsheviks, and his family worked with anti-Bolshevik groups in several countries. I try debating my grandfather and realize that his perspective on politics is nowhere near as simple as mine: I'm thinking of abstract principles, and he's thinking of a lifetime of political awareness and activism. Some of his developed beliefs are twisted and weird, because I mean he genuinely likes Gingrich, but I've debated him for hours and hours and not come close to the roots of his thinking. He's a voracious reader, and doubtlessly all the people he reads have a distorted perspective, but from his point of view I'm the one without a perspective on things, because after all I don't even know the names of the voices he cites.

Conservatives aren't stupid. They buy into a bunch of false preconceptions, but then so does everybody here – I can't think of a person here who I haven't disagreed with, fiercely, at some point. At some point this leads to their believing things which seem ludicrous to us, but we seem just as ludicrous to them. Real debate, real conversation, has to proceed from a point of mutual respect, and that's hard to achieve when both parties think the other is talking nonsense.

There is no easy fix for this. It takes serious effort, usually it's a total downer, and unless somebody's willing to significantly change the way they look at the world, most conversation really can't achieve very much. Even the people who spend their lives holding these sorts of discussions can't accomplish as much as they'd like. The ratio of effort-to-payoff is abominable.

So of course I understand why it's satisfying to indulge in cathartic conservatives-bashing. It's way easier to say that from our enlightened perspectives, conservatives are fools. On a certain shallow level, it's even right! But sneering at people for thinking "badly" ignores the complexity of the human condition – even for those humans which we assume are so much simpler than we.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:30 AM on May 9, 2012 [50 favorites]


Rush Limbo

Isn't that where you have a really good stereo but you can't listen to anything earlier than Roll the Bones?


I am afraid the the "Rush Limbo" is that party game where you try to answer the question "How low can you go?" Sadly, Rush has not yet found the lowest point. There is possibly no limit to his depths.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:37 AM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Moreover, at this point, I assume that well-informed adults know how birth control works. Why in the world would any adult person who knows about birth control tolerate it when Rush Limbaugh infers anything about sexual habits on the basis of a birth control prescription? What possible reason could there be other than hateful sexism?

I can't believe I'm about to defend the guy, but I'm not sure his statement reflects a lack of knowledge about how birth control pills work. Only an assumption about how a woman could or could not acquire the means to pay for them; his argument was all about "oh, she doesn't have enough money to pay out of pocket for them? That must be because she doesn't work and is home schtupping all day, har har har!"

But that makes it worse, because then it was an even more groundless accusation for her being a sex addict.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:44 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rory Marinich, I suggest you look again at my comment and at the specific words it was a response to. Most of what you've written is true, but not relevant to that context. I think that if all women with conservative beliefs are acquiring those beliefs through independent thinking - which I seriously doubt - then their thought processes are deeply flawed.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:58 AM on May 9, 2012


But that makes it worse, because then it was an even more groundless accusation for her being a sex addict.

Well, as I see it, our choices are:

a) Shocking ignorance
b) Vicious bullying
c) Shameless lying
d) Some combination of a, b, and c

It's not like any of these are acceptable in a public figure that has any pretense of explaining anything.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:00 AM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Rush Limbo" is that party game where you try to answer the question "How low can you go?"

Well done GenjiandProust for getting the pun.

his argument was all about "oh, she doesn't have enough money to pay out of pocket for them?

What Limbo was saying was "if you don't want to get pregnant and you don't have the coin for a condom, then don't have sex. Your employer shouldn't be forced to pay so you can have sex without the consequences of pregnancy." Which is a clean and straightforward conservative argument. Where he stumbled with his audience was to use the word "slut." That was crude and unkind and that did not go over well with his conservative audience.

I mean I like to drink and I wanted Obamacare to force my employer to provide a free case of Scotch every month (what a disappointment this President has been), but taking that position doesn't mean you have the right to call me a drunk.
posted by three blind mice at 6:01 AM on May 9, 2012


I am waiting for RL and the like to say "if you don't want to get pregnant have sex and you don't have the coin for a condom Viagra, then don't have sex. Your employer shouldn't be forced to pay so you can have sex", but that isn't going to happen.
posted by jeather at 6:04 AM on May 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


I know plenty of "conservative women" who listen to Rush Limbo [sic].

How? Don't you live in Sweden? Please tell me people don't listen to Rush in Sweden, too.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:05 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah yes, Michael Powell, who redefined "in the public interest" as "stuff the public is interested in".

Correction: Stuff the portion of the public that buys shit that's advertised on the radio is interested in.

One of the worst dates I ever went on was with a radio DJ who suggested that her station fulfilled the public interest mandate by giving out turkey sandwiches at Thanksgiving.
posted by compartment at 6:11 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


What Limbo was saying was "if you don't want to get pregnant and you don't have the coin for a condom, then don't have sex. Your employer shouldn't be forced to pay so you can have sex without the consequences of pregnancy." Which is a clean and straightforward conservative argument.

No, I agree. I just questioned the accusation that "he doesn't know how birth control pills work," because that was an angle I don't think he was even addressing in the first place.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:11 AM on May 9, 2012


What Limbo was saying was "if you don't want to get pregnant and you don't have the coin for a condom, then don't have sex. Your employer shouldn't be forced to pay so you can have sex without the consequences of pregnancy." Which is a clean and straightforward conservative argument.

Well, the problem there was that it only tangentially related to the argument Fluke was making, which was that women who needed birth control pills for medical reasons were being turned down because someone in the hierarchy assumed that the only "real" reason to take the pills is for pregnancy-free sex. Although Rush did kinda help prove that point, in a roundabout sort of way.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:18 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the [too much sex to afford birth control] thing wasn't a serious attempt at an explanation of anything. I don't think it was intended to be factual, and as such I don't think it belies some serious misunderstanding about the actual workings of birth control.

As I see it, it was intended to evoke a particular set of associations between concepts and value judgments. For listeners whose associations are mostly in agreement with him, this evokes positive feelings because 1) their values are being affirmed by another party and 2) in this specific case, they get to feel superior to someone.
posted by Jpfed at 6:19 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think the [too much sex to afford birth control] thing wasn't a serious attempt at an explanation of anything. I don't think it was intended to be factual, and as such I don't think it belies some serious misunderstanding about the actual workings of birth control.

Well, yeah. That's why I pointed that out to the person who made that claim.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:24 AM on May 9, 2012


Why does the existence of conservative women who've arrived at their own conclusions surprise people?

I think, with the ongoing conservative War On Women, it's more of a surprise that there's any conservative women left at all.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:34 AM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Rory Marinich, I suggest you look again at my comment and at the specific words it was a response to. Most of what you've written is true, but not relevant to that context.

You were quoting this statement by three blind mice, which is one of the more insightful things in this thread:

Women who hold conservative views think for themselves and conservative radio guys like Limbo have tuned into them, not the other way around. These AM radio guys and the companies behind them are successful because they discovered this large market of listeners out there (male and female) who want to consume the product they sell.

I'm a huge proponent of the art of advertising, not because I love ads or want to make them for a living but because the tenets of advertising pretty much dictate the nature of our society. Advertising, like any art form, is defined by its constraints, by what you can and can't do if you want to create something successful. And the only contraint of advertising is: it's got to reach the masses.

It's at once a very simple and very challenging constraint. As long as you can reach a sizable audience, you can do pretty much anything. If your only goal is to make money, then you study people, figure out what they want, and give it to them. If your goal is something loftier – educating them, say, or making the world a better place – then you're working against a fucklot of inertia, and you're also working against all the people who're in it just to make money. Plus, the opportunists doubtlessly have a lot more practice doing this, and they can use any sort of horrible-but-effective technique they want, whereas you're constrained by things like morality and doubt.

I'm optimistic that ultimately good messages will win out, but they'll win when the people spreading them start playing by the rules. They rely on tools that're harder to wield but ultimately more powerful – curiosity, empathy, awe. Some of the most powerful forces for good in our society are people like Neil deGrasse Tyson, who might not be at the forefront of pushing for specific causes, but who awaken people to an interest in bigger things and ultimately get them thinking outside their little box. I'd put entertainers like Jon Stewart in the same category. Stewart found a way to make politics interesting for my entire generation. Maybe on his own he doesn't do enough, but he's certainly making an impact.

It's important to understand the opposition here. They're not evil, they're limited. I don't even like the word "ignorant", because that suggests the answer is simply educating them, when really the problem is that they're in a place where they don't desire further knowledge, and might even feel like learning more could hurt their quality of life. That's not evil or sociopathic: everybody's empathy has its limit, and usually these limits still let people be good or even great. It's more sociopathic to exploit people's limits to make a quick buck, like Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes do, but you can't beat those people by proving them wrong. You win by appealing to their audience better than they do, which is another game entirely.

The problem isn't that people are stupid. It's that they don't care, which is much tougher. If people don't care enough to learn something new, it doesn't matter if they're stupid or smart – you're not going to reach them. Calling them idiots is only going to make things worse, because it convinces them of your insincerity. And finding ways to make lots of people care is what advertising does better than anything. Which is hilarious and ironic, considering the shallowness of most advertising, but no less true for the hilarity.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:42 AM on May 9, 2012 [16 favorites]


but by June, the SuperPac advertising blitz should be in full swing. With hundreds of millionsof dollars burning in their pockets, why shouldn't they be supporting their old ally? And for the price of 6-8 minutes of paid ads per hour, they'll be essentially getting a program-length commercial for Romney and the GOP. Great for the Get Out The Vote work.

Why pay? Isn't this show an unpaid program-lenght commercial for the GOP?
posted by iviken at 6:51 AM on May 9, 2012


Oh in general, can't we cut the right-wing politically-correct crap, and call it like it is? Rush and his followers are no more conservatives than I'm the King of France.

I'm optimistic that ultimately good messages will win out, but they'll win when the people spreading them start playing by the rules.

The science in this area doesn't really support your optimism. Repetition and ubiquity are all any message--regardless of merit--needs to take hold.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:05 AM on May 9, 2012


The science in this area doesn't really support your optimism. Repetition and ubiquity are all any message--regardless of merit--needs to take hold.

Right, which is why good messages need to sell themselves just as well as bad messages.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:11 AM on May 9, 2012


What Limbo was saying was "if you don't want to get pregnant and you don't have the coin for a condom, then don't have sex. Your employer shouldn't be forced to pay so you can have sex without the consequences of pregnancy." Which is a clean and straightforward conservative argument. Where he stumbled with his audience was to use the word "slut." That was crude and unkind and that did not go over well with his conservative audience.

And, like a lot of clean and straightforward conservative arguments, it is simplified to the point that it does not reflect reality.

I mean I like to drink and I wanted Obamacare to force my employer to provide a free case of Scotch every month (what a disappointment this President has been), but taking that position doesn't mean you have the right to call me a drunk.

You might have the right to call me a drunk, because the only part of that I understood was 'Scotch.'
posted by box at 7:14 AM on May 9, 2012


Rory Marinich, once again you've written a comment structured to look as though it's a response to one of mine, but which does not address my point. I was not talking about how to reach Limbaugh's audience, nor did I call them or anyone else stupid, or evil, or ignorant, or idiots. My entire point was questioning the assertion that "Women who hold conservative views think for themselves," and its implication that they do that effectively. Please note that I did not imply that NO women hold conservative views because they thought effectively, but I'm saying that the implication in the original statement that ALL of them did is wide of the mark.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:19 AM on May 9, 2012


As far as I can tell, the brainwashed airhead thing is largely a reference to the self applied moniker of Limbaugh fans: "Ditto-head".

Call me old fashioned, but if someone describes themselves as a brainwashed airhead with pride and reckless abandon, I'll concede the point and agree with them.
posted by Freen at 7:26 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rush Limbaugh's whole schtick is making selfishness seem like righteousness.

There is someone whose death I will mark with flowers and wine.
posted by spitbull at 7:27 AM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


My conservative 80-something year old grandmother listens to Rush Limbaugh. I can't imagine any other scenario in which someone using the word 'slut', or saying 'babes for America' with the silhouette of a woman in the logo, or being addicted to pills etc wouldn't immediately further convince her of the moral decline of America. Yet Limbaugh is still fine in her book (as far as I know). Bizarre.
posted by geegollygosh at 7:34 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Repetition and ubiquity are all any message--regardless of merit--needs to take hold.

I keep hearing this. So I guess it must be true!
posted by yoink at 7:39 AM on May 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


When Rush was first popular I was still getting daily home delivery of the NYTimes. He wasn't nearly so abrasive then, but it was painful to listen to him. But I live in a liberal enclave and have all liberal friends so I like to expose myself to opposing points of view.

I started listening to Rush a few times a week, mostly in the car. The first thing I noticed was his paper schtick (I don't think he does this anymore) where he would hold up the news paper up to the mic and crumple it about for the noise of it, reminiscent of the way Archie Bunker would snap the paper he was about to read from when he was about to deliver what he thought was a killer bon mot.

Often what he purported to read aloud to his audience wasn't in keeping with what I remembered from that morning's paper. It got so when I'd hear the snap of newsprint I'd scuttle off to find my copy of the Times (it was always THAT LIBERAL RAG, NYTIMES) and attemptto read along. But he was paraphrasing, always paraphrasing. And using those 'cute' voices. Remember, HE'S JUST AN ENTERTAINER. He would claim he doesn't need to follow any ethical or journalistic guidelines, it's pure entertainment. And all bullshit.

He and Roger Ailes, I don't know what I'd wish on them but I'm sure it isn't good for my psyche. The world would be a better place if neithat had been born.
posted by readery at 8:01 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


The world would be a better place if neithat had been born.

If the "genius of America is compromise," Rush and Fox News seem to be killing it.
posted by uraniumwilly at 8:05 AM on May 9, 2012


> But both of the guests were "urban" sounding. Overt message: Hannity is gathering opinions from diverse
> sources. Subtext: black people don't talk like white people, and are also scary.

Well, "not like white people" and "scary" is how they sounded to gjc anyway.
posted by jfuller at 8:06 AM on May 9, 2012


three blind mice: What Limbo was saying was "if you don't want to get pregnant and you don't have the coin for a condom, then don't have sex. Your employer shouldn't be forced to pay so you can have sex without the consequences of pregnancy." Which is a clean and straightforward conservative argument. Where he stumbled with his audience was to use the word "slut." That was crude and unkind and that did not go over well with his conservative audience.

Sandra Fluke never talked about her personal situation nor about sex; the two explicit examples she gave concerned students taking birth control medication for medical conditions and not contraception (except for the instance where an acquaintance of hers was raped). So his argument (and your analogy) don't apply whatsoever.
posted by Challahtronix at 8:20 AM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: "certainly some of them did, just as certainly as some didn't

Fair enough. But the whole "haha brainwashed airheads" remarks about conservatives seem to crop up far more often when talking about women than men.
"

maybe 'airheads' i guess... but how often do we see "you're voting against you're own interests, you racist bigots" coming out towards the jesus-guns-racist rednecks of the south (and usually stereotyped as men in that sense)? i think it goes toward both genders. that's clearly simplifying it way too much but i'm busy and can't reply a huge reply.
posted by symbioid at 8:28 AM on May 9, 2012


I've known a lot of people (and places of employment) that listened to Rush Limbaugh over the years, and they skew about 95% males. Does anyone have the actual demographic numbers? His whole schtick is very male-oriented, and not in a manly way that would appeal to women who like manly men, but the insecure/resentment kind of male attitude.
posted by msalt at 8:41 AM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wonder what effect hurting Rush Limbaugh as a business property will have in the long run. I know National Review was a loss leader for years, but it always had institutional support on the Right, because of its influence and propaganda value. Rush Limbaugh may end up getting similar subsidies if funders in the conservative movement think that Limbaugh is still worthy of preserving as a resource for their cause.
posted by jonp72 at 8:43 AM on May 9, 2012


rushlimbaugh.com traffic stats
US Demographics - White, male, aged 65+, college graduates, no kids, who earn more than $150k per year.
posted by crunchland at 8:52 AM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Birth control pills work exactly the same whether you have sex once a month or twice a day. You can abstain from sex and still be on birth control pills as a precautionary measure. If Limbaugh does not understand this, he has no business getting paid to offer his opinion on reproductive health care.

As has been pointed out before, Limbaugh's confusion is understandable since he has to take a an expensive pill every time he has sex.
posted by JackFlash at 9:13 AM on May 9, 2012


That's kind of below the belt, Jack.

Yes, I see what I did there. Assume a serious point is still intended.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:29 AM on May 9, 2012


NORB? That's not even a good acronym.

National Organization for Rush Babes Emulating Rush's Thinking at least gives you a cute name for a dragon.
posted by maryr at 9:36 AM on May 9, 2012


Or a beaver... OH MY GOD I SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE!
posted by Talez at 9:40 AM on May 9, 2012


The "brainwashed/not-brainwashed" thing goes the other way as well. There are plenty of liberal voters of both genders whose political views were entirely formed by the environment they grew up in. I haven't personally found that big a difference between the two sides in their ability to coherently explain why they support the things they do, especially controlling for my own liberal biases

Get back to me when many prominent liberals denounce their own policies simply because their political opposition embreaces them.
posted by Gelatin at 9:47 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, Delta Airlines has dropped its advertising on the Daily Show over the vagina-mangers skit.

The skit in question: The Battle for the War on Women
posted by homunculus at 9:50 AM on May 9, 2012


Challahtronix: "three blind mice: What Limbo was saying was "if you don't want to get pregnant and you don't have the coin for a condom, then don't have sex. Your employer shouldn't be forced to pay so you can have sex without the consequences of pregnancy." Which is a clean and straightforward conservative argument. Where he stumbled with his audience was to use the word "slut." That was crude and unkind and that did not go over well with his conservative audience.

Sandra Fluke never talked about her personal situation nor about sex; the two explicit examples she gave concerned students taking birth control medication for medical conditions and not contraception (except for the instance where an acquaintance of hers was raped). So his argument (and your analogy) don't apply whatsoever.
"



I understand how affordable birth control can benefit all of us. However, I also understand insurance companies not wanting to provide free contraception. It really goes against the idea of "insurance".

However do the insurance companies also refuse to cover a medication for a diagnosed medical condition just because it is usually used for contraception?

Sure I can see where many would use that loophole to get their doctors to falsely diagnose a condition which would result in them getting the birth control but most would not. And more importantly even if 99% would manipulate the system that shouldn't mean the 1% would have to suffer and be denied a needed medication.
posted by 2manyusernames at 10:05 AM on May 9, 2012


However, I also understand insurance companies not wanting to provide free contraception. It really goes against the idea of "insurance".

What? How does it go against the idea of "insurance"? The idea of insurance is to keep you from getting sick or needing more expensive healthcare in the future. Pregnancy and children are more expensive than birth control. The insurance company is betting that you won't get sick or need expensive healthcare; you're betting that you will.

Plus, even if I'm misunderstanding what you mean by that, I mean, my insurance covered antibiotics for acne when I was a teenager, prescribed by a dermatologist for exactly that. That could actually make me resistant to antibiotics in the future (expensive and bad for me) and while I loved having clear skin, it wasn't really necessary for my survival in a meaningful way. Insurance companies cover fluffy stuff like that all the time, for varying definitions of fluffy. (Which I don't think birth control qualifies as, though I recognize that many do.)
posted by fireflies at 10:14 AM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I also understand insurance companies not wanting to provide free contraception.

They are not providing free contraception, unless you are somehow not paying the insurance company for this coverage.

And, look, I'm a uterus-having person with insurance who doesn't want a baby and I don't use hormonal birth control (covered by my insurance, incidentally). I know other people in my situation. Not everyone wants to take the pill, even if they want to remain not pregnant.
posted by jeather at 10:15 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


crunchland: rushlimbaugh.com traffic stats

Thank you very much. 92% white, 2/3rds male, 56% over age 45. Actually a bit younger and less male that I had guessed but otherwise right on.
posted by msalt at 10:16 AM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


When my father said "He doesn't take himself seriously", my response was:"Once upon a time, there was a funny little man with a ridiculous Charlie Chaplin mustache who no one took seriously....."
posted by brujita at 10:29 AM on May 9, 2012


OK, let's skip past his earnings statements, and see what the market thinks...

The last 3 months of CMLS (blue) vs the Dow index for their sector (red) seem to show a marked drop in CMLS stock value, averaging between 5-10% underperformance versus the sector. (For reference, Rush farted that famous opinion out on Feb 23, 2012).

Historically, CMLS has greatly outperformed their sector (5-year); more recently (the last 6 months), they at least stayed competitive with it (ignoring the spikiness in the index value, which suggests speculator activity to me).

The market seems to believe Cumulus, Limbaugh's overlords, have misstepped somehow, somewhere around late February.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:30 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Point of correction: Sandra Fluke's testimony WAS NOT ABOUT SEX.

Her testimony was that birth control pills should be covered by health insurance WHEN THEY ARE MEDICALLY NECESSARY.

The example she cited was her friend, who had ovarian cysts. Typically these would be treated with a hormonal birth control method which prevents ovulation. Unfortunately, it wasn't being covered by their (private) university's (private) health insurance.

Rush Limbaugh willfully ignored what she was saying. He jumped straight to slut-shaming. Which makes him doubly wrong: wrong about the topic, and wrong in his reaction to it.

(Mind you, this is the same man who will frequently go off on "bureaucrats" deciding what should and shouldn't be covered as medical necessity. Death panels and Terry Schiavo and what not.)

As someone who takes hormonal birth control for medical reasons unrelated to pregnancy prevention, and a feminist, this has been kind of a hot topic for me.
posted by ErikaB at 11:10 AM on May 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


2manyusernames, yes, insurance companies refuse to cover hormonal birth control even for medical uses. That's what Fluke's testimony was regarding.

I have a diagnosed medical condition, but I still have to pay for progesterone pills out of pocket because it's not covered by my insurance.
posted by ErikaB at 11:16 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


ErikaB: "2manyusernames, yes, insurance companies refuse to cover hormonal birth control even for medical uses. That's what Fluke's testimony was regarding.

I have a diagnosed medical condition, but I still have to pay for progesterone pills out of pocket because it's not covered by my insurance.
"

That is serisously f'd up. And the media coverage of Ms Fluke's story/testimony is just as messed up.

The conservative biases sources paint her as a women of means demanding others pay for her birth control. They insult her and others by picking out the cases where you can get birth contoll pills for a few dollars a month while ignoring the costs of doctor visits or those who can only take birth controll pills that can cost $1000's per year.

The liberal biased media focus too much on bashing Rush (not that bashing isn't called for but it doesn't help the women in need), claiming some sort of war-on-women, or otherwise changing the subject of the debate just as the conservatives are.

Where is the media covering the real debate, getting insurance companies to cover a medication just as they would any other. Don't understand the insurance companies attitude that because it can be used for other purposes they won't cover it. A lot of medication can be used for non-label purposes. That shouldn't be a reason to deny it to everyone.
posted by 2manyusernames at 11:57 AM on May 9, 2012


TheWhiteSkull: "Rush Limbo

Isn't that where you have a really good stereo but you can't listen to anything earlier than Roll the Bones?



No, that's "Spirit of the Radio" played on steel pans
"

INTERNET, MAKE THIS HAPPEN
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:00 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kirth's Law: In any Internet conversation that includes a discussion of fascism, someone will feel it necessary to bring up Godwin.

First Corollary to Kirth's Law: Most of the time, bringing up Godwin will be inappropriate, since whatever prompted the impulse will have been on-topic.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:19 AM on May 10, 2012


Limbaugh can go die in a fire.
posted by clvrmnky at 11:21 AM on May 10, 2012


rush to judgement.
posted by crunchland at 5:05 PM on May 10, 2012


gjc: "So it isn't nearly as simple as being told what to think. The best way to impregnate (pun intended) an idea into someone's mind is to tell them to think for themselves, and then offer "facts" that lead them to what becomes an unavoidable conclusion. While also sowing mistrust in all other sources of information."

I had never made the connection between right-wing radio/tv and cult methodologies of information transmission. I don't know how I never made that connection; because it seems so obvious when you think about it.
posted by dejah420 at 6:17 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


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