What Rush Limbaugh’s Attack On Activists Is Telling Us
Over at Daily Kos Leslie Salzillo wrote a great diary that breaks down the ‘secret story’ that Rush Limbaugh’s crisis communications person wrote about the StopRush movement. Rush Limbaugh Must Be Terrified – He’s Releasing Secret ‘Facts’ About StopRush
Salzillo does a great job pointing out all the nonsense in the report. I want to point out to people why Rush is attacking activists now and how I view the attack as a gift to the community of people alerting advertisers.
Rush’s Report “The Hidden Story Behind Stop Rush” tells us what they are telling the distributors, radio stations and sales reps. That’s good news, activists can use that information to keep pushing.
When I developed my method, I always liked to learn what the sales rep at KSFO was telling advertisers about the letters, calls, and faxes(!) they were getting from me and my friends.
They tried multiple ways to discount the work I was doing. They made excuses, told lies, attacked my character and threatened me financially and legally. Then I would incorporate their criticisms into my next round of letters to advertisers.
That is why this article is a gift. They are telling us the lines they are giving to radio station owners on why Rush isn’t bringing in the revenue he used to. They are also telling the station owners and sales reps what to tell the advertisers who are leaving.
1) These people aren’t from your community
2) They aren’t your customers
3) There are only a handful of them–it’s all robots
4) They are afraid to use their real names for no good reason
5) It’s all a big conspiracy, not a grass roots movement.
In sum. they tell the advertisers, “You are hearing from out-of-state bullies and cowards, paid for by George Soros. Ignore them and keep advertising on the Rush Limbaugh show!”
(Fun Fact: The reason they think this is what is happening is because that is what THEY do. Projection, it’s not just in movie theaters these days.)
Another thing this report tells us is that the distributors have put pressure on Rush to DO something, such as stop saying such offensive things. But he will not. So they attack the activists.
That is what KSFO, ABC/Disney and the hosts did to me. So instead of the management telling the hosts to stopping spewing violent rhetoric and bigotry, they went after me as a way to stop their financial pain.
Rush will not modify what he says, so he attacks the people who capture the clips, Media Matters, and all the activists who use them to point out what he is saying to advertisers.
Putting this movement on the “George Soros funded” Media Matters, and naming them as the leader kills two birds with one stone in their minds. (BTW, am I glad I used a pseudonym? You bet. Who I am would have been the focus instead of the issues of copyright and what the hosts were saying on air.)
The other target for this article are the Rush listeners. They are being educated too. As usual they are given pre-digested talking points to use when questioned about an issue.
The report cues up the real bullies by listing some of the twitter handles of the people involved in the StopRush campaign. I can almost hear the dog whistle to listeners, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” If the activists didn’t have “good evidence” to be afraid before, they will now. Be sure to file the police reports of your death threats folks!
I’m sure women on the internet objecting politely to advertisers about Rush Limbaugh’s comments about women won’t be subject to anything vile by Limbaugh fans. /sarcasm
“Advertisers aren’t leaving Rush because of what he says, but because they are being bullied by those mean ol’ libs! Rush is the real victim here.” – a fine red whine, circa 2014
Remember, the Right always wants to be The Victim, especially when they are in power.
The Leverage Point for Advertisers Isn’t Money, It’s Brand
The people whose voices really matter to the distributors and stations are the advertisers. The advertisers have figured out that Rush isn’t going to change. Appealing to their desire to make more money by advertising on Rush’s show isn’t going to work like it used to. Now not supporting Rush is a message about who they are and what their brand is.
Before writing an advertiser I always would go to the advertisers’ web page and look at their values statements. I asked them. “Does this host, who you are sponsoring, reflect your values? This is what you say on your page.” I also looked at the people who worked there, who are they as people? I found lots of decent folks, just like you and I.
That is also why I contacted not just the person responsible for advertising, but the head of HR, marketing and PR. They all needed to hear what it was that the hosts were saying that they were paying for. The fact that many times the head of PR and HR were women helped clarify the case.
Additionally these people usually helped write those value statements and their brand identities. Sometimes these people cared about their brand because it also reflected something about who THEY are. Very few people and companies like to associate themselves or their brand with sexism, racism, bigotry and violent rhetoric. Today we also can include homophobia.
However, some were fine with what Rush was saying. I was always polite as a way of telling them I respected their decisions although I didn’t agree with them.
The Advertisers Chooses. Let the Host Taint Your Brand or Walk Away.
The Spocko Method isn’t a boycott, I never threaten anyone. I ask them. “Do you agree with what he is saying? Is this host for you? Imagine the host wearing your company logo shirt and saying the things he said on air at a company meeting. Do you still want to sponsor him?”
This reports shows they are grasping at straws (and straw men!) in order to stop the continuing financial pain. By focusing on the activists they are telling the advertisers, “We have no intention of changing anything, your money isn’t that important to us, we’ll find some RW think tanks to funnel us money.”
The entire radio industry advertising model for RW radio has been upset. They don’t like to talk about it, but the managers and distributors are hoping the money hemorrhage will stop during political advertising season. But that is a temporary reprieve. They have lost thousands of customer facing advertising and they aren’t coming back as long as Rush keeps being Rush.
If I allowed my human emotions to show now I would be smiling.
Photo by Kevin Goolsby Creative Commons’ License