Embattled Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh took a few minutes at the top of his Premiere Networks syndicated program today (3/7) to squash a number of rumors and to correct “so much misinformation about this program and its advertisers in the mainstream media.” Launching into what he rightly called some “inside baseball stuff” on how network and local advertising works, Limbaugh denied the loss of some 30 advertisers in the wake of the Sandra Fluke controversy being reported in the media saying, “In fact we have three full-fledged new sponsors starting in the next couple of weeks, and two of those who cancelled have asked to return.” While coyly avoiding naming those advertisers, he did address rumors that he would soon be suspended for a week, Rush called the reports “Utter BS. I would have to suspend myself.”
Never has that old adage been more true than in the case of today’s reports about unabashed liberal comic and HBO talk host Bill Maher publicly defending conservative Talk radio titan, Rush Limbaugh (no, we never thought we’d ever see those two names in the same sentence either). So lest you think that you’ve been transported to some sort of alternate universe during the past 24 hours, we can confirm that Maher did, in fact, ‘Tweet’ the following last night: “Hate to defend Rush Limbaugh but he apologized, liberals looking bad not accepting. Also hate intimidation by sponsor pullout.” Maher’s ‘support’ for Limbaugh may not actually be that surprising. His previous show, Politically Incorrect, suffered advertiser fallout following controversial remarks Maher made in the months following the 9/11 attacks. ABC-TV ultimately cancelled the show in the wake of the controversy. In 2003 he moved to pay TV cable channel HBO — where advertiser backlash isn’t an issue — and launched his current weekly talk show, Real Time With Bill Maher.
While Rush Limbaugh carefully avoided mentioning the names of any of the new national advertisers waiting in the wings to join the show — nor the identities of either of the two sponsors who he said had cancelled but “have asked to return” — a report yesterday (3/6) posted on the Tucker Carlson-led online news site, The Daily Caller, might offer a hint about at least one of those advertisers’ names. According to reporter Jeff Poor, backup data service Carbonite saw it’s stock drop some 12% after trading opened on Monday after CEO David Friend posted a statement on the company’s website on Saturday (3/3) announcing that the company was canceling its advertising on Limbaugh’s show. While noting that Limbaugh had already issued a public apology, Friend said Carbonite had “nonetheless” decided to withdraw their ads. “We hope that our action, along with other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.” In recent days, Limbaugh’s critics have launched organized online campaigns to pressure companies to cancel advertising on Limbaugh’s show. Meanwhile, Rush fans have been fighting back with efforts of their own, telling advertisers to expect to lose customers should they withdraw their support under pressure. While we can’t be sure, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if Arbitron has had to re-set their PPM devices to ‘stun mode’ ever since the Limbaugh flap first broke last week.
Talk Radio Network host Laura Ingraham took issue this week with the ladies of ABC-TV’s The View, telling the FOX & Friends morning crew that when she was called a “slut” by Dial Global syndicated talker and MSNBC host Ed Schultz last year, The View’s hosts were not as quick to defend her as they did with Sandra Fluke when she appeared on The View this week to discuss the Rush Limbaugh controversy. “When it was brought up on The View, Barbara Walters kind of laughed it off,” said Ingraham. “But when Fluke goes on it’s, ‘Oh isn’t this a tragedy?’ and ‘Oh isn’t this horrible, Rush Limbaugh should be driven off the air.” The FOXNation website has the full story and video HERE.
DIRECTV Entertainment’s Nick & Artie Show hosts Nick DiPaolo and Artie Lange recently dropped by for a visit with Conan O’Brien. The boys are pictured above enjoying a laugh with the host on the set of the TBS late night TV talk show.