The Washington Post reports that “the dark clouds hanging over Rush Limbaugh appear to be lifting.” I’m not really the right guy to poke fun at them for the melodramatic turn of phrase, but if you want to go ahead and do it, I won’t get in your way.
Exactly one month after the conservative radio host sparked outrage by calling Georgetown law-school student Sandra Fluke “a slut” and “a prostitute” in a three-day diatribe, stations are standing by him, advertisers are trickling back to his program and the news media have moved on.
Wow, three days of yelling “Sandra Fluke is a slut!” and “Sandra Fluke is a prostitute!” You’ve got to admire Mr. Limbaugh’s energy and lung capacity. The Post takes another stab at writing the final draft of history a few paragraphs down:
Limbaugh has apologized for some of his statements about Fluke, whom he attacked after she spoke last month in favor of mandatory insurance coverage for contraception at an event sponsored by congressional Democrats.
Oh, is that what happened? That innocent student was “speaking in favor of mandatory coverage for contraception?” She didn’t say anything in particular that might have earned her a side order of mockery from America’s biggest talk-radio host… like, for example, misrepresent some laughably absurd statistics that she later admitted were false? No reason to bother the reader with such details, I guess.
For the benefit of anyone wise enough to mistrust these slanted media “compressions” of crucial details in a story, here is what Rush Limbaugh actually said:
What does it say about the college co-ed Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.
Is it really so hard to accurately quote the man, or describe 30-year-old liberal activist Sandra Fluke more accurately than just calling her “a Georgetown law-school student?” I’m here to help, Washington Post and other mainstream media outlets! Feel free to copy that Limbaugh quote right off this here web page, and post it smack-dab into your anguished boycott post-mortems. You don’t even have to cite me as the source. You’re welcome.
Anyway, while liberal groups like the absurd Media Matters for America pat themselves on the back for inflicting considerable economic harm on those advertisers foolish enough to take their advice, the Post performs last rites on the Great Limbaugh Boycott:
On Monday, the 600 or so radio stations that air Limbaugh’s program were told by his syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks, to resume running “barter” ads during his program. Stations are required to run these ads in exchange for paying discounted fees to Premiere to air Limbaugh’s show. Premiere, which is owned by radio giant Clear Channel Communications, had suspended the “barter” requirement for two weeks in a move widely seen as a way to give advertisers a chance to lie low while Limbaugh was in the news.
[…] Limbaugh’s advertising losses may have been less than media accounts suggested. While more than 100 advertisers told Premiere that they didn’t want to be associated with “controversial” radio programs of any kind in the wake of the flap, some of these companies weren’t regular Limbaugh sponsors in the first place.
Carusone said most of the advertiser exodus over the past month appeared to be among companies whose ads aired only in regional or local markets, he said.
“Contrary to the wishful thinking of the professional special interest groups, reports of sponsors fleeing the ‘Rush Limbaugh Show’ are grossly exaggerated. In fact, the program retains virtually of all its long-term sponsors who continue to have great success” with the show, saidRachel Nelson, spokeswoman for Premiere.
Clear Channel has not felt any “major financial impact,” and on his radio show today, Limbaugh reported his ratings are up by a very considerable margin:
It’s kind of nostalgic to remember a day when using a rude word while making fun of a professional activist was cause for hyper-ventilation, now that liberals are totally cool with celebrities targeting people for mob violence by handing out their home addresses… and then giving out the wrong address. Limbaugh often describes his style as “illustrating absurdity by being absurd.” The only thing he really needs to fear is the increasing difficulty of mocking people who have passed far beyond satire.