Rush Limbaugh opened his show Monday by addressing the exodus of radio advertisers after he called a Georgetown University law student a “slut” and “prostitute” on his show, and he seemed almost completely unfazed by their loss.
Less than an hour after AOL officially became the eighth company to pull its ads from Limbaugh’s radio show, the conservative host cracked a joke:
I was watching the media on Saturday, and I said, “You know what? I gotta call myself and cancel and suspend the Two If By Tea advertising.” [Two If By Tea is Limbaugh’s tea company.] So I called myself to cancel the advertising. I got a busy signal so I couldn’t cancel my own company’s advertising. So Two If By Tea remains a sponsor of the Rush Limbaugh program and the Excellence in Broadcasting Network.
Limbaugh continued his broadcast in typical, pontificating fashion, stating:
The left, folks — the media — are giddy that some advertisers have said they’re leaving the program. And I’m sorry to see ’em go. They have profited handsomely from you.
While the conservative host said that the advertisers’ disaffiliation was a “shame,” at the end of the day he just doesn’t care.
“Those advertisers who no longer want your business, fine,” Limbaugh continued. “We’ll replace them. It’s simple, really. “
To hammer in the us vs. them/money-is-no object point, Limbaugh explained that he already rejects millions of dollars of advertising a year: specifically calling out General Motors after the company had accepted government bailouts.
“This show is about you,” he said, “not advertisers.”
Past talk show hosts haven’t weathered the storm of sponsor abandonment.
- Glenn Beck’s Fox News Channel show was cancelled when he lost most of his advertisers after he called the president a racist.
- London’s News of the World tabloid was shuttered after it became public that its reporters had hacked the voicemail of a murdered schoolgirl.
- Bill Maher was kicked off ABC after Sears, FedEx, and Roebuck & Co. pulled advertising after the “Politically Correct” host made insensitive remarks about 9/11 just six days after the attack. (Maher was quickly moved to HBO).
- Motel6 and General Motors’ OnStar pulled sponsorship from Dr. Laura Schlesinger’s radio show after she used a racial epithet when speaking with a black woman on the air. The radio host moved to Sirius XM radio as soon as her contract was up.
- NBC and CBS suspended Don Imus’ broadcast six days after he called Rutgers University’s female basketball players “nappy-headed hos.” GM, Sprint Nextel Corp., and American Express (to name a few) had all pulled their sponsorship from his show.
It is unclear whether Limbaugh’s advertisers have fully abandoned Limbaugh’s show, however, or if they have merely stepped back temporarily until the storm has passed.
Ad Age uses Lowe’s disaffiliation with “American Muslim” as an example of advertisers temporarily going to the sidelines:
When Lowe’s announced late last year that it was withdrawing its ad dollars from TLC’s “American Muslim,” it might have seemed like a death knell for the show — except for one thing. Lowe’s didn’t withdraw its ad dollars from TLC, or any of the other cable outlets owned by Discovery Communications.
Still, based on Limbaugh’s “who needs ’em” rant, it doesn’t seem like he’d take any of his old sponsors back.
Listen to Limbaugh’s apology below:
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