Old white relatively affluent men clinging to the status quo defines the Republican Party in general and the Tea Party in particular. Talk radio is their voice. Young diverse economically ambitious men and women characterize the progressive movement. The Internet is their voice.
Rush Limbaugh’s declaration that Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke is a “prostitute” and a “slut” who should video herself having sex and post the tapes on the Internet because she thinks insurance plans should cover contraception is the latest flash point between these two groups (“[W]e want something in return, Ms. Fluke: And that would be the videos of all this sex posted online so we can see what we are getting for our money” … the man knows his audience!)
Rush Limbaugh faced rising pressure from critics who are using new media to keep advertisers away from his long-running radio show.
At least 10 companies, including online publisher AOL Inc. (AOL), have dropped the most-popular U.S. talk-radio show after Limbaugh called Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “prostitute” and a “slut.” Fluke appeared before Congress on Feb. 23 to speak in favor of President Barack Obama’s policy requiring insurers to provide birth control to women.
Much of the pressure on advertisers has come from online activists using Twitter and Facebook to mobilize against Limbaugh. They see undermining the program’s economic viability as the way to force distributor Clear Channel Communications Inc.’s Premiere Radio Networks to stop syndicating the show.
“The tactic of just asking advertisers has been a very successful one,” said Krystal Ball, a 30-year-old MSNBC commentator who started a website called boycottrush.org. “So as long as that is successful, we’ll continue.”
Ball, a Democrat, ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010. The campaign targeting Limbaugh is led by groups like Media Matters for America and the Ohio Democratic Party.
“The social media world has really exploded,” said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. “I think Rush Limbaugh is going to go down over this.”
More big companies, including Sears Holdings Corp., owner of the namesake retailer and discounter Kmart, insurer Geico Corp. and tractor maker Deere & Co., are taking steps to ensure their advertisements stop appearing on Limbaugh’s show.