The liberal watchdog group Media Matters doesn’t want you to forget about Rush Limbaugh’s smearing of Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke.On Thursday, the group announced a $100,000 ad buy in eight cities to “educate listeners” about Limbaugh’s comments. Limbaugh called Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” after she testified before a House hearing on contraception. The radio host later apologized for those comments, but, according to Media Matters, did not atone for 44 other remarks against her. “This is not acceptable,” Media Matters for America’s Campaign Director Angelo Carusone told TPM. “It has real effects.”
The ads are running in Boston; Chicago; Detroit; Seattle; Milwaukee; St. Louis; Macon, Georgia, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Carusone said the ads will run for about a week and a half, with the option of being adjusted or extended. “It’s not designed to be a vanity buy,” he said. “We’re trying to provide some service to the community.”
The ads discuss Fluke’s testimony — how a friend relied on birth control to manage ovarian cysts — and contrasts it with Limbaugh’s attacks. Listeners are urged to contact their local radio station and say “we don’t talk about women like that.”
The Rush Limbaugh show experienced an exodus of advertisers as criticism against Rush’s remarks mounted. Still, Limbaugh remains the de facto — if not loudest — media spokesperson for the Republican party. The GOP presidential contenders denounced Limbaugh’s comments to varying degrees. Mitt Romney, in a particularly lukewarm condemnation, said he wouldn’t have used the language Limbaugh employed.
Carusone said he hopes the ads will combat the “mythology around Rush Limbaugh’s dominance.” Limbaugh is estimated to have as many as 20 million weekly listeners.
“At any other place of business, this type of language would earn, at the very least, a trip to human resources,” Carusone said in a statement announcing the ads. “And, because neither Mr. Limbaugh nor his employer took responsibility, it fell upon the general public and business interests to act accordingly. These ads will empower listeners with the information they need to continue those efforts to foster a more accountable and responsible media.”Â
Premier Radio Networks issued the following statement in response to Media Matters’ campaign:
This is part of an organized political campaign by professional special interest groups being waged to silence Rush Limbaugh and intimidate those who want to advertise on his show. This is not about women, it’s not about ethics, and it’s not about the nature of our public discourse — it’s a direct attack on America’s guaranteed First Amendment right to free speech. It’s essentially a call for censorship masquerading as high-minded indignation — and it’s a blatant political attempt to silence an enormously popular, influential voice because they don’t like his point of view.
Listen to the ads below:
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