President Obama weighed in just minutes ago on the scandal Rush Limbaugh caused when he started his misogynistic attacks on Sandra Fluke six days ago. Asked by a reporter at the first Obama news conference of the year about Rush Limbaugh and the uproar Limbaugh’s attacks have caused, the President remarked, “All decent folks can agree those types of remarks don’t belong in civil discourse.” Obama added he had his daughters in mind when he placed a call to Sandra Fluke last week, but noted he would not comment on the choice advertisers made to dump Limbaugh. Obama said he could not know what was in Limbaugh’s heart.
The first tangible impact to Limbaugh’s media empire came from the Sleep Train Mattress company last Friday, when they pulled their advertising support. Since then, a total of 28 companies have publicly stated they are canceling or suspending their advertising from the Rush Limbaugh radio show, and two radio stations have dropped Limbaugh’s show altogether. More are still expected as social media activists continue their focus.
Grassroots campaigns across all social media channels have sprung up. The level of outrage and action is growing, not subsiding, perhaps fueled by Limbaugh himself, who over the course of three days last week hurled 53 separate attacks on Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law student whom GOP leaders, including Darrell Issa, refused to allow to testify at an all-male religious leaders Congressional hearing focused on women’s contraception.
After Limbaugh issued a tepid apology Saturday to Fluke, there was hope his personal attacks would have ended, but yesterday on his conservative radio talk show Limbaugh continued his misogynistic and personal attacks against Sandra Fluke, and added the President and the Left to his list of those responsible for his attack against Fluke and contraception, spurring other advertisers, plus two radio stations, to quit.
Steve Kornacki at Salon notes:
Just before he made his comments about Fluke last week, a Harris poll found that Limbaugh is the most disliked “current affairs personality” in the country — by far. Given a list of 26 different television and radio hosts and commentators, 46 percent of respondents picked Limbaugh as their least favorite, well ahead of second place finisher Bill O’Reilly, who was chosen by 31 percent. On the flip side, only 9 percent cited Limbaugh as their favorite personality.
This is what makes the context of Limbaugh’s attack on Fluke so damaging for Republicans. It’s not just that he said something awful about a 30-year-old woman who hadn’t said anything about him. It’s that he did so by way of amplifying the GOP’s message on contraception. Republicans had been taking pains to claim their objections to the Obama administration’s mandate that women be able to obtain birth coverage through their health insurance plans were all about protecting religious liberty — that they weren’t on some puritanical crusade. With his unparalleled platform, Limbaugh has made a mockery of that idea, and he’s put a particularly nasty face on the GOP’s posturing. As GOP consultant Alex Castellanos told The Daily Beast, “we have just handed [Democrats] the cudgel one more time, playing into the stereotype that Republicans are anti-women.”
Because they put Limbaugh on a pedestal all these years, Republicans have only encouraged Americans to regard his garbage not just as the rantings of a radio host, but as the message of the Republican Party.
As of this writing, here is the list of advertisers who have dropped their support from the Rush Limbaugh show:
Deere & Co. (John Deere)
St. Vincent’s Medical Center
Bethesda Sedation Dentistry
AccuQuote Life Insurance
Tax Resolution Services
Heart & Body Extract
List courtesy of Media Matters
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