Quick synopsis of recent events: Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who spoke to House Democrats about the need for contraception coverage, was lambasted by Rush Limbaugh who called her a slut and a prostitute, and then several companies pulled their ads from Limbaugh’s show.
I’m delighted that these companies decided to pull their support from Limbaugh’s show, and that along with any possibility of a slander suit is probably why Limbaugh recently offered a half-assed apology.
But let’s be real here.
Is this the first time Limbaugh has made disgusting comments like this? No. Is Limbaugh already notorious for his racist and sexist beliefs? Yes. So let’s not be too quick to laud these companies for pulling their ads. We can’t forget they chose to advertise on Limbaugh’s show in the first place!
It’s no surprise, then, that the language most of them have used in announcing the decision to pull ads is not, “Limbaugh is a revolting misogynist and that’s not cool with us,” but, rather, “we have pulled ads to appease our customer base.”
I believe this is a very calculated move on their part, and they will probably stand to make even greater profits from pulling out both because customers will be blinded by the phony altruism and because they have and will continue to receive free advertising as their actions are reported across the net.
So, yeah, I’m glad they pulled the ads. Limbaugh’s only value as a public personality is to test our commitment to the First Amendment, and I don’t want him getting rich off hate.
But do not idealize these companies for pulling their ads. They didn’t do it for Sandra. They didn’t do it for women. They didn’t do it for their customers. They did it for themselves.