(NNPA)—Back in 1994 and 1995 I wrote a couple of articles about Rush Limbaugh, both of which were centered on advertisers who bought time on Limbaugh’s radio show. How the time flies. One article rebuked the Florida Citrus Commission for giving Rush a $1 million contract to be its spokesperson, and the other dealt with censorship and the leverage sponsors have in the marketplace. The way sponsors are running away from Limbaugh now, upset about the names he called a Georgetown student, it looks like some of the issues I wrote about back then are finally taking hold.
First let me say that what is happening to “El Rushbo” could not have happened to a nicer guy. The rotund one has allowed his loose lips to put a hole in his ship, and he is sinking fast. Sponsors are jumping off the ship like rats, gettin’ out while the gettin’ is good. It’s amazing that even now old Rush is defiant as ever, saying, “So what,” I have hundreds of sponsors and more waiting to jump on board. No problem.
That may well be the case; after all, this guy has earned hundreds of millions in the past couple of decades, and he can certainly afford to be as arrogant as he has ever been — toward sponsors or anyone else. A little humility would be a better choice for Rush, but he doesn’t do contrite very well at all. You can tell by that weak apology he made to the college student. I guess if Imus can come back after what he said, Rush can too. But then again Imus insulted Black girls. Rush committed the unforgivable sin; he insulted a White girl.
The bottom-line in all of this is that beneath everything lies economics. The lesson for us is the fact that money talks, and it is speaking quite loudly in the Limbaugh case. The money is saying, “Abandon Ship!” And no one had to boycott or solicit the sponsors to leave. Corporate sponsors know who makes the primary purchasing decisions in most households. That’s right. Women. They know better than to be associated with a Limbaugh or anyone else that insults women, especially young White women. It took a while for the Imus fallout, but Rush’s sponsors got their hats in a New York minute.
Rush and others of his ilk are always espousing the virtues of the free market, saying let the market take its course, and now he is seeing the market do its thing against him. In my 1995 article there was a quote from our buddy Newt Gingrich in reference to National Public Radio, which he wanted defunded, and the Rush Limbaugh Radio Show. Following is an excerpt from the article. ?“Newt appeared on television recently and asked for more Limbaugh [on the radio], also citing the fact that Limbaugh has sponsors who pay for his radio time. He questioned why NPR could not do the same thing if everyone likes it so much? ‘Why not let market forces take over,’ he asked. The marketplace will determine the fate of NPR.” Well, here in 2012, market forces are definitely taking over in Rush’s case.
I really couldn’t care less about Limbaugh and his sponsors; he is probably close to being a billionaire, which is why he seems not to care either. But it is fun to watch the sponsors scurry and do their Peter (The Apostle) act on Rush, as if he just started this stuff. Heck, he’s been at his game for thirty years and now, all of a sudden, his sponsors say he crossed the line. What a joke. It’s not that he crossed any line they had drawn; it’s just that so many people were watching this time, especially women.
If we could ever get a full understanding and then utilize the leverage and power of our dollars, Black folks could move from our current state of affairs in this country to a higher level of respect and prosperity. Blacks spend too much money each year to be mistreated in any way by the marketplace. But unless we use the collective leverage of that money, we will continue to suffer individually at the hands of corporations and be insulted by folks like Rush Limbuagh. He made one slip-up with the young White girl and is paying dearly for his transgression. How many times has he insulted Black people and never paid a price?