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The Real Apology

© August J. Pollak

No matter what you think about what Rush Limbaugh said recently, what really surprises me is that anyone actually listens to anything he says. Or that there are any companies willing to sponsor him. What does the fact that so many Americans listen to him (and even believe him) say about us? Are we really that morally bankrupt?



  1. ebdoug wrote:

    This is herd instinct in animals. Middle ages in humans did a lot of this. Animals love to hate. Don’t find out the facts, just run and join the crowd. This is happening now, happened then and will always happen. If you believe in Jesus Christ (and I certainly believe in his teachings, just not about a higher being), you will see that the huddled masses had no problem in stoning him. “Forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.” It will never change except in the higher animals of the human species. The lower animals of the human species will always be lemmings.

    Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 5:02 am | Permalink
  2. Richard wrote:

    Gives one pause about being a Netflix subscriber.

    Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 6:35 am | Permalink
  3. Patricia wrote:

    Short Answer? Yes!

    Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink
  4. Arthanyel wrote:

    I don’t think many people understand how advertising works. The vast majority of advertisers on ANY show are not “sponsors” or “supporters”, they are companies trying to gain market share and customers. Most ad buys are based on the size and demographics of the audience delivered, not on the content of the show itself.

    Netflix doesn’t support Rush, for example. Netflix just puts ads in front of big audiences, and Rush has a big audience.

    The advertisers are not the problem. The real problem is that Rush HAS a large audience, and that THEY believe propaganda and drivel.

    Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  5. Michael wrote:

    Interesting take, Arthanyel, and you make some good points. You’re right that ad buys are based on demographics. However, your suggestion that advertisers have no knowledge of the shows on which their ads air seems rather incredible to me. Any company that would toss around millions for an ad campaign would do thorough market analysis, which would include investigating the nature of media they are paying money to.

    It almost seems like you’re trying to have your cake and eat it, too. Specifically, since advertisers are just following economic principles (maximize their audience), they should be shielded from economic principles (negative publicity and consumer backlash from other demographics).

    Even if advertisers are unaware where their ads air (which I am skeptical about), the fact is that they are paying money to Rush to benefit, indirectly, from his message and content. While they may not directly approve of his message, they are supporting it by giving him money.

    Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink
  6. Don wrote:

    Had a short conversation with a fellow at the Y the other day – you know we while building our testosterone levels by pumping massive amounts of iron. He commented that he somewhat agreed with the Rushster. I don’t think he often has folks disagree with his political pronouncements, but in this case he did. I explained to him why I believed that Rushie was totally wrong both in what he said as well as in his reasoning. He admitted to me during the discussion (and it was a discussion, not an argument) that he probably should have looked into what Ms. Fluke had actually said instead of believing what Rusher implied that she said. So, in a round-about way, my answer is pretty much the same as Patricia’s except that I’d say only some of us are morally bankrupt. A lot of us are just damn lazy and too easily swayed by those around us who are morally bankrupt.

    Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink
  7. Sammy wrote:

    Ebdoug and Don both nailed it. Herd mentality + laziness. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people I know spout off a “fact” that it’s taken me 30 seconds to debunk with a simple Google search.

    Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink
  8. Arthanyel wrote:

    @Michael – I never said anyone should be shielded from anything, nor would I – I am just pointing out mechanics most people don’t understand. And to your observation that companies spending “millions of dollars” ought to know what they are buying, that’s true at the strategic level, but not at the tactical level. Other than the Superbowl, ad buys are not made one at a time to a specific show or print publication, they are purchased (for large companies) in campaigns spanning literally hundreds or thousands of individual ad buys.

    Also, just because somewhere on a 1,000 row spreadsheet there is a line item that says “Rush Limbaugh” doesn’t mean anyone in a decision making role is paying that much attention. Some companies do, of course, take great pains in vetting every ad source, but most don’t – and radio ads are CHEAP in comparison to TV buys and so correspondingly less attention is paid to them.

    So, the bottom line is that while many companies may technically be “aware” of the fact some of their ads air on Limbaughs program, only companies with a strong bias and decision makers concerned about it would choose to do anything. I am sure MSNBC and Obama for America don’t make ad buys on Rush’s show, for example, because they have a strong interest in not wasting money on his audience (or appearing to support him) but Netflix and Budweiser only want to sell product.

    Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Permalink
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    Humans are not rational machines, we can only get close if we work at it. Madison Avenue spends billions of dollars every year learning how to push our buttons and get us to make decisions against our own interests. I don’t think it can be as easy as to ignore their messages nor to rationalize it away. The issue will only get worse in the future.

    Friday, March 9, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink