Saturday, March 10, 2012
Major advertisers finally pulling out of right-wing talk-radio hate
Rush Limbaugh made the right-wing talk-radio industry, and he just might break it.
Because now the fallout from the "slut" slurs against Sandra Fluke is extending to the entire political shock-jock genre.
Premiere Networks, which distributes Limbaugh as well as a host of other right-wing talkers, sent an email out to its affiliates early Friday listing 98 large corporations that have requested their ads appear only on "programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity)."
This is big. According to the radio-industry website Radio-Info.com, which first posted excerpts of the Premiere memo, among the 98 companies that have decided to no longer sponsor these programs are "carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm), and restaurants (McDonald's, Subway)." Together, these talk-radio advertising staples represent millions of dollars in revenue.
I don't think they care about hyperpartisanship. They just don't need the backlash that comes from creepy middle aged men behaving like barbarians and insulting half their customers. It's not exactly an advertiser's favorite image.
Of course the perennial question is what's changed, since they've all been spewing hatred for ages. In my view, it's mainly a combination of a weakly recovering economy and feminists, both men and women, who were able to mobilize via social media to stage an effective boycott. But there's probably more to it than that. These things don't just spring up out of nowhere. In this case, we had a series of events over the course of a few months that were staggeringly insulting to women so maybe it just reached critical mass. Or maybe it's something else, some kind of a historical turning point that we can't see since we're in the middle of it. Or maybe not -- it's entirely possible that it's another in the series of fits and starts that mark women's progress in this world.
It remains to be seen if this will have any long term effect. But if it manages to break the two decade stranglehold of the right wing propagandists on radio, it will be a huge moment. These horrible people are a blight on the American political system and the path to a more civilized, decent society will be much clearer if their particular brand of rhetorically violent political "entertainment" is relegated to the past. The sentiments won't go away, of course, but there's no reason it has to dominate the airwaves of one whole media format.
Friday, March 09, 2012
Photo of the Day: Spring melt in Ontario
|Photo by James Kelley|
What progressives can learn from Andrew Breitbart
However, I do think that we progressives can learn a thing or two from Breitbart.
By that, I don't mean resorting to using dirty tactics and twisting the facts around to attack opponents, as Breitbart did. No, what I'm talking about is learning a thing or two from his hard-core, take-no-prisoners attacking style to get what we want.
Democrats (and progressives in general) are just too goddamn timid and polite these days. We let conservatives steamroll right over us again and again. On the other hand, cons know exactly what they want and they'll do whatever it takes to win. And that is why they've pretty much gotten everything they've wanted for the past three decades.
Breitbart nearly always got what he wanted. It didn't matter if his tactics were questionable or slimy. They got the job done. A good example was when he posted video of Shirley Sherrod that made it appear that she'd made racist remarks. (Of course, she'd done no such thing, as was clear when the full video was released). But Breitbart still "won" in the end. After all, Sherrod was forced to resign, apparently with the White House's approval.
The Sherrod case involved a despicable tactic by Breitbart that summed up his approach to politics: attack, attack, attack -- and worry about the facts later, if at all.
Once again, I'm not suggesting we progressives copy this sort of slimy technique. But we do need some of the fire and conviction that Breitbart had in spades.
We need to fight tooth and claw for what we want, instead of timidly sitting around letting the GOP steamroll over us again and again.
Take the 2000 election, for example. The GOP fought ferociously on behalf of George W. Bush, even to the point of bringing in a rent-a-mob to bang on doors and intimidate Florida election officials. Meanwhile, the Gore team sat around politely, waiting for the phone to ring.
Yes, what the GOP did was despicable and it dealt a severe setback to democracy in America. But I get the feeling they didn't lose one second's worth of sleep over their sleazy tactics. And what's more, their guy got into the White House, despite losing the popular vote by 539,000 votes. In the end, they got everything they wanted: their war for oil, their tax breaks for the rich, and their billions of dollars in no-bid contracts for Halliburton.
Modern day politics is like a back alley switchblade fight. The GOP has known this for the past 30 years. And so they always come equipped with a switchblade, and whatever else they need to win the fight.
Meanwhile, the Dems have a bizarre fixation on using a polite, timid approach to politics. Unlike the GOP, they fail to grasp that the game has changed and that sometimes, you've got to use brute force and have a willingness to fight fire with fire.
After all, simply having the facts on his side didn't help John Kerry in 2004. On the other hand, the Swift Boat Liars' willingness to lie and use vicious, sleazy attacks sank Kerry's presidential bid.
The worst part of it was that, unlike the GOP, Kerry didn't need to lie. But he did need to use brute force (and a very loud megaphone) to get the truth out. He needed to get into the liars' faces and scream at the top of his voice that they were lying. In the end, his timid, polite approach failed. He failed to realize that, in modern day politics, politeness and being a gentleman and even having the truth on your side often isn't enough to win elections.
It's a lesson that the Dems have yet to grasp. In modern politics, if you want to win, you've got to have the fire, the hunger, and determination of people like Breitbart. Unlike Breitbart, you don't need to lie -- but you do need to learn to bring a switchblade to a street fight.
Is there anything Romney won't flip-flop about?
Ed. note: This is Comrade Misfit's second guest post at The Reaction. Her first looked back at when Romney was pro-choice, which wasn't all that long ago. For more of her writing, head over to her very fine blog Just an Earth-Bound Misfit, I, which I highly recommend. -- MJWS
Comrade Misfit is a lawyer and cat-owner in upstate New York. You can find her at her blog, Just an Earth-Bound Misfit, I.
It didn't get much notice amid the buildup to Super Tuesday. But after conservative outcry over his support for raising the minimum wage, Mitt Romney quietly reversed his position this week.
"There's probably not a need to raise the minimum wage," the Republican front-runner told CNBC's Larry Kudlow on Monday.
As recently as January, Romney said he was in favor of a hike in the minimum wage. "My view has been to allow the minimum wage to rise with the CPI [Consumer Price Index] or with another index so that it adjusts automatically over time," he told a staffer for a labor-backed group that supports a raise. And he confirmed that stance last month, telling reporters: "I haven't changed my thoughts on that."
Romney took the same position as governor of Massachusetts, an office he held from 2003 to 2007, and as a candidate for president in 2008.
Are you fed up with Rush Limbaugh? How to take action
If you're fed up with Limbaugh and the daily toxic nonsense he spews on the nation's public airwaves, I urge you to take action.
Go here to sign a petition to Clear Channel to discontinue Rush Limbaugh's show.
Go here to add your voice to a group of female veterans who are calling for the Armed Forces Network to drop Rush Limbaugh from its programming. (Armed Forces Network by the way, is funded with your tax dollars.
Go to BoycottRush.org and join the more than 100,00 people who've signed the petition there using Limbaugh's advertisers to drop him. Note: this site also includes an up-to-date list of Limbaugh's advertisers, along with contact information.
At this site, you can access the #StopRush Limbaugh Campaign, which rounds up news, info, and resources on the various efforts across the Internet to pressure Clear Channel and advertisers to stop supporting Limbaugh.
Go here to file a complaint with the FCC about Limbaugh's show. (Remember, his program is aired on the public airwaves that are owned by We The People. Note: Left Leaning Liberal Lady offers a good suggestion: "contact the FCC to file a complaint against Rush Limbaugh for soliciting pornography via public airwaves.")
At this site, you can find detailed information about the companies that are still advertising on Rush's show, as well as updates on those companies who've dropped their ads. Be sure to add your voice to those who are contacting these companies, asking them to stop sponsoring Limbaugh. (And until these companies do so, we should boycott their products and services).
Add your name to this Facebook page which is coordinating a boycott-Limbaugh effort (and which already has over 30,000 "Likes"). (Note: Twitter users can add their voices here at #boycottrush).
Thursday, March 08, 2012
This day in music - March 8, 1930: "Happy Days Are Here Again" by Ben Selvin and His Orchestra is at No. 1 on the charts
It was copyrighted in 1929 by Milton Ager (music) and Jack Yellen (lyrics). The song seems first to have been recorded by Leo Reisman and his Orchestra in 1929, with Lou Levin on vocals, and featured in a 1930 film called Chasing Rainbows.
Someone by the name of Ben Selvin recorded it in 1930 and had a number one hit with it. Although I am not sure, my guess is that these rankings would have been based on sheet music sales. If anyone has better information than that, let me know.
The interesting thing about Ben Selvin is that, according to The Guinness Book of World Records, he recorded more musical sides on 78-rpm discs that any another person. As the Wikipedia entry reports:
One reason for this prolific output is that he recorded for dozens of different labels during this high-growth time in the industry, using a different name (or slightly different name) for each label. Selvin's output has been estimated at 13,000 to 20,000 song titles.
Anyway, back to the song: With the economy perhaps, hopefully, turning the corner, it's as good a time as any to dust off "Happy Days Are Here Again," much as the thought would pain our friends in the Republican Party, who dream of economic apocalypse, at least leading up to November.
Here it is by Ben Selvin & His Orchestra, expressing the hope of any sane person:
(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)
Lee Atwater: Romney can't win in November 2012
In the 2012 Republican presidential contest, Mitt Romney is that person.
Romney's image right now is worse than almost all other recent candidates who went on to win their party's presidential nomination: Obama was 51%/28% and McCain was 47%/27%, per the March 2008 NBC/WSJ poll; Kerry was 42%/30% at this point in '04; George W. Bush was 43%/32% in 2000; and Bob Dole was 35%/39%. The one exception: Bill Clinton (2), in April 1992, was 32%/43%. That means that if Romney becomes the GOP nominee, he has a LONG WAY to go to rehabilitate his image.
An October Surprise: Will Israel attack Iran?
Peyton Manning should go to the New York Jets -- no question about it
|Waving goodbye and hello|
In fairness, Manning is about to turn 36, a pretty advanced age for a QB. He did miss the entire 2011 NFL season with a neck injury and, though doctors have apparently said he is okay to play, it's not at all clear that he would be the Peyton Manning of old. And, oh yeah, they would have had to pay him a $28 million bonus if they decided to keep him. And double oh yeah, the Colts were so bad last year that they are in line to get a first round draft pick that could land them Andrew Luck, reported to be one of the best quarterbacks ever to come out of college.
So, yes, it was time for Manning to go. And, as much as the Colts would probably love him to just retire so he would only have played for Indy in his entire career, which would in some sense be cleaner, he says he wants to continue in the league. Thus, we are about to begin what most observers call perhaps the biggest free agent sweepstakes in the history of the NFL.
Everyone is abuzz with talk of who needs him most and where he might want to go. Teams in need that come up in conversation are Washington, Tennessee, Miami, Seattle, Arizona, Cleveland, Kansas City, Jacksonville, Denver, San Francisco, even Houston.
But my personal favourite is the New York Jets. Whether or not the Jets are interested is another question, but here are my reasons he should want to go there and why the Jets should want him, in no particular order:
- The Jets haven't been to the Super Bowl since Joe Namath and company won it for them in 1969. The Giants have been there five times and have won four. The Jets and the Giants have always hated each other. Jets coach Rex Ryan has been mouthing off over the past few years about who the best team in the city is. We know the answer to that question and the Jets would do almost anything to change it. Manning could bring them a Super Bowl. I also think Ryan would love the extra attention of having Peyton around.
- Jets QB Mark Sanchez has been a disappointment and is not developing quickly enough. See point one.
- Manning will be 36 soon and doesn't have that many good years left. He'll want to go to a team that is ready to win and the Jets are.
- Brother Eli would be playing not only in the same town but in the same stadium. The brothers seem close and I suspect this would be considered a plus for both of them. Eli has said as much.
- I think Peyton would like to go up against Tom Brady twice a year in the AFC East. Great rivalry.
- Here's the big one: Peyton Manning is a very bright, articulate guy who loves the camera, loves media attention and who will be around the game for a long time to come as a media personality and ambassador for the game once his playing days are over. My guess is he would love to end his career in the media centre of the world. It will enhance his profile even more, if that's possible, making him even bigger than he already is. For example, you'd probably see him and his little brother doing Saturday Night Live skits and whatever. Anyway, Peyton was made for New York and I just can't see him wanting to go to a secondary media market. And next to New York City, every place else is a secondary media market.
- A corollary to the last one is that with Eli's two Super Bowl rings and Peyton being Peyton, can you imagine what the Madison Avenue advertising execs could do with these guys if they played in the same town? They'd need their own Brinks truck just to transport their daily earnings.
There. No one asked me, but that's my two cents.
(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)
The Dinosaur Walked
On one side, there is conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh doing what made him famous on the airwaves – throwing incendiary word bombs. This time, he dubbed a Georgetown University law student a “slut” and a "prostitute” after she said at a congressional hearing that insurance should cover contraceptives.
On the other side, a one-two punch: social media amplifying the concerns of a wave of protesters – particularly women – railing against what they saw as outdated misogyny.
I'm going to put this in terms that Sun Tzu would readily appreciate: asymetrical warfare.
Also known as "death by a billion tweets."
This isn't the first time Rush has mouthed off and been over-the-top offensive, and he's gotten away with it every time prior. It may very well end up being his last, however.
Why? Mostly because his criticism had been from outlets he could readily poo-poo as "liberal mainstream media," like media critics or talk show panels. It allowed him to focus his fire on those symbolic critics without ever addressing the underlying audience. He was fighting other dinosaurs and he was the biggest meanest of the herd. His targets were large and easily fought.
This allowed his fans, all 15 million of them (5% of the US population, believe it or not,) to discredit the criticism easily while ignoring the actual insulting behavior.
Yes, people have tried the boycott advertiser route with Rush in the past, and it hasn't worked because there hasn't been a critical mass-- it's much easier for conservative activists to gather the financial resources to launch an ad campaign-- achieved.
In the world of social media, that paradigm is broken, and in this spew Rush will lose. You don't need money to send a tweet to boycott Carbonite or Sears, and your hundred or thousand followers can read it. Multiply that by millions and then the tens of millions of re-tweets and replies, and next thing you know, AOL is synonymous with Rush Limbaugh.
And therefore, AOL becomes the responsible party for what Rush says. After all, they're paying big bucks to him to say it. Remember, tens and hundreds of millions of tweets will reinforce that appearance. That Rush is hemmoraghing advertisers-- despite his brash "they're coming back" claims to the contrary, he's still down a net of 35 by my count-- is not a surprise.
I mean, it's not like it's been a secret that Rush was offensive, but he had been able to clamp down the controversy quickly and it passed from public view.
Worse for Rush, it would be impossible to find each and every tweeter and start pulling their wings off: first, even if you could somehow devote the resources necessary to investigate tens of millions of tweets, you'd fail miserably in characterizing them because many of them are mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters of his listeners, which would diminish his audience right off the top, and second, the signal that sends is one of abject desperation.
Rush, predictably, blamed liberals. He resorted to "fighting the last war," and Sun Tzu would have chuckled. Meanwhile, the anthill he's stepped in is sending more and more ants (tweets and Tweeters) to attack him. And those tweets are flashing past the screens of people endlessly. Those free commercials for getting rid of Rush are far more common now than the actual commercials the advertisers paid for.
Of course, they ain't selling soap, they're selling the idea that advertising on Rush's program will get you a drop in sales. For companies like Sears, who just announced they were throwing in the towel, this amounts to suicide. And in an economy like ours, as feeble and straining as it is, bad news is not no news. It's bad news and that means a hit to the bottom line where today even a small hit can create a loss.
So Rush is left flailing not because he said something stupid-- as I pointed out, he's done that before and gotten away with it, so there's no reason to think he'd learned from those-- but because he failed to read the environment he was operating in. He believed he was safe from backlash, that if he battened down the hatches for a couple of days, the storm would pass.
It hasn't. It won't. And until Rush comes to God himself and makes a sincere apology taking responsibility for what he said and promising (as Keith Olbermann did last night) never to let it happen again, you can write his career off.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Photo of the day: A Havana Industriales baseball cap
He brought this hat back, which is the cap worn by the Havana Industriales.
Here's the Wikipedia entry for the team, which I find quite interesting: a team hated as much as the New York Yankees. I can relate.
Industriales is a baseball team in the Cuban National Series. One of the two teams based in the city of Havana. Industriales is historically the most successful team in the National Series, the main domestic competition in post-revolutionary Cuban baseball. They are similar to the New York Yankees in the sense that they have fans all over the country, being a sure sellout in any stadium, also hated by many outside the capital.
I am Rush Limbaugh's wife... part deux
Guest post by tmcbpatriot (not Kathryn Rogers, but close)
tmcbpatriot's informative and always entertaining blog, Take My Country Back, emanates from somewhere out in the Midwest. He writes passionately and as often as possible about a confused, mindless right wing hopelessly lost in the abyss of endless lies and misdirection.
Ed. note: This is the patriot's fourth guest post for us. His first was on how it's about the vagina, stupid, his second was on gay marriage and the end of the GOP, and his third was the first post by Kathryn Rogers. I'm a big fan of his blog and we're happy to have him on board.
For more from The Reaction team on Dear Leader Rush and his vicious attack on Sandra Fluke, see: