Online Reputation Management Blog

Does Rush Limbaugh Have a Reputation Management Problem?

When Don Imus is giving you advice on how to talk about women on the radio, you might have a reputation management problem.  Welcome to the not-so-wonderful week for conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.  To quickly recap for aliens who may be reading this blog several thousand years from now (and anyone who may have just woken from a coma), Sandra Fluke, a student at Georgetown University Law Center, testified before Congress in February to protest limiting access to birth control paid for by private insurance plans, even those provided by religious institutions.

Last Wednesday, nationally syndicated radio personality, Rush Limbaugh, called Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” — his, ahem, subtle way of illustrating the absurdity of criticizing a Jesuit school for refusing to pay for contraception for its students.

The outcry was fierce across all sides of the political spectrum.  Even Obama took time out of his busy Friday to call Fluke and express his support for her advocacy for women.  On a good day, Rush is one of the most polarizing figures in America.  And last Wednesday was not a good day.  The rest of the week has not been much better, either.

On Saturday, Rush Limbaugh issued an apology, but his feeble attempt to explain why he crudely singled out Ms. Sandra Fluke further enraged his critics on the left.

Earlier today, Limbaugh went on air to try (again) to explain why he apologized to Sandra Fluke but this controversy is still the leading news story in America.

In the internet age, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the power of radio.  The Washington Post estimates that up to 25 million people listen to Rush Limbaugh every week!

Liberal groups are mobilizing against advertisers that support The Rush Limbaugh Show and and boycott Rush campaigns are trending on Twitter and Facebook.  As pressure mounts on the 600 radio stations that carry his show every day, it will be interesting to see whether Rush Limbaugh will be able to recover from the fallout over his recent comments.

Editior’s Note:  Reputation Rhino advertises on WABC Radio.  The company is not, nor has it ever been, a sponsor on The Rush Limbaugh Show.

About Todd William

Foodie. Bruce Springsteen fan. Citizen of Red Sox Nation. Online reputation management strategist. Founder of Reputation Rhino. For more, follow us @reputationrhino

Comments

  1. Susanna says:

    Thanks for an informative article. Please correct this — he does not have 25 million listeners: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cenk-uygur/rush-limbaugh-ratings_b_1320144.html

    • Todd William says:

      Thanks for your clarification! There seems to be a very large disparity among news media accounts of his actual reach — your citation is very helpful in (trying) to clear up the matter.

      • Christine says:

        Actual size more likely in the 1.4 million range, so an audience scale similar to Rachel Maddow’s. Some great stuff here:

        “…radio syndicators have ratings numbers off of which they sell advertising, but those figures are closely held — unlike Arbitron data, which is more widely avail able. So, basically, it’s up to the syndicator to dole out the ratings numbers to the press; like last year, when Limbaugh’s syndicator, Premiere Radio Networks, claimed 20 million listeners tuned into Limbaugh’s show each week.

        Also keep in mind that eight-digit number is what’s known in radio as the “cume” (short for cumulative). It in no way reflects the actual audience size like the way television shows are measured minute by minute or half-hour by half-hour. Instead, the cume number represents a very large — and generous — umbrella covering the number of people who, in theory, tune into a program at any time during the week, even if it’s for just two minutes.

        As a radio trade reporter confirmed to MSNBC last week, common industry shorthand to determine the actual size of a radio audience at any given moment is to cut the cume figure down by a factor of 10…”

        From: http://mediamatters.org/columns/200903090031

  2. Melanie Deare says:

    Thank you for the informative post and clarification. Just wanted to add that it isn’t just “liberal groups” who are outraged by Limbaugh’s remarks. I’m a conservative, Republican female, and I found his remarks sickening. Have we degenerated to this? I applaud everyone who has withdrawn their support from Limbaugh’s show. Somewhere along the way, we have to make a stand for simple civility, or we will become a culture of “all-hate, all-the-time.” Let us have civil discourse without the juvenile name-calling and sensationalism.

  3. Richard In VA says:

    “…to protest limiting access to birth control paid for by private insurance plans, even those provided by religious institutions.”

    By limiting access you mean “not forcing private insurance plans to pay for”.

  4. Reputation Management Problem good guides i need more knowledge of reputation management

  5. Cathleen Judge says:

    Mr. William,

    I’m afraid that, like much of the mainstream media, you’ve unfortunately missed a lot of essential facts in this episode and have consequently misunderstood and misrepresented what’s occurred to your readers, however unintentionally.

    First, Rush Limbaugh’s attacks on Sandra Fluke consisted of far more than merely calling her a “slut” and a “prostitute”. Here are the highlights of Limbaugh’s three days of relentless attacks, to give you and your readers a better understanding, I hope, of what’s at stake here and what is fueling this backlash, in my opinion:

    February 29, 2012:
    1) “she’s having so much sex she can’t afford her own birth control pills”
    2) “they’re having so much sex they can’t afford the birth control pills!”
    3) “essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.”
    4) “Sandra Fluke. So much sex going on, they can’t afford birth control pills.”

    March 1, 2012:
    5) “You’d call ‘em a slut, a prostitute”
    6) “she’s having so much sex”
    7) “are having so much sex that they’re going broke”
    8) “they want to have sex any time, as many times and as often as they want, with as many partners as they want”
    9) “the sexual habits of female law students at Georgetown”
    10) “are having so much sex that they’re going broke”
    11) “having so much sex that it’s hard to make ends meet”
    12) “four out of every ten co-eds are having so much sex that it’s hard to make ends meet”
    13) “Now, what does that make her? She wants us to buy her sex.”
    14) “to pay for these co-eds to have sex”
    15) “she and her co-ed classmates are having sex nearly three times a day for three years straight, apparently these deadbeat boyfriends or random hookups that these babes are encountering here, having sex with nearly three times a day”
    16) “Therefore we are paying her to have sex. Therefore we are paying her for having sex.”
    17) “Have you ever heard of not having sex so often?”
    18) “Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal: If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”
    19) “we want something in return, Ms. Fluke: And that would be the videos of all this sex posted online so we can see what we are getting for our money.”
    20) “’If we’re paying for this, it makes these women sluts, prostitutes.’ And what else could it be?”
    21) “essentially says that she must be paid to have sex. What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right?”
    22) “I’m having sex so damn much, I’m going broke.”
    23) “She’s having so much sex that she’s going broke! There’s no question about her virtue.”
    24) “having so much sex she’s going broke at Georgetown Law.”
    25) “Here’s a woman exercising no self-control. The fact that she wants to have repeated, never-ending, as often as she wants it sex — given.”
    26) “She’s having so much sex it’s amazing she can still walk, but she made it up there.”
    27) “Maybe they’re sex addicts.”
    28) “to pay for her to have sex all the time.”
    29) “she wants the rest of us to pay for her sex.”
    30) “She wants all the sex that she wants all the time paid for by the rest of us.”
    31) “Here this babe goes before Congress and wants thousands of dollars to pay for her sex.”
    32) “a woman who is happily presenting herself as an immoral, baseless, no-purpose-to-her-life woman.”
    33) “She wants all the sex in the world, whenever she wants it, all the time.”
    34) “If this woman wants to have sex ten times a day for three years, fine and dandy.”
    35) “to provide women from Georgetown Law unlimited, no-consequences sex.”
    36) “so she can have unlimited, no-consequences sex.”
    37) “You want to have all the sex you want all day long, no consequences, no responsibility for your behavior”
    38) “The woman wants unlimited, no-responsibility, no-consequences sex, and she wants it with contraceptives paid for by us.”

    March 2, 2012:
    39) “she’s having so much sex, she can’t afford her birth control pills anymore.”
    40) “she’s having so much sex, she can’t pay for it — and we should.”
    41) “She’s having so much sex, she can’t afford it.”
    42) “this, frankly hilarious claim that she’s having so much sex (and her buddies with her) that she can’t afford it.”
    43) “And not one person says, ‘Well, did you ever think about maybe backing off the amount of sex that you have?’”
    44) “Does she have more boyfriends? Ha! They’re lined up around the block.”
    45) “It was Sandra Fluke who said that she was having so much sex, she can’t afford it.”
    46) “By her own admission, in her own words, Sandra Fluke is having so much sex that she can’t afford it.”
    47) “they’re having a lot of sex for which they need a lot of contraception.”
    48) “Her sex life is active and she’s having sex so frequently that she can’t afford all the birth control pills that she needs.”
    49) “who admits to having so much sex that she can’t afford it anymore.”
    50) “she’s having so much sex, she can’t pay for it.”
    51) “As frequently as she has sex and to not be pregnant, she’s obviously succeeding in contraception.”
    52) “Ms. Fluke, asserts her right to free contraceptive, to handle her sex life — and it’s, by her own admission, quite active.” …
    53) “Ms. Fluke, who bought your condoms in junior high? Who bought your condoms in the sixth grade, or your contraception?”

    It was #18 — the demand that Sandra Fluke post videos of herself having sex on the web for Limbaugh’s titillation and that of his audience that made me — a lifelong registered Independent who voted for McCain and Palin in 2008 and who’s voted Republican as often as I’ve voted Democratic over the decades — decide that I needed to take action personally to ensure that Limbaugh is driven off the public airways, if only for the sake of my own (teenage) daughter. For her future, to ensure she’s never subjected to such treatment, I have no choice but to take a firm stand against such rampant misogyny.

    Second, as explained in Fluke’s testimony, Georgetown was never asked to pay for the students’ birth control pills: student insurance at Georgetown is paid for by the students themselves.

    Third, as also explained in Fluke’s testimony, Georgetown already subsidizes health insurance coverage for its faculty and staff which covers birth control pills for them and their families, and which was one of Sandra Fluke’s major points.

    Fourth, the core of Fluke’s testimony was that many if not most women will have to take birth control pills at some point in their lives for reasons other than contraception, in order to treat serious medical conditions (some potentially life-threatening, such as ovarian hemorrhages arising from polycystic ovarian disease) for which no other equivalent treatment exists. The legislation she was testifying against would permit Georgetown and other to deny coverage of birth control pills even where their use was exclusively for non-contraceptive purposes. Fluke offered as an example a classmate with polycystic ovarian disease who could not afford to pay for birth control pills and who consequently suffered a hemorrhage and lost her remaining ovary: that young woman is now infertile as a result.

    Fifth, Fluke never mentioned in her testimony whether she herself uses or has ever used birth control pills. Limbaugh didn’t merely embellish: he made his claims up out of whole cloth.

    Sixth, many, like myself, were enraged by Limbaugh’s so-called apology, not because it was merely “feeble” but rather because it was so clearly disingenuous. Claiming that he made “a choice of words [that]was not the best” can’t even begin to account for most of what Limbaugh actually did about Fluke, and his subsequent claim, “I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke” was as shameless as it was ludicrous: how can “The woman wants unlimited, no-responsibility, no-consequences sex, and she wants it with contraceptives paid for by us;” or “a woman who is happily presenting herself as an immoral, baseless, no-purpose-to-her-life woman;” or “Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal: If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch” be fairly construed as anything but a personal attack?

    Sixth, although “liberal groups” may be the most visible and organized of Limbaugh’s opponents, according to a poll conducted by Bloomberg between March 8-11, 53% of those surveyed said Limbaugh should be fired for his attacks on Fluke, including 30% of the Republicans polled, so it seems likely that a significant portion of those who are calling and writing Limbaugh’s advertisers aren’t just liberals, but also include moderate-to-conservatives like myself, perhaps even some who, again like myself, not only voted for McCain and Palin in 2008, but even put up a sign for them in their front yards.

    Given the serious of this matter to me I’m signing this comment with my real name because I don’t want to mistaken for a troll. I assume your website will log my IP address when I post and, if so, it will indicate where you will be able to find me listed in the phone book in case you want to verify that I really am who I say I am.

    In closing, I thank you and Reputation Rhino for the opportunity to post these comments, which I hope you will view as a constructive contribution to the discussion here. I look forward to any response you might care to make in return.

Trackbacks

  1. […] The mass exodus continued, as Think Progress rounded up six more sponsored that decided to no longer associate their brand with Limbaugh. Reputation Rhino, fittingly, a reputation management firm, insisted that they bought bulk air time on ABC and would make sure their ads would not run on Limbaugh’s show and even used the situation as a subject for their blog. […]

  2. […] The mass exodus continued, as Think Progress rounded up six more sponsored that decided to no longer associate their brand with Limbaugh. Reputation Rhino, fittingly, a reputation management firm, insisted that they bought bulk air time on ABC and would make sure their ads would not run on Limbaugh’s show and even used the situation as a subject for their blog. […]

  3. […] The mass exodus continued, as Think Progress rounded up six more sponsored that decided to no longer associate their brand with Limbaugh. Reputation Rhino, fittingly, a reputation management firm, insisted that they bought bulk air time on ABC and would make sure their ads would not run on Limbaugh’s show and even used the situation as a subject for their blog. […]

  4. […] bulk air time on ABC and would make sure their ads would not run on Limbaugh’s show and even used the situation as a subject for their blog. Many different companies have insisted that they had bought bulk air time, without explicitly […]

Speak Your Mind

*