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March 15, 2012

From the PR Frying Pan Into the Fire: Limbaugh's Problems Continue to Mount — Not Only are Advertisers Abandoning His Radio Show, Now a New Bloomberg Poll Shows That a Majority of Americans Think He Should Be Fired

Rush Limbaugh has taken some harsh shots at many, including just about every left-leaning politician on the planet, but his insulting comments directed toward a Georgetown Law School student seem to keep resonating with companies as sponsors and advertisers of his conservative radio show continue to jump ship. But now, the American public is chiming in on the Rush lynching. A new Bloomberg Poll, released this week, shows that a majority of Americans — 53 percent — say Limbaugh should be fired for calling the student a "slut," according to a wide-ranging new survey on contraception. Furthermore, the Rush-bashing seems to be crossing party lines as almost a third of Republicans polled — 30 percent — agree with the notion that Limbaugh should be canned for his remarks, the Bloomberg poll showed. Men are split over whether Limbaugh should be axed — 49 percent say yes, while 47 percent disagree. Fifty-six percent of women support firing him, compared with 39 percent who do not. While the opinions on Limbaugh proved to be eye opening, the survey sought opinions on the suddenly hot-button topic of birth control. More than three-quarters of Americans believe that the issue of birth control shouldn't even be a topic of debate right now. Indeed, 77 percent said that the national political debate shouldn't involve contraception, while 20 percent said it should, Politico reports.

Americans also view the controversy over the Obama administration's rule that employers must provide birth control coverage in employee health care plans as an issue of women's health rather than religious freedom. In fact, 62 percent of respondents said that the issue is one of women's health access rather than religious freedom, the opposite of what Republican presidential candidates have argued, Politico reports.

Despite the furor of the past weeks over female birth control, it appears as though Republicans may have narrowed the gap with Democrats among women, according to Bloomberg. Mitt Romney, the front-runner in delegates for the Republican presidential primary, received 45 percent support from women, compared with 49 percent for President Obama. The poll also shows Obama leading Rick Santorum among women by 9 percentage points, 51 percent to 42 percent, reports Politico writer Tim Mak.

The Bloomberg national poll involved a sample of 1,002 respondents and was conducted March 8-11. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Comments

Limbaugh

Whether people agree or disagree with Limbaugh's general perspective and the level to which people have allowed themselves to be offended by the latest comment (and by connection chosen to be judgmental enough to not accept his apology to any degree), demanding he be fired is largely ignorant and shows a lack of intelligence. It is his own show. If people don't like it, don't listen - that's the answer instead of allowing themselves to have emotions raised by not-entirely-objective media stoking fires. The media continues to become more commentary than journalism, more opinion than fact, more subjective than objective. It is time we considered more the information we are being presented be slower to act on most things and not be so easily led as uneducated masses.

Tim H is right

Limbaugh can't be fired. He is self-employed and owns the show. The only way he can lose it is if he loses the bulk of his 15 million listeners and the corresponding revenue from ads. Stories this week are he's actually taking on more new advertisers than what he lost. His audience share has grown. It's naive for a Daily Dog, trade targeting professional communicators, not to get this perspective.

Tied to this, the surveys as quoted here miss quite a bit. The "suddenly hot" issue of birth control has been driven by Dem operatives in response to lagging poll numbers among women. This story reveals it all backfired. A more savvy and accurate headline here could easily be summed up as: Dem Play to Poll Better Among Women Backfires.

The issue of contraception was officially introduced by Democrat pundit George Stephanopolous in a January debate. He threw out the hypothetical, "What if there was a movement to ban contraception?" to Romney. Romney called it silly on the spot, and the Republicans have been on their heels since. Not one Republican initiated the issue or indicated they would seek to influence current contraception access. It's all a myth, and this story and the surveys never even question it.

As for the church-state issue, I can't comment on survey results other than to say that regardless of how the public in these polls see the issue, the fact is (and as communications professionals we sometimes have to be concerned with facts), the issue is that religious organizations don't feel they should pay for contraception and they are protected under the U.S. Constitution. No one is threatening limitations on access, but rather, the issue is whether it should be free and whether the government can force a religious organization to go against its core philosophies and pay for birth control.

Daily Dog is Slacking

Sometimes when I read these articles I feel like I'm watching a magician fool a bunch of other magicians into believing there really is a rabbit in that hat. If we're to be taken seriously as a profession, we of all people, must have an understanding of how things work.

First off, I know Rush Limbaugh owns his show, so you can't fire him. Secondly, if you know anything about talk radio, this is good for his ratings, which is good for his advertising, etc.

Sure he lost a few advertisers because of a boycott, but basic business principles come to play here. If you're boycotted by your own loyal customers, that's trouble. But if the driver for the boycott comes from people who don't buy your products, then it will fail because you're really not losing anything. The MoveOn.org and Media Matters people are clearly orchestrating this. It's not grassroots. They don't constitute Rush Limbaugh's base. His conservative base will continue to listen, and his show will attract advertisers that want access to those millions of listeners. Basic communications business economics. Do DailyDog writers read anything outside of the New York Times, Politico and Huffington Post?

Sandra Fluke's Story is Emerging

Thanks to the new media, this 30-year old Georgetown law student who protrayed herself as struggling to keep up with the financial demands of her unprotected sex life, the details on her are emerging. Prior to becoming a public figure, she was hardly private on social media, which has served as a way to learn that: her boyfriend is a standup comic who does okay, but he can afford to, he is part of an extremely rich family. Their lifestyle is that of a jet-setter, dating in some of the most expensive locales around the globe. Why should this matter? Simply that how she portrayed herself and the truth are miles apart, and not one journalist (including the Daily Dog) ever questioned it. She's a leftisit activist who allowed her Democrat handlers to shape a lie around her. No doubt she believes in all that she said, she just doesn't have any credibility. She can afford contraception, even if the numbers she presented seem high to the average person and are likely more than most real people spend on contraception. Point is, when you get back to the basic issues: Is she who she presented to the public? (No) And are the "facts" she presented realistic? (No)

You have nothing. Without an activist media, this story never sees the light of day.

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