Advertisers do not respond to a sense of moral outrage.
Advertisers respond to a sense that they may lose money due to guilt by association. If they suspect that enough people are not only complaining about Limbaugh's antics but also *associating their product with those antics and thus redirecting their mattress buying money* then that is what spurs a corporation into sudden righteous outrage.
This. Shorter: because enough people made a fuss this time.
(Also, "righteous outrage" is a good candidate for scare quotes.)
Basically, while I don't disagree with the answers above, I don't think that's the point.
I think the point is that, because of Occupy, because of Wisconsin, because of Arab Spring, because it's about fucking time, the "Overton window" is finally moving a little tiny bit in the other direction, after moving to the right for your whole adult lifetime. People who never bothered before are putting pressure on, and people who've been successfully putting pressure on for their whole adult lives, and moving the window to the right, are beginning to see what it's like to have some opposition.
For me, the hardest thing right now is not getting excited about the change, and remembering that the window is thirty+ years to the right of where it should be when we start to make progress. And, knowing the left, we're way less likely to stay good at putting pressure on when we start to succeed.
Edited at 2012-03-06 03:55 pm (UTC)
I would like this to be the point. But I am far too cynical to believe it to be the case. I wish that I thought AOL cared about Arab Spring beyond how it impacted the bottom line. But I don't.
I hope you keep believing it.
I know, right. I mean, I don't even feel like I have a right to be outraged at his recent insensitivity, because I already did that in, like, 1997.
you have some very intelligent and well spoken friends on your flist.
You had me way before "It's going to be one of the floor cookies the dog turned her nose up, guys," but that filled me with yes even more so.
When you make your living marginalizing people, be sure to marginalize those who can be marginalized.
Plenty of women listen to Rush et al. and think, "Well, I'm a normal person, I'm not a welfare mother, a 'feminazi', a lesbian, a powerdyke like Janet Reno or Hillary Clinton, etc."
But those same women, hearing that contraception makes one a slut...well, that something like 98% of women. Rush may as well have said, "Ooh la la, get a load of this one, who thinks she's so great because she showers a couple of times a week! Someone's a queermosexual, eeeew! Am I right?!"
And no, he ain't right. People can avoid empathizing with the target of ridicule and marginalization pretty easily even when part of the target population (.e.g, "I was on food stamps and nobody helped me!") but that trick doesn't work when one tries to marginalize everyone.
I also think that the recent Planned Parenthood/Komen thing activated people, so the same phone trees, online social networks etc., were already at or near full-strength.
Edited at 2012-03-06 04:30 pm (UTC)
I don't think it's that people are only just cluing in. All the reporting on it and all of the petitions I've seen -- which isn't all of them, to be sure, but it is a lot -- have been very clear that this is not new for him. It's just that perhaps this time he has crossed the line in such a way and at such a time that successfully slapping him across the face for it might be possible, and so people are trying to do that.
Actually, that's probably not true. There are almost certainly people for whom "Rush Limbaugh is a raging asshole" is news; I have a lot of friends who really only interact with their own left-leaning circles, and they get that kind of information only when it becomes big news, at which point they freak out and insist somebody do something about it because oh my god, the horror!
But by definition they can't be the people starting the movement, just the ones adding numbers to it. For the people starting it, this is clearly not new information, just perhaps a moment of enough critical mass to kick back a little.
It ties in with what davidwilford
One thing I heard on NPR is that,once it all got public, the advertisers realized that they could get a LOT of free publicity by dropping him, giving them much more exposure than they got by advertising on his limited-audience show. Now everybody knows about Carbonite, right? And when it all dies down, they can go back to advertising with him if they think that's where they'll reach buyers. Sorry to be totally cynical, but just the mention of his name does that to me.
Half-speculating here as I'm not a marketing specialist, half-factual from what I've heard from folks who are in marketing but were not referring to this case. Bottom line is that the marketing isn't as specific as people may think.
I think a lot of companies buy advertising in chunks with a venue. For instance, I buy 24 30-second slots on your channel for the next month. As part of the contract you agree that 6 of those will be during primetime and further that 6 more will be on this specific show that I know resonates with my customers. I want to be a named sponsor who the host of that show acknowledges in her own voice - and I pay extra for that. The other twelve you promise won't be between midnight and 5 am. We both sign the contract and walk away until renewal time.
Then I find out that some of those other 12 are on a show that really pisses off my customers. Crap. I never told the channel explicitly that I didn't want that show, and in fact part of my lower price was that they could fill in the empty slots wherever they needed it. From the channel's point of view if they had to specifically negotiate every slot one by one it would be a nightmare. "Yes, Mr. Customer, you can have the 12:15:30 slot during the Wicked Smaht News Analysis show."
So there's a lot more going on behind the scenes. Is the advertiser pulling all 24 slots off the channel - a big, ugly, contract thing with lots of impact to shows that aren't the objectionable one. Or are they saying. "Look, I know we signed this contract, but I want none of my free-floating 12 to be on that show, and now let's talk if I owe you something in return for that favor."
Following up on myself as I've been googling this lunchtime. I'm thinking that the larger the company is the more likely they have the time and expertise to control this, whereas the advice to small companies on a tight budget include things like this: "ROS commercials, otherwise known as rotator spots, are lower-priced commercials with a broad window of airtime although there are usually no guarantees when your commercial will air" (inc.com). But a lot of the media stories I see refer to customers as "sponsors" of the show, which implies a closer relationship and choice - I'm not 100% convinced that implication is accurate. On the other hand I'm not seeing any companies saying "we didn't mean to advertise there." On the other other hand, best practice for PR nowadays is to try to close the issue as fast as possible rather than try to make excuses - the excuses just keep you in the spotlight and make people mad.
This is the way moral panic cycles go. (See http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/lcs9603.html
There are times when drunken driving isn't considered much of a problem -- and then the cycle turns, and it's a HUGE problem. There are times when gambling is relatively acceptable; and times like the one in which Nevada banned gambling forever. Etc.
2012-03-06 06:20 pm (UTC)
Partly, the outraqe is that our bubbles work so well. Limbaugh is just a name to most people I know, and while we know he's a bad guy, we probably don't understand just how bad.
This got through to a bunch more people just how bad he is.
Here's what a writer named Sandra Fluke, you may have heard of her, has to say:http://gawker.com/5890597/only-you-can-end-the-tragic-cycle-of-rush-limbaughs-trolling
She agrees with you.
"As an act of trolling, the "slut" remark has obviously backfired a bit. Intended merely to injure, provoke, and scandalize, it has been seen as sufficiently worrisome to launch an advertiser boycott. Quicken Loans, Citrix Systems, Legal Zoom, Sleep Number, Sleep Train, Pro Flowers, Carbonite, and most recently AOL have all pulled their ads from his show. All of them are hypocrites and most of them are liars. AOL, for instance, announced today that it was ending its relationship with Limbaugh because his "comments are not in line with our values."
This is preposterous. It would be tedious to rehearse the endless parade of deeply, calculatedly racist and sexist things that Limbaugh has uttered over the years. But suffice it to say that there is no conceivable rational value system for which the epithet "slut" is out of line but every other horrible thing Limbaugh has said in the past is "in line." Each and every one of Limbaugh's advertisers made a deliberate decision to underwrite the show and career of a man who does things like call a 31-year-old law student a "slut" for discussing her family planning needs. The fact that he has done so is neither surprising nor noteworthy, and their decision to pull their advertisements is disingenuous pandering."
While Sandra Fluke's name is at the op of that article, I think that's a topic indicator, not the author. Further down there's a byline indicating the author is John Cook.
Rush has always been this bad; but maybe now the world is a little more good? There's enough outrage by enough people that corporations must take some notice, so...?
Actually, I honestly, and perhaps with bias, always thought that people with my particular flavor of liberality were more serious about the first amendment than people of Limbaugh's flavor of conservativism; which is to say, we all purport to believe in free speech, but I've always felt Limbaugh's ilk were more keen on THEIR speech being free than anyone else's. Is that actually fair? I don't know. But I've never tried to boycott anyone for anything less than sparking full-on ecological disasters.
Ugh. That thought is incomplete.
Anyway, what I was trying to drive at and instead was driving away from, was that the general feeling of the country is that yes, women are people; yes, sex is probably okayish even when non-procreative; yes, birth control actually contributes to women's health beyond merely controlling birth; etc.
It's a little bit like the "did science fiction win, but the science fiction fans didn't notice because those freakin' mainstream people were flocking to it?" game... did a certain sense of equality and liberality enter the mainstream over the years, and now the people who find Rush Limbaugh offensive includes a lot more of said mainstream, who are either more likely to call up advertisors (or maybe, are just numerous enough to be heard by said advertisors)?
Edited at 2012-03-07 02:47 am (UTC)
("Slutty feminazi showers that hate white people are brewing over the Northeast this weekend, probably to ruin capitalism....")
Funniest thing I've read in ages. :-)