Report: Media Matters behind Rush boycott

By on Mar, 21 2012 with Comments 31

Media Matters for AmericaLooks like we were on track with a recent story that cited Media Matters’ “Twitter Bombing” as the driving force that’s scaring advertisers away from Rush, network radio newscasts and radio in general: Is the loss of advertisers really a reaction to genuine public outrage, or a coordinated plan from Media Matters and other left-wing groups waiting to be executed the instant Rush said anything remotely controversial? New evidence from Alana Goodman of Commentary Magazine and William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection suggests that the latter was definitely the case.

The Blaze reports Jacobson and Goodman fingered Media Matters for America as the culprits behind boycott. Their evidence is an interview with Media Matters’ Director of Online Strategy, Angelo Carusone, published in the Village Voice. Carusone is also behind the supposed “advertiser boycott” of Glenn Beck.

Said Caruso: “I was trying to figure out what I was going to do, and for me, it became clear that things were pretty messed up. Our policies are messed up, and didn’t think the conversation around them was going well. I started looking at the irresponsible, reckless pillars of the media. Beck represented the worst of them at the time. He was extremely reckless, and illustrated the very worst of the media abdicating their responsibility. That’s why I picked him as a first target. Things for him turned out to be bad business. I think people should have opinions, and express them passionately, but there is a responsible way of doing that. He was being completely irresponsible, and that’s why I started Stop Beck, in July of 2009.”

Here’s where Caruso said where the Limbaugh boycott originated: “Stop Rush, I initially rolled it out in late 2009 and early 2010. At the time, the Beck work was doing well. I thought that in dealing with advertisers, some really appreciated being educated about where their ads were running. The ad market took care of this. The word “boycott,” it’s very rare that I called for a boycott or attacked a company. For the most part, I let advertisers know where there money was being spent, where it was going, and what it was helping. They made the decision themselves….Rush had spent three full days digging in. I started talking to advertisers on Thursday, and got a lot of feedback on Friday, and I knew a lot of movement was taking place. This was important to think about from a business perspective. The very clearest example was when Carbonite came out on Saturday night. That was significant because they had been one of his biggest advertisers, and they announced their drop after the so called apology. They said the apology didn’t matter. Rush had exposed himself as too volatile to do business with.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Many may think Media Matters is what it says it is: A “media watchdog group dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.” These articles seem to indicate MM goes a bit beyond that—via premeditated, coordinated efforts to sabotage the ability to sign and keep advertisers on programming. It’s one thing to inform the public about incorrect statements and exaggerations from the media, but another thing to use a tax-exempt status to bring down media companies and show hosts.

About The Author: Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.

  1. Commentary Magazine? Seriously? Don’t these advertisers want money?

  2. “Culprit” behind a boycott? Boycotts are mass action. Talk about ‘fair and balanced’ journalism…

  3. Oh please. You sound like you’re looking for this huge conspiracy to explain what is going on. Here is the bottom line. Rush finally went too far. He spends 3 days calling a woman a slut and a prostitute and totally lying about what she had actually said. Then he comes up with a faux apology that infuriates even more people. Media Matters is not the culprit here. It’s Rush. He did it too himself. All MM has done is report his actual words and urge the public to let advertisers know that they didn’t appreciate what he was doing. The public and the advertisers are fully capable of making their own decisions. You make it sound like MM has this all encompassing power over listeners and advertisers. The real culprit is Rush. Blame him.

    • Apparently Media Matters tricked me into being so disgusted by Rush’s comments that I contacted the companies whose products I use. That’s weird, because I don’t actually read MM, but I guess they’re just that good.

  4. Jim Dennis Says:

    Where does common sense, good judgment and decency trump sensationalism in the media? Of course, the more ‘over the top’ his statements are the more his followers buy into it…which is sad.

    Limburger’s hateful kind of radio is not what we need for a sick USA which is the driving force behind all that Rush Limburger does and is about. He has helped divide the people with his form of sick rhetoric (in my opinion). I believe he feels he is above the law and that he can say what he pleases -unchecked.

    I do not think this is a first amendment issue…he can’t hide behind that wall that was built by the sweat and tears of Americans not fat rock n’ roll ex-disk jockeys.

    What he said is what the man feels in his heart – believe it or don’t believe it.

    I will take my case one step further…two months ago I received an e-mail from a person that I consider-d a friend. The e-mail featured pictures of Obama’s mother naked. They were obviously taken many, many years previous. Hey, they might even not have been his mother but, the e-mail had pictures of Obama as a kid with his mother at about the time the pictures appeared to be taken.

    Point true or not it’s this kind of hatred being spewed by the commentary delivered every day by a man I have NO respect for. He is a bottom feeder. Period.

  5. In reality Media Matters has been posting Rush’s audio for years without an action like this. It was Rush that crossed a line that started a boycott. This one is on Limbaugh.

  6. Danny Detroit Says:

    Rush Limbaugh finally went too far. Media Matters reported it but so did every other form of media. Advertisers pulled their ads because it’s bad business to be associated with any program that turns off millions of potential customers.

    Stop blaming one of many messengers.

  7. Rush has gained a ton of listeners due to this and the companies who left, such as Carbonite, are tanking. Just as advertisers are free to leave Rush, customers are free to not buy their products. This has totally blown up in the face of libs and they are losing their minds over it.

    The biggest joke is the selective moral outrage for women against Rush, but crickets when it comes to comments from the left. If the left would be consistent, it would have a lot more credibility.

    This was political from the beginning and has been exposed as such. Rush continues to have a growing audience thanks to libs he has grown bigger, stronger and more popular than ever. EPIC FAIL

    • >> companies who left, such as Carbonite, are tanking

      “stocks on Tuesday in general suffered their worst loss in 2012, swooning on bad news overseas. On Wednesday, shares of Carbonite rose 4%.” [http://news.investors.com/article/603543/201203071744/carbonite-pulls-ads-from-rush-limbaugh.htm]

      >> The biggest joke is the selective moral outrage for women against Rush, but crickets when it comes to comments from the left.

      You might want to stick your head outside the bubble, the crickets are fairly loud out here in the fresh air.

    • You’re welcome. I guess the advertisers hate money.

  8. It’s pretty hard for some to admit that most of the sponsors who left Rush’s show did so on their own volition because he crossed a line.

    That’s the real reason so many are not expected back.

    Consumers and others are asking ‘why are you paying that guy to call a woman names, and ask her to make an offensive video.’ Rather doubtful that outside the beltway – and the listeners he’s been complaining to – that too many people consider Media Matters to be the reason they’re avoiding Rush’s sponsors.

    It’s Rush himself turning people off.

  9. Apparently Media Matters sent some of its useful idiots over to RBR to slam this perceptive article, judging from some of the anti-Rush comments already posted.

    Yes, the “Rush Boycott” was clearly a well-coordinated campaign, as far from grassroots as you can get.

    Let’s face it, Media Matters is a fringe group. They are skilled at two things: pulling the mass media’s strings, and working up far left zealots into states of mindless hate. MM is a political advocacy organization, undeserving of its non-profit status.

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for the IRS to take action on that status, at least not until after the November election.

    • Yes, everyone who disagrees with you is a paid employee of some cause you hate, because what you think is so self-evidently right that it’s impossible for anyone to think otherwise without compensation.

      Also, *other people* are full of mindless hate.

      • Never said you were a “paid employee” of Media Matters. But since you’re busy doing their work for them, you definitely fit the definition of “useful idiot”.

        This really isn’t about Rush Limbaugh, it’s about the Left scoring political points. It’s much easier to feign outrage and scream and shout about evil Republicans and how much they hate women, rather than focus on major issues like unemployment, high gas prices, loss of freedoms, etc.

    • Do you understand what the word “boycott” means? Who cares who organizes one?

  10. Kevin Fodor Says:

    Dear, God…what rock are you hiding under, RBR?

    You should see the multiple daily e-mails…er…propaganda I get in my in-box
    from these people. Though they weren’t designed that way originally, MM has become an anti-conservative pressure group just like all the others who make a daily habit on both sides of the political fence to try and push radio people one way or the other. Come down to the “station level” sometime, and and see what goes on inside a talk radio station…

  11. The whole scare tactic of “boycott” is such a political ploy. Rush took the bait and now has to deal with it. The whole Fluke testimony was a set up from the get go.

    Politicians from both sides are NOT going to inhibit anyone from obtaining birth control. And this is the White Elephant in the room, not the “S” word.

    I have several clients being protested because of what Rush said, NOT for their advertising messages which are so non-political. The disconnect that these protesters have is that FREEDOM of speech does still exist, even if it goes into a sour tone.

    As broadcasters and advertisers we cannot allow media “watchdog” groups like Media Matters to become censors. We have already survived as a Nation the lame censorship of Lenny Bruce and McCarthyism decades ago.

    People are people and conformity is not in our DNA. If it was there would be no crimes and definitely no people running around like their hair is on fire from comments that actually threaten no one but the idiot who said it.

  12. Carey Haskell Says:

    Referring to the final words of this artice, “it’s another thing to use a tax-exempt status to bring down media companies and show hosts.”, I have to ask is the author just as outraged by the multiple advertiser boycotts organized by the “One Million Moms” group?

    • Carey Haskell Says:

      And why wasn’t it pointed out that all three of your “sources” are conservative organizations? The Blaze is Glenn Beck’s website, isn’t that a relevant bias to point out in the article?

  13. Media Matters is a far..FAR-left pressure group. It’s leaders are rarely interviewed as they hide behind internet efforts to agitate the masses over mainstream and conservative positions.
    Subversive is a word I would use to describe their thinking and actions.

    Oh, and as for them “not talking that way about women” in the various cities where Media Matters bought air-time..I don’t hear them complaining about lefty Ed Schultz calling Laura Ingraham a “slut” on the air last year.
    Ed then apologized, Laura accepted, (Miss Fluke hasn’t) and the matter faded away. But, lefties talk that way all the time, so no big deal, right?

    • Actually Phil, Schultz was suspended.

      And “lefties” – whatever/whoever they are, as if they’re all one group who think and talk the same way, don’t all talk like that. That’s why it’s controversial when people DO.

      Decency shouldn’t be a left or right issue. There used to be standards of being a gentleman and disagreeing with class. Reagan and Buckley would never have spoken like Limbaugh did, even as they would likely take issue with Ms. Fluke’s political views.

      It’s called class. And those of us in this business that don’t program to a higher standard simply because ranting and insulting lead to easy money ought to take a serious look at ourselves.

      Do any of you who program talk stations have daughters? That alone ought to be reason to find repulsive the choice of words used by Mr. Limbaugh.

      Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, whatever. There are lines.

  14. All of this organized conspiracy talk and accusing Media Matters of being the cause of Rush’s problems is just a smoke screen to cover up the real story.

    The real story is that listeners and advertisers are just getting tired of all of this hate talk coming from conservative radio and Rush Limbaugh in particular. Talk radio is going to have to adjust in order to survive and prosper. Continuing down this path of conservative hate mongering is wearing thin on listeners and advertisers. If talk radio programmers don’t see the signs and start making changes more advertisers and listeners will just go elsewhere.

    And the conservative meme that is developing about how Sandra Fluke was a plant by the liberals to trap Rush is just absurd.

    • Actually Dennis, I think most program directors are thrilled with all the attention Rush has been getting lately. When I was a talk radio PD, my motto was “any publicity is good publicity”, and we had the ratings to back that statement up.

      You can attack his advertisers, and you can attack his listeners, but the program directors are the ones who count, and I’m sure they are loving all the screaming headlines.

      • What they aren’t loving is running all those Public Service Ads. That’s going to get old quickly. I guess next week will tell.

  15. Media MAtters is funded and supported by George Soros’s group of colleagues. It is totally biased and has spewed out bad info continually with only a fragment of truth to convince people it has value. It is politically motivated and it’s folks have embraced Al-Jazeera. How unbiased are they???? Not at all.

    • And Fox is funded by Murdoch. Now, which one is it that owns a media empires. Right, Murdoch….shut up already with the whiney George Soros crap. Murdoch is much, much worse.

  16. David:

    So it’s the height of subterfuge and evil when Soros does it but when the Koch Brothers do the same for right leaning causes, then it’s not biased? Hm.

  17. Can’t answer you, Mark. I only talk to Bolsheviks on February 29ths.

  18. Mark,

    Exactly what have the Koch Brothers done that is “evil”? You probably don’t have an answer, because they haven’t done anything evil.

    David H’s point is valid — Media Matters is a politically driven org and is extremely biased.

  19. Don’t abuse the word “censorship”. I have a right not to buy any product I want. I don’t care a bit who organizes a boycott. I’ll engage in a boycott if I believe the message it sends. A boycott can only work if people believe in it. You are free to buy the products of advertisers of your favorite shows.

    Typical righty-tighty twisting of an issue beyond recognition. It’s the left who stand up for the First Amendment and other popular rights.

    Now they re going to complain about “righty-tighty” being uncivil, after they’ve been labelling people “lib’s” and “lefty”s.





Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.