Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Limbaugh Shows The Swiftness Of Market Discipline

Some people prefer government to be a watchdog and enforcer rather than market discipline. I like the latter, and the Rush Limbaugh episode shows how devastatingly effective markets can be. From the Business Insider:
According to a series of advertisers' Twitter and Facebook statements, at least 20 different sponsors have now pulled their spots from Rush Limbaugh's radio show.

In case you're new to the kerfuffle—welcome out of hibernation!—advertisers began dropping like flies after Limbaugh called a Georgetown law student and women's rights activist a "slut" and a "prostitute" for supporting healthcare coverage for contraception.

Sleep Number and The Sleep Train, both mattress suppliers, were the first two advertisers to pull their ads Friday, and the numbers have grown tenfold since then.

Limbaugh gave a faux apology, and has since stuck to his guns. All well and good in the world of free speech. He can carry on and exercise his right, but it's going to be a much less lucrative gig for him if he does. He isn't winning for losing here. He's lost two radio station affiliates and probably isn't done losing stations or advertisers.

Imagine if, instead, government had stepped in and censored his remarks. Limbaugh would have been made the victim by many, and not incorrectly, in a 'two wrongs don't make a right' kind of way. Nope- the market is taking care of this just fine, no government regulation necessary, thank you very much.


Doug said...

I agree that this isn't a matter for government intervention. But, I have to raise an eyebrow at the market for giving this guy so much money in the first place. His career up to this point is what the market rewards more lucratively than almost any other individual effort?

Mike Kole said...

As I mentioned in comments on your blog, Doug, I'm amazed that he hadn't seen greater advertiser backlash before this. He's been using the term 'feminazi' for ages, and it hadn't generated the kind of fuss calling an individual a slut has. I'm surprised this was the straw that broke the camel's back.

He has been the top rated talker for decades. People lap his stuff up. I'm an old radio guy, and I never found him that entertaining. I probably tune in on average twice every three years, and can't take more than five minutes.

patriot paul said...

At some point, these shock jock entertainers egregiously slip over the edge and can no longer electrify the audience without getting self-electrocuted. The 'market' can also be manipulated. Good article on Forbes:

patriot paul said...

I'm anxious to see how much those former advertisers' stock goes down. That will be the real test of the market. I've withdrawn from pro-flowers and left a lengthy message on their new automated voice mail they set up regarding this issue. I also know of those discontinuing AOL and looking for an alternate service. We'll see who has the last laugh

Mike Kole said...

Paul- It will be interesting indeed. I read an article about Carbonite having pulled its' support and the stock plummeted since: http://hotair.com/archives/2012/03/07/carbonite-stock-plummets-after-decision-to-abandon-limbaugh/

Mike Kole said...

Point remains, in either direction, the market reacts very swiftly.

Another development I found interesting was Bill Maher's support for Rush. I kinda figured he would want to find a hole to hide in, since the words he used for Sarah Palin make Limbaugh's words to Sandra Fluke seem genteel and complimentary in comparison, and Rush's supporters have been gleefully trotting them out. Maher used the one single word no man with any sense uses in the presence of any woman. Ever.

Al said...

Hi Mike,
The difference between 'feminazi' is that it was a term pointed at a political movement lead by public figures.
His derogatory use of 'slut' was against a private citizen.

I am reminded of the film Citizen Kane when Kane was told his newspaper was losing one million dollars a year said he was worth 60 million and could publish for 60 years.
I am quite sure his show has the resources and additional sponsors to ride this one out.
He probably has clients who were shut out because his time was sold out and now can get advertising slots (maybe at a slight discount).

Doug said...

I agree with Bill Maher on a number of areas, and think he's sometimes very funny. But there's no getting around the fact that he's a misogynist from way back.