It feels like a whole bunch of things may be coming to a head. We may be about to face a paradigm shift.
Premiere Networks, which distributes Limbaugh as well as a host of other right-wing talkers, sent an email out to its affiliates early Friday listing 98 large corporations that have requested their ads appear only on “programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity).”
This is big. According to the radio-industry website Radio-Info.com, which first posted excerpts of the Premiere memo, among the 98 companies that have decided to no longer sponsor these programs are “carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm), and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway).” Together, these talk-radio advertising staples represent millions of dollars in revenue.
In fact, just about the only paid advertising Rush himself has left are ads from conservative and Republican sources:
For example, the ads that ran on Limbaugh’s WABC show in New York on Thursday consisted primarily of public-service announcements. Among the few actual advertisements were spots from the Mitt Romney–associated super PAC Restore Our Future (featuring negative attacks on Newt), Lear Capital, and the conservative Hillsdale College. Media Matters has been monitoring national trends along the same lines. When PSAs for nonprofit organizations like Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the United Negro College Fund run in place of actual advertisements on radio, it means the show starts losing money for the local station. And make no mistake, money is the only barometer of success the industry ultimately cares about.
This is telling. Rush’s audience — and indeed that of right-wing media in general — skews to the white, male and elderly; it’s not that lucrative for advertisers and it’s dying off. Meanwhile, the most prized and lucrative advertising demographic consists of women between the ages of 24 and 55 — precisely the people most turned off by Rush and his comments.
It will be interesting to see whether the same shadowy right-wing sugar daddies that got Rush’s radio empire built will stand by him in his hour of need, or if they will write him off as no longer useful to them. They may well write him off, much as the once-mighty Breitbart internet cottage industry seems to have been written off now that he’s dead. The death of Andrew Breitbart has sent his own online media conglomerate into a tailspin, and it doesn’t look like whatever sugar daddies he had are willing to step in and pay for competent coders to save his websites.
Item. The same corporate sponsors who are now fleeing right-wing media in droves have ironically been using right-wing media to push nonsense about how we just overtax our poor helpless corporations. Here are some antidotes to that nonsense:
As you can see from this Tax Policy Center chart and the EPI chart shown above, Corporate America pays less in taxes than you do — and always has. (Interestingly, the very states where income inequality is greatest and the middle class the weakest — the former slave states of the Confederacy — are those that vote most strongly for the Republican persons and policies that keep the mass of people in these states poor.)