In the wake of the “kerfuffle” over Rush Limbaugh mocking 30-year old Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, news outlets including the Huffington Post, Politico, and the Associated Press have breathlessly reported that a growing number of businesses have abandoned the three-hour radio program -- despite a written and on-air apology from its host.
Some critics, Limbaugh included, believe that the purpose of these reports is to convince audiences that Limbaugh has done irreparable financial damage to his brand and that his show won't last much longer.
"People are reporting things that, A, are not true, and B, I don't even think the people reporting it have the slightest idea what they're talking about, nor do they have the ability to understand it," Limbaugh said during his show on Wednesday. "No, we have not lost 28 sponsors."
"Well, how can they say it?" Limbaugh asked rhetorically. "Because they lie and because they don't understand how it works, and that's what I want to try and explain."
The radio show host continued: the "official" list of businesses that have pulled their advertisements from the Limbaugh program is, simply put, misleading. While Think Progress and Media Matters are claiming 30+ businesses have fled the Limbaugh program, they are silent about the fact that most of the advertisers are small companies picked up by any one of the 600 stations carrying the Rush Limbaugh show.
Which is to say, although there are some national advertisers on "the list," the majority of companies making a statement about pulling their ads from Limbaugh are small, privately owned business that make up a very small fraction of the total number of businesses advertising on the 600 stations running radio show.
"Everything is fine on the business side. Everything's cool," Limbaugh reassured his listeners. "There is not a thing to worry about. What you're seeing on television about this program and sponsors and advertisers is just incorrect."
Listen to Limbaugh explain the truth behind the advertiser "exodus" (via Daily Rushobo):
Limbaugh explains why the narrative set up by the media is factually dishonest:
Sponsors of our program are both nationwide companies, like Two If By Tea (my tea company), and local companies, like "Mike's Auto Body Repair" or a local bank. If we added up all of our affiliates (let's choose the number 600) and we assumed that each of those affiliates had 30 such sponsors in the course of our three-hour program, there might be -- all across this country -- as many as 18,000 different sponsors of this program.
Let me put it another way: There might be 18,000 different people buying advertising within this program alone.
That is a conservative number: 600 stations, 18 commercial minutes an hour. We take whatever we take to sell ourselves and the local station keeps the rest. They have local advertisers. You add up all those over the course of 600 stations, over three hours a day, five days a week, and we're talking 18,000 different sponsors, okay?
ABC News, who understands how this works and are purposely misrepresenting it, is out there ballyhooing that we have lost 28 sponsors. Twenty-eight sponsors out of 18,000! That's like losing a couple of french fries in the container when it's delivered to you at the drive-thru. You don't even notice it. If we lose 28 of those sponsors, the majority of them being in one city or another out of 18 thousand, it's a sad occurrence.
Well, even if the number is miniscule, these companies are still sending a message, right?
"Yes, they're putting out statements because they're hoping to make political gains -- and it's gonna backfire," Limbaugh assured. "You can look at the stock price of some of these companies. I'm not gonna say any more, but it's going to backfire."