In what Rush himself called a "random act of journalism" on his radio show today, even the Washington Post has written a story admitting that Limbaugh's show has apparently survived the orchestrated "advertiser boycott" on the part of Media Matters for America. The story, entitled "Limbaugh Sees Heat Over Comments Turn Down to a Simmer," includes some very discouraging passages for liberal opponents of the controversial talk show host. Highlights follow:
Exactly one month after the conservative radio host sparked outrage by calling Georgetown law-school student Sandra Fluke “a slut” and “a prostitute” in a three-day diatribe, stations are standing by him, advertisers are trickling back to his program and the news media have moved on.[...]
Limbaugh’s advertising losses may have been less than media accounts suggested. While more than 100 advertisers told Premiere that they didn’t want to be associated with “controversial” radio programs of any kind in the wake of the flap, some of these companies weren’t regular Limbaugh sponsors in the first place.[...]
Limbaugh’s recovering fortunes may be best exemplified by what hasn’t happened. At the peak of the controversy in early March, two small stations — in western Massachusetts and Hilo, Hawaii — said that they would drop his program. Since then, no other station has said it will take him off the air, dashing the hopes of MoveOn.org, a liberal group whose ongoing petition drive seeks Limbaugh’s removal from 180 stations.
Limbaugh was stunned by the story, taking to his radio station to promote it and personally praise the Post for getting the story right:
I do not know how this happened and I don't know what caused it, but there is an absolutely accurate -- correct factually -- and fair story on the last month of this program in the Washington Post. It was put up last night. I don't know if it's in the printed version or if it's just a website piece, but I am...
I read it. I had to read it two or three times. I cannot believe it! This program, me, is never accorded this kind of treatment in the mainstream media. The truth about how few advertisers have been lost. The truth about how few stations left. The truth about how little damage was done to this program. It was stunning. It's in the Washington Post. I just told Koko to put a link to it up at RushLimbaugh.com in the red section, the red bar at RushLimbaugh.com when you go there. He'll have it up there soon. I don't even think Koko knew about it. When I sent him just a note here, "I want you to put that link up. I'm gonna be talking about," he wrote back, "Okay." I'm sure he was thinking, "What the hell is he talking about?" We might tweet that out, too, as well.
Media Matters has tried to spin the attack as less than a total loss, claiming that Limbaugh may be on a tighter leash following the boycott. Given Limbaugh's ability to rebound from previous controversies, however, this may be overly optimistic.