On his Wednesday show, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh accused “the mainstream media” of spreading “misinformation” about advertisers deserting his program.
According to Media Matters, Limbaugh has lost a total of 39 advertisers because of the fallout from his controversial remarks about Georgetown Law student and contraception activist Sandra Fluke.
“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.
Limbaugh cited a query from his brother asking if he really lost, at that time, 28 sponsors. Limbaugh denied that the figure was accurate and said he had, in fact, brought on board three “brand-new sponsors.”
“Judging from the reaction of my own brother, who sends me a note last night, ‘You really lost 28 sponsors?’ No, we have not lost 28 sponsors,” Limbaugh said. “‘Well, how can they say it?’ Because they lie and because they don’t understand how it works, and that’s what I want to try and explain. In fact, folks, we have three brand-new sponsors that will be starting in the next two weeks. Now, obviously, I’m not going to tell you who they are today, but we’ve got three brand-new, full-fledged sponsors starting in the next two weeks.”
In addition to the new sponsors, Limbaugh said that two companies that dropped their ads now want to return. “One of them is practically begging to come back,” he said.
“Everything is fine on the business side,” added Limbaugh. “Everything’s cool. There is not a thing to worry about. What you’re seeing on television about this program and sponsors and advertisers is just incorrect. And let me try to explain how this works. Let’s take the claim that we’ve lost 28 sponsors. Sponsors on this program are both local and national. We deal with the national sponsors on this program. We have 600-plus stations. They sell their own commercials. We don’t have anything to do with those sponsors. We don’t get paid by those sponsors. We have no idea who those sponsors are.”
Limbaugh speculated that many of the companies discontinuing ads are merely asking local stations to move their promotions to another time slot — thereby neither canceling their ads nor affecting his show’s bottom line.
“They are not our sponsors,” he said. “They are not even canceling their advertising on the local station. They’re just saying for the time being they don’t want it run from noon to three. And let me tell you, this happens every day. It’s been happening for 23-plus years. And it’s not just to me. There are clients, advertisers that tell stations, ‘I don’t want this to run in Beck’s show. I don’t want it to run in Hannity’s. I don’t want it to run in Howard Stern’s.’ It’s all part of the business.”
Limbaugh claimed that the effort by liberal groups to publicize what he described as inflated figures was an effort to dispirit his listeners.
“There’s a focal point on this in trying to dispirit you and trying to present a picture of this program that doesn’t exist and that’s untrue, they’re trying to make it sound like this is unprecedented — that it’s never happened before, it’s at an all-time high — and it simply isn’t the case,” he said. “We have not lost 28 national sponsors. There are not 28 advertisers who were paying us who aren’t anymore. They are local commercial buys.”