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Wednesday, March 28, 2012
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Pittman Comments on Limbaugh - Now What?

If there's anything learned since Rush Limbaugh brought a trove of attention to the radio industry with words that bashed a 30-year-old woman, it's that you can't say anything about the man without his supporters labeling you a Communist or a person who is trying to derail the Constitution.

"It's still nasty out there but, now that Robert Pittman has weighed in with supporting Rush, it may get a lot more nasty before quieting down." If you haven't taken the tour of web sites carrying this story, try using Google News. The list of articles is long and, in most instances, each article carries comments from Limbaugh backers that sound like they come from low-IQ individuals.

Words like "Communist," "destroying the Constitution," "evil," and "left-leaning media" are thrown about as if anyone who disagrees with Rush must fit into one of these categories.

On the opposing side, "vile," "disgusting," and "hateful" seem to be used in describing Rush and anyone who supports his type of over-the-air commentary. There are few comments from backers on either side indicating the author's words were given thought.

I've stated my opinion about how Rush's approach affects the radio industry, and I back those opposing because of my belief there are double standards used here. 1) Where Rush Limbaugh receives backing from his bosses, other air talents are fired, suspended, or forced to take sensitivity training. The lack of justice when viewed in this manner is profound. 2) Freedom of speech is overshadowed by "community interest" when speaking into an FCC-controlled microphone, and Rush Limbaugh has crossed the line too many times to let his last example go unpunished. (Please don't bring up the Bill Maher or other "left-leaning" controversies done on cable or non-regulated media, unless you're willing to discuss Fox News and Ted Nugent's tirades.)

At least Howard Stern had the common sense to take his act to satellite. It's time Rush Limbaugh follows, or moves his mouth online.

That divisiveness is so strong as to be revolting. Even though I'm a Vietnam-era veteran, I've received comments about being someone who doesn't love this country, won't support freedom of speech, and is "...not too keen on the U. S. Constitution."

God love these folks who believe their love for God puts them above being paranoid. To constantly hear how we're in the midst of a Socialist plot to overthrow the U.S. government by the Obama administration, presented as fact, goes beyond reasonable thinking. Yet it's an often used refrain in the Dittohead universe.

Putting Limbaugh followers aside, let's spend time on what Clear Channel CEO, Robert Pittman, said the other day. While I have been calling for a comment from the higher-ups at Clear Channel about this latest Limbaugh episode, what Mr. Pittman said took me by surprise.

Bob Pittman's words do not reflect a person who realizes the power of social media. Nor does it indicate an understanding of how issuing a statement like "Rush is Rush and radio is radio" will do further harm to the radio industry.

Now, for the first time, there is a direct line-of-attachment between Clear Channel and Rush Limbaugh with the headline over an AP story reading "Clear Channel boss 'delighted' to have Limbaugh." (Until now, it's primarily been Premiere Radio Networks' name that's been associated with this man.)

Within a matter of hours of Robert Pittman making his claim of supporting Rush, it was in dozens of papers - except, ironically, at the time of this writing, the radio industry trade owned by Clear Channel, Inside Radio. Now, this topic has been given new life.

Over the past 11 days, here's a rough accounting of the number of names being added to the petition labeled "Clear Channel: Discontinue Rush Limbaugh's radio talk show."

March 17 - 390
March 18 - 390
March 19 - 460
March 20 - 265
March 21 - 175
March 22 - 200
March 23 - 165
March 24 - 195
March 25 - 170
March 26 - 160
March 27 - 70

It is on a downward trend, as you'd expect with this aging story. But, let's keep an eye on it now that we have the Clear Channel CEO giving a statement of support to Rush.

At the least, this whole episode demonstrates the vitriolic rhetoric existing within America today. That the Limbaugh controversy is being overshadowed by the tragic event involving Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, as it should be, doesn't mean people are not still angry over Limbaugh's bullying of Sandra Fluke.

We'll see how this plays out over the next few weeks with Clear Channel now identified in mainstream media as the company carrying the final word about Limbuagh's on-air tenure. I'm sure it will not help deepen the public's love for the radio industry, or Clear Channel stations in various markets.

I'm also not counting on Rush supporters pulling back with the name calling. Professing to act in the name of patriotism and God gives them endless power, in their minds.

It's still nasty out there but, now that Robert Pittman has weighed in supporting Rush, it may get a lot more nasty before quieting down.

As a side-note: Here is an example of how conservative supporters feel about diversity.

1) (Quoting from Time Magazine) The following is told to parishioners of Pastor Dennis Terry's church - with Rick Santorum standing next to him: This nation was founded as a Christian nation. If you don't like the way we do things, I've got one thing to say: Get out! We don't worship Buddha. We don't worship Muhammad. We don't worship Allah. We worship God. We worship God's son Jesus Christ. (So much for freedom of religion in America.)

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