Stoking the fires of controversy, Media Matters for America has upped the ante in its war with Rush Limbaugh and will spend $100,000 to buy radio ads in 8 cities calling on citizens to force the talk radio star off the air. The ad buy is part of a carefully coordinated war that the left is carrying out against Limbaugh as they seek to silence one of the major conservative voices in the nation.
Limbaugh has responded by accusing the liberal front group for the Democratic party of seeking to censor his — and any other views — with which it disagrees. And there has been a spillover effect into government as the Los Angeles City Council has adopted a symbolic resolution that calls on radio stations to police their on-air talent’s “hate speech” while arguing that stations need to hire more minorities so that there is a “diversity” of viewpoints.
The ad campaign by Media Matters is just the latest broadside in their long standing effort to purge the radio host from the airwaves. This time, there appears to be a little more urgency to their work. Could it be that the liberal website has been bleeding so much traffic over the last year that they desperately need to stoke the fires of activism in order to boost outside revenue? According to Site Analytics, in February, 2011 Media Matters welcomed 603,000 unique visitors. A year later in February, 2012, that number had fallen off a cliff, as the website got only 276,000 for the month. That’s a catastrophic drop of 54%. What better way to increase revenue than gin up outrage and declare war on the biggest target on talk radio?
Writing at Big Government, Ben Shapiro points out that since the Daily Caller’s brutal exposé of Media Matters and its weird, paranoid founder David Brock, that detailed charges “including funding from left-wing allies, bizarre office hijinks, anti-Semitic employees, backdoor payoffs to former lovers, and connections with the Obama Administration, the organization remains largely silent” about the substance of the accusations in DC’s articles. In a way, Limbaugh’s comments have been a godsend to MMFA as it has deflected attention from the DC series while allowing the organization to implement a plan it has actually had in the works for 3 years.
That plan is detailed by William Jacobson of the blog Legal Insurrection. The effort to silence Limbaugh goes back at least to 2009 and is headed up by the Media Matters Director for Online Strategy Angelo Carusone. He admitted to the Village Voice:
I initially rolled it out in late 2009 and early 2010. At the time, the Beck work was doing well. I thought that in dealing with advertisers, some really appreciated being educated about where their ads were running. The ad market took care of this. The word “boycott,” it’s very rare that I called for a boycott or attacked a company. For the most part, I let advertisers know where there money was being spent, where it was going, and what it was helping. They made the decision themselves.
Carusone engineered astro-turfed campaigns on social media, bombarding advertisers for Limbaugh with threats. Limbaugh’s spokesman points out:
These Media Matters mobs bear a simple message: Renounce our enemies or become one of them. They distribute target lists of advertiser phone numbers, email addresses, Facebook links and Twitter handles, and then they come out of nowhere, en masse, against selected advertisers in rotation. They barrage small business with threats until they cancel their advertising.
Several dozen advertisers gave in to the pressure, which only made the attacks even more hysterical. There was blood in the water and Media Matters and its sharks were in a feeding frenzy. What is lost in all this social media churning is that only a handful of stations have dropped Limbaugh from their talk radio lineup. He may be losing some advertisers, but the owners of Clear Channel and other networks aren’t stupid. It would be economic suicide to cancel a show that attracts upwards of 20 million listeners a day. It’s why MMFA and other liberals like Jane Fonda who want the FCC to throw Limbaugh off the air, are dreaming.
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