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New anti-Rush Limbaugh ad campaign: Waste of money or coup de grace? (+video)

Liberal watchdog group Media Matters are running anti-Rush Limbaugh ads in eight cities in an attempt to get stations to drop his show. This might be a battle Limbaugh is more comfortable fighting.

By Staff writer / March 22, 2012

In this January 2009 file photo, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh talks with guests in the East Room of the White House in Washington.

Ron Edmonds/AP/File

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Rush Limbaugh’s foes are striking back at his talk show empire beginning Thursday via anti-Limbaugh ads scheduled to run in eight cities. The liberal watchdog group Media Matters says it will spend at least $100,000 on the effort, which highlights Mr. Limbaugh’s attack on Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke as a “slut” in an attempt to get local stations to drop his show.

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One of the ads urges listeners to call and tell Limbaugh’s affiliates that “we don’t talk to women like that” in our city, according to the Associated Press.

Hmmm. Is this campaign a waste of money – or the coup de grace for a career teetering on the edge?

First, we’ll note that the ads are the latest salvo in an escalating war between Limbaugh and Media Matters itself. The liberal group has been instrumental in organizing an advertiser boycott of Limbaugh on social media, providing lists of target firms and contact phone numbers.

In a March 20 opinion piece in Politico, Media Matters founder David Brock asserted that the sponsor exodus has “disintegrated” Limbaugh’s business model. Well over 100 companies have taken steps to make sure they aren’t associated with Limbaugh’s show, Mr. Brock wrote.

Limbaugh’s harsh attack on Fluke was unprecedented even for him, according to Brock.

“It is for that reason that Media Matters, along with numerous other groups, have begun to educate advertisers about the damage their financial support of Limbaugh’s program can do to their brands,” wrote Brock.

As a practical matter, Media Matters’ increasingly visible attacks on Limbaugh have allowed the talk show host to reframe the controversy to a certain point. Instead of his harsh words against a young, female private citizen, the issue Limbaugh takes on now is the attempt by a group that’s taken money from liberal icon George Soros to force him off-air. It’s a battleground on which Limbaugh appears to feel more comfortable.

“Media Matters and the Democrat National Committee and the Democrat Party are exposing themselves,” Limbaugh said on his show Wednesday. “This is an unintended consequence. They’re exposing that their Astroturf campaigns are not grassroots at all.... They are totally professionally created and executed Democrat Party opposition research-type attacks. And they have nothing to do with consumers.”

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