Rush Limbaugh has a long history of using his radio show to spread lies and vitriol, but in 2012, his 46 personal attacks on Sandra Fluke crossed a historic line.
Since then, thousands of businesses have reportedly taken steps to ensure that their ads do not run during Limbaugh's program. The result? Hundreds of millions of dollars in losses attributable to advertisers refusing to subsidize The Rush Limbaugh Show.
Finally, Rush Limbaugh is being held accountable for a business model that relies on using sexist attacks, preying on racial anxieties, peddling hate, and promoting downright lies to generate controversy and ratings. For years, Limbaugh had a perverse incentive to bully, lie, and smear because he knew he'd be rewarded. The more outrageous his show was, the higher his ratings and revenues would climb.
But now that vicious cycle is unraveling because advertisers and radio executives are realizing that associating with Rush Limbaugh is bad for business.
Lew Dickey, CEO of one of the largest radio companies, Cumulus Media, recently called Limbaugh a "drag" on business. In fact, Rush Limbaugh is so toxic these days that he's hurting conservative talk radio as a whole. Noam Pattiz, CEO of Courtside Entertainment, best summarized the effect, noting that the decline in advertising revenue triggered a shift in the industry "away from conservative talk radio and into other genres."
But despite the damage he's done to his bottom line, Limbaugh hasn't changed his tune. Every day, he takes to the airwaves to peddle remarkable new slurs, smears, and conspiracy theories.
It's up to this grassroots movement -- individuals, organizations, and hundreds of independent organizers, like the Flush Rush and #StopRush communities -- to keep up the pressure. Together, their efforts and your participation are having a tremendous impact.