Rush Limbaugh has started the predictable “I’m back” media blitz, with this Howie Kurtz piece and a Washington Post story, both claiming that ratings are up and his losses are in the mere single digits.
Rush’s real ratings aren’t out yet, but let’s give a known liar the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s right, because the people who were listening to Rush, or were inclined to listen to Rush, aren’t going to give a shit about a boycott or what he said about Sandra Fluke. And, as planned from the start, Rush’s “barter” ads, which were suspended for two weeks, are back. Those are ads that local stations have to run during the Limbaugh show in order to get access to Rush’s show.
Doug Mataconis–who is to stupid as Foxconn is to Apple: a reliable supplier–thinks this means that the boycott has failed and that it was dangerous to start it in the first place. Maybe there was some smack-talk about Rush getting off the air during the height of the boycott, but I don’t remember anyone here writing that Rush would actually have his show cancelled over this. What I expected was that Rush would become even more toxic to mainstream advertisers, that his advertising base would become even more low-rent, and that this would hurt Rush where it matters, the wallet. As far as I can tell, most of that has happened. To this day, if a national brand advertiser’s ad accidentally appears on the Limbaugh show, then they immediately have to apologize.
I had an old Philosophy prof whose rejoinder to the Nietzsche aphorism “that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” was “what about a double amputation?” Rush didn’t get killed here, but he’s anything but stronger, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s how you keep score in the Culture Wars.