Ad cam­paign tar­gets Lim­baugh

Net­work sees it as ef­fort to si­lence ra­dio host

The Washington Times Daily - - Politics - BY DAVID BAUDER

NEW YORK | Rush Lim­baugh’s op­po­nents started a cam­paign against him Thurs­day, seiz­ing upon the ra­dio star’s at­tack of a Ge­orge­town law stu­dent as a “slut” to make a long-term ef­fort aimed at weak­en­ing his busi­ness.

The lib­eral Me­dia Mat­ters for Amer­ica is us­ing a past cam­paign against Glenn Beck as a tem­plate. In Mr. Lim­baugh, how­ever, they are go­ing af­ter big­ger game. He al­ready is fight­ing back and the group’s stance has pro­voked con­cerns that an ef­fort to si­lence some­one for ob­jec­tion­able talk is in it­self ob­jec­tion­able.

Me­dia Mat­ters is spend­ing at least $100,000 for two ad­ver­tise­ments that will run in eight cities.

The ads use Mr. Lim­baugh’s own words about stu­dent San­dra Fluke, who told con­gres­sional Democrats that con­tra­cep­tion should be paid for in health plans. Mr. Lim­baugh, on his ra­dio pro­grams, sug­gested Ms. Fluke wanted to be paid to have sex, which made her a “slut” and a “pros­ti­tute.” In re­turn for the money, he said Ms. Fluke should post videos of her­self hav­ing sex. Un­der sharp crit­i­cism, Mr. Lim­baugh later apol­o­gized.

In one of the anti-lim­baugh ads, lis­ten­ers are urged to call the lo­cal sta­tion that car­ries Mr. Lim­baugh to say “we don’t talk to women like that” in our city.

Ad time was pur­chased in Bos­ton; Chicago; Detroit; Seat­tle; Mil­wau­kee; St. Louis; Ma­con, Ga.; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The cities were se­lected to sup­port ac­tive lo­cal cam­paigns against Mr. Lim­baugh or be­cause of per­cep­tions that Mr. Lim­baugh may be vul­ner­a­ble in that mar­ket, said An­gelo Caru­sone of Me­dia Mat­ters.

“What we’re re­ally look­ing for is a way to demon­strate the per­sis­tence of the ef­fort and the fact that it is on a wide scale,” Mr. Caru­sone said.

A spokes­woman for Pre­miere Ra­dio Net­works, which syn­di­cates Mr. Lim­baugh’s show to nearly 600 ra­dio sta­tions na­tion­ally, said Me­dia Mat­ters has gone be­yond crit­i­cism of Mr. Lim­baugh’s words to an at­tempt to si­lence him and in­tim­i­date ad­ver­tis­ers.

“This is not about women,” said Rachel Nel­son, Pre­miere’s spokes­woman. “It’s not about ethics and it’s not about the na­ture of our public dis­course. It’s a di­rect at­tack on Amer­ica’s guar­an­teed First Amend­ment right to free speech. It’s es­sen­tially a call for cen­sor­ship mas­querad­ing as high-minded in­dig­na­tion.”

Mr. Lim­baugh, on his ra­dio show Wed­nes­day, said he is be­ing tar­geted in an at­tack that was long-planned — not men­tion­ing it was his words that lit the fuse.

“They’re not even re­ally of­fended by what hap­pened,” he said. “This is just an op­por­tu­nity to ex­e­cute a plan they’ve had in their drawer since 2009.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rush Lim­baugh’s com­ments about a Ge­orge­town law stu­dent’s sex life were the spur for a ra­dio ad cam­paign chal­lenged as an at­tack on free speech.

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