Should Advertisers ‘Rush’ to Flee?

friesApparently Rush Limbaugh is a few fries short of a box.

The conservative radio talk show host has lost more than 40 advertisers (Note: This link has a list of them.) since his diatribe earlier this month.

For those of you who missed it, Limbaugh called a Georgetown law student who testified before Congress in favor of insurance plans covering birth control a “slut” and a “prostitute.” He later apologized, but not before companies began pulling their advertising.

Interestingly, the original show is missing from Limbaugh’s website, although his other shows are there. I’m not the only one who noticed the missing episode.

Students in my media law and ethics class were charged with answering the following question: “Should companies pull their advertising from Rush Limbaugh’s show, following his criticism of Georgetown student Sandra Fluke?

The majority of the class said advertisers should remove themselves from the radio show. However, they acknowledged that the decision was more about principle than actually harming Limbaugh’s pocketbook. The most commonly discussed article was from the LA Times where Limbaugh equated the lost advertisers to “losing a couple of French Fries.”

Limbaugh also refused to allow the return of one long-term advertiser who quit the show immediately following his remarks.

Let’s Talk Nerdy!

What do you think? Should companies pull their advertising from Limbaugh’s show? Is the loss of advertising really as noteworthy as media make it seem?

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above (typically those to books) may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I promise that I only recommend products or services I use personally and think will provide you value. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Rush has apologized. If someone on the left does ANYTHING half as bad it goes un-reported. His advertisers will return. Let's be fair. AND, isn't it ironic that the woman in question was a White House plant AND activist. Doesn't excuse the name-calling, but her agenda was FAR from up-front or close to honest!


Putting your ads in the breaks between a TV or radio show implies an alignment between the advertiser's principles and those of the television show. It's not hard and fast, but this is particularly true for media outlets with political bents. Rush says a lot of things, and some people advertize with him just to pick up on the size of his audience. But placing your ad during Rush's show essentially says "I am okay with a consumer associating my product/brand with the things that are said on this show."


If you pull your ads, you are saying, "I am no longer comfortable associating my brand/product with what's said on this show." However, what is odd about this whole situation is that Rush has been saying similar things for years, and it is only now that this firestorm has come to light. I would be interested to see a list of advertisers over the years compared to some of the worse things Rush has said at the same time to see if any pattern emerges.