Here’s the latest indication many sponsors consider him to radioactive: Clear Channel’s Premiere Networks, which syndicates Rush Limbaugh, told stations yesterday that it has suspended its national ads on his show for two weeks, according to industry trade site Radio-Info.com. “Please replace/re-traffic any Premiere barter spots immediately,” the memo says. “Contractual requirements to run barter spots are being suspended for these two weeks only. Replace them with Lifelock and Lear Financial or a local spot of your choice.” About 140 advertisers have publicly said that they don’t want to be on Limbaugh’s show according to a tally being kept by the politically progressive group Think Progress. The latest directive, which Radio-Info characterizes as “unusual,” follows the company’s circulation last week of another memo telling stations that 98 major advertisers asked to be kept off of shows such as Limbaugh’s that are “likely to stir negative sentiment from a very small percentage of the listening public.” The controversy began on February 29 when Limbaugh called Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” after she testified in favor of a mandate requiring employer health plans to cover contraceptives. Limbaugh later apologized. But 53% of likely voters consider his apology to have been insincere according to a Rasmussen Reports telephone poll of 1,000 people conducted Sunday and yesterday. Some 29% say that he was sincere, and 18% are undecided.
Limbaugh didn’t broadcast on Monday but said today on his show that the controversy has backlashed on Democrats who “thought I was finished.” He says that President Obama “lost ground with women. I can’t begin to tell you the dismay and the shock and probably panic that exists in the White House and in the salons of the elites of the Democratic Party over this. They didn’t even consider this a possibility. This never entered their mind. This was going to be the end – not just of me, folks … the end of talk radio.”