Old wives' tales tell us that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, but new social media activism has led to the same result with The Rush Limbaugh Show. It was a month ago today that El Rushbo began his slut-shaming campaign against Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, a private citizen who had the audacity to testify in a congressional hearing that the free contraceptive coverage included in the Affordable Care Act was critically important to women's health and well-being. The controversial conservative commentator not only called her a slut and a prostitute for her remarks but also demanded that she tape herself having sex and post it online so that he could view it.
Although he's gotten away with other crude comments about women in the past, this one touched a nerve. Women and men began texting, tweeting, and posting on Facebook about boycotting advertisers who supported his show. Thousands of comments appeared on the Facebook pages of Limbaugh advertisers asking them to end their relationship with him. It worked. Dozens dropped within the first week. More followed into weeks number two and three. Those two words -- slut, prostitute -- hurt Limbaugh far more than they ever hurt Fluke. They're words he will probably regret to his dying day as they've led to a reversal of fortune. The madness of King Rush was that he thought he could say them in the first place and come away unscathed.
The story has largely dropped off of nearly everybody's radar now that we've hit week number four, but one group continues to pay attention -- his advertisers. Earlier this week, bathroom and kitchen fixtures manufacturer Kohler severed its relationship with Limbaugh, bringing the total to 141 companies that have departed.
Limbaugh has claimed not to be troubled over this. Yet he surely is aware of two additional threats to his supremacy in the world of talk radio: 1) the Media Matters campaign targeting stations that air his show and 2) the launch of a new conservative radio talk show hosted by former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. The new show titled Huckabee debuts April 9 and its tagline is "more conversation, less confrontation."
Rush isn't going away anytime soon. But he's definitely weakened his brand with this latest salvo in his personal war on women. While many have called him "too big to fail," they once said that about the Titanic...and we're coming up on the 100th anniversary of that epic failure. At least when Rush finally goes down, the only person he'll be sinking is himself.