Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rush Limbaugh and new media

Distasteful as it is to get into the mess created by Rush Limbaugh's slanderous attack on a college student (granting that Limbaugh's not a journalist but there are some basic human ethics involved), it's instructive to follow the role being played by social media in putting pressure on advertisers. Several stories go into detail about it. Bloomberg here; Business Week here; here.

The third link listed may be the most interesting. It's a crowdsourced listing of nothing but messages, in this case under the title "Why Limbaugh Lost the Slut War." The first message is instructive. Containing the errors and inaccurate information we've unfortunately come to expect from such messages and reflecting a conservative bias, it still offers the most cogent argument about Limbaugh's error in a message from "Freedomfighter: "Limbaugh's message control depended on a mass media monopoly that no longer exists. In the bad old days Rush, by carefully screening callers, cutting off anyone who went off message, and being under the radar of his critics who rarely listened to his program (Al Franken's otherwise tedious book on Rush opens hilariously with Franken barely able to endure Rush's long winded self promotion of his stupid neckties) could run his show as he pleased with very little pushback. Only when he ventured into a medium like television, where he wasn't as skilled or where he wasn't the producer (Monday Night Football) did he suffer major humiliations." It cuts to the heart of Limbaugh's current problem: He can't control the message in new media and social media.

I suspect this will become another good case study of media and message.

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