Saturday, May 5, 2012

Media Matters, NOW unite to force Limbaugh off the air

“Start listening to Rush Limbaugh.” That was the message representatives from Media Matters for America and the National Organization for Women delivered to NOW chapter leaders in a secret, narrowly focused strategy session Wednesday night.

In audio of the NOW/MMFA strategy webinar obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller, the liberal organizations plotted the best ways to get the radio giant and veritable burr in their collective saddles off the air.

Go after the local advertisers

The key, according to Media Matters online outreach director Jay Carmona, is to target Limbaugh at the local level — specifically advertisers in local radio markets — but with an eye on his national sponsors.

“I will say, just going by the numbers, getting local stations to drop Limbaugh is actually a hard, more long-term campaign than just looking at getting local sponsors to drop,” she explained, adding that they do not need to get the conservative talker off every local station to make an impact.

The catch, however, is that women who are active with NOW and the men who support them — whom Limbaugh often needles as the NAGs (National Association of Gals) and the “new castrati” — are actually going to have to listen to his radio show in order to identify and target those local advertisers.

“The first thing you want to do is, I say, start listening to Rush Limbaugh,” Carmona advised.

"I know this is a really big thing to ask. It’s really difficult, but he is online from noon Eastern to 3 o’clock every weekday, although your local station may air at a different time,” she said, advising listeners to take notes, and then track and contact advertisers that broadcast during Limbaugh’s show.

Carmona recommended that Limbaugh’s opponents should contact the businesses privately — just in case the advertisement was a mistake — and to open lines of communication for potential negotiations.

She added that the only way they can know for sure if a company continues to buy ads on Limbaugh’s show is to “keep listening.”

Listening to Rush taxes their mental health

NOW and Media Matters have a support structure to keep morale up in the face of Limbaugh’s conservatism.

“If you listen as a group it is actually really empowering. So I know folks who are live chatting ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ on Facebook every day,” Carmona told call participants.

“Just make sure that you take some time to talk about why certain things he says are wrong or messed up with your group, and that can actually be super, super empowering to do that,” she continued.

“And that way, also, when somebody asks, ‘Do you even listen to Rush Limbaugh?’ which happens, you’ll be able to say, ‘Yes, do you want to know what he said today?’”

It’s wise, Carmona added, to take mental health breaks from the show.

“Make sure that you also, just in general — if something is freaking you out and you are feeling really bad listening to Rush Limbaugh — take a break. Give yourself the time and the space that you need to listen to the stuff because it can be difficult at times,” she said.

The strategy session focused on NOW chapters’ ability to focus on local advertisers, who buy time from broadcast affiliates rather than from Limbaugh’s carrier, Clear Channel, because “most local station affiliates make the bulk of their profit off of these local advertising dollars, so targeting your local advertisers really is how you get those local stations to drop Rush. And that is what you’re aiming for.”

Call participants also heard that targeting national advertisers can also be effective, but that the result won’t impact the local stations as much as Clear Channel itself.


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