Via the Daily Caller: On Saturday, Carbonite CEO David Friend released a statement on his company’s website declaring that Carbonite had decided to “withdraw” advertising from Rush Limbaugh’s radio show in the wake of his controversial remarks involving Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke because it will “ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse”:
Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.
However, it hasn’t done much to contribute to his company’s stock price. Since the market opened on Monday through its close today, Carbonite stock (NASDAQ:CARB) has plummeted nearly 12 percent, outpacing the drop of the NASDAQ index in that same time period by nine-and-a-half points. It was also one of the biggest decliners on the NASDAQ on Tuesday.
Tina Korbe comments:
It’s hard to think Carbonite CEO David Friend’s smug retraction of support for Limbaugh had nothing to do with his stock’s downward trend, though. Consider, for example, that conservative pundits have made a point to call Friend out by name for his decision to pull advertising and to continue to criticize Limbaugh even after he apologized. Why single Friend out from among the dozens of advertisers to reject Rush? For one thing, Friendcontinues to support with his advertising dollars Ed Schultz and Howard Stern — two men who’ve been known to use their fair share of foul and derogatory language. That makes Friend’s reason to leave Limbaugh — which was, I remind you, to “contribute to a more civilized public discourse” — a little suspect.
As far as this half of the controversy goes, I’m really not outraged. Rush had the right to say what he said — however tasteless and stupid it was to say it — and advertisers have the right to take their dollars elsewhere. Trouble for those advertisers is that consumers have that right, too.
Limbaugh explained how his radio advertising works and dispelled what he called “misinformation about his sponsors” on his show, explaining that the “lost sponsors” are actually local advertisers who simply requested that their commercials not run during Rush’s show:
Two of the sponsors who have canceled have asked to return. We are being very careful about that. Not gonna give you any names here. One of them is practically begging to come back. Everything is fine on the business side. Everything’s cool. There is not a thing to worry about. What you’re seeing on television about this program and sponsors and advertisers is just incorrect. And let me try to explain how this works. Let’s take the claim that we’ve lost 28 sponsors. Sponsors on this program are both local and national. We deal with the national sponsors on this program. We have 600-plus stations. They sell their own commercials. We don’t have anything to do with those sponsors. We don’t get paid by those sponsors. We have no idea who those sponsors are.
Let’s make up a company, ABC Widget Company. And let’s say that ABC Widget Company says, “We are no longer going to appear on the Rush Limbaugh Show.” Well, ABC Widget Company isn’t on the Rush Limbaugh Show. What happens is, advertising agencies order advertising buys on a series of local stations from market to market to market. A controversy like this erupts. They put out a notice to the stations, “By the way, for the time being we don’t want our commercials run when Limbaugh is on.” But they are not canceling their advertising on the station. They’re just saying they don’t want it running on my program during the local affiliate’s commercial time, not ours.
So this 28 or 32 — and I don’t even know if that number’s accurate, numbers are coming from Media Matters. There’s no way anybody could know this, but I’m gonna put it in further perspective in just a second. What it means is there have been — let’s use the number 28 — 28 advertisers who none of us are aware are even advertising on our local stations who had sent out orders that their commercials are not to run on my program. But that is not revenue to us. They are not our sponsors. They are not even canceling their advertising on the local station. They’re just saying for the time being they don’t want it run from noon to three. And let me tell you, this happens every day. It’s been happening for 23-plus years. And it’s not just to me. There are clients, advertisers, that tell stations, “I don’t want this to run in Beck’s show. I don’t want it to run in Hannity’s. I don’t want it to run in Howard Stern’s.” It’s all part of the business.
But because there’s a focal point on this in trying to dispirit you and trying to present a picture of this program that doesn’t exist and that’s untrue, they’re trying to make it sound like this is unprecedented — that it’s never happened before, it’s at an all-time high — and it simply isn’t the case. We have not lost 28 national sponsors. There are not 28 advertisers who were paying us who aren’t anymore. They are local commercial buys. Many of them may not even be running in my show to begin with. The advertisers are just saying, “If they are, pull ‘em. We don’t want ‘em in there for now,” but they’re staying on the local stations. These advertisers are not abandoning EIB affiliates.
Nobody is losing money here, including us, in all this. And that is key for you to understand. They are not canceling the business on our stations. They’re just saying they don’t want their spots to appear in my show. We don’t get any revenue from ‘em anyway. The whole effort is to dispirit you. It’s to make you think the left is being successful in its campaign when it isn’t. In fact, the left is so fed up, they can’t see straight. They thought they had me. They thought I would be off the air by now. They can’t understand why I still am on the air. There is also another rumor going around that I am going to be suspended for a week. It is utter BS.
I would have to suspend myself!
Now, let me put this in further perspective for you, this number of 28 or 32, and then we’re gonna move on to other things. Sponsors of our program are both nationwide companies, like Two If By Tea (my tea company), and local companies, like “Mike’s Auto Body Repair” or a local bank. If we added up all of our affiliates (let’s choose the number 600) and we assumed that each of those affiliates had 30 such sponsors in the course of our three-hour program, there might be — all across this country — as many as 18,000 different sponsors of this program. Let me put it another way: There might be 18,000 different people buying advertising within this program alone.
That is a conservative number: 600 stations, 18 commercial minutes an hour. We take whatever we take to sell ourselves and the local station keeps the rest. They have local advertisers. You add up all those over the course of 600 stations, over three hours a day, five days a week, and we’re talking 18,000 different sponsors, okay? ABC News, who understands how this works and are purposely misrepresenting it, is out there ballyhooing that we have lost 28 sponsors. Twenty-eight sponsors out of 18,000! That’s like losing a couple of french fries in the container when it’s delivered to you at the drive-thru. You don’t even notice it. If we lose 28 of those sponsors, the majority of them being in one city or another out of 18 thousand, it’s a sad occurrence.
But, folks, I would venture to say that this happens every day anyway in the course of doing business. Advertisers come and go. New businesses start up; they start advertising. Some businesses go under, they stop their advertising. None of what’s happening is out of the ordinary. It’s just part of an onslaught to try to convince you that this show’s history and our days are numbered. And I’m happy to tell you nothing could be further from the truth. The point is we have tens of thousands of companies who advertise in this program. We’re appreciative of all of them. The vast majority, we don’t even know. They are local sponsors.
As I say, we’re going to be debuting three (and maybe more) new sponsors in the coming days and weeks. And I’m sure that our affiliate stations are going to be replacing advertisers with new ones. It’s the cycle. Nothing stays the same. It’s all dynamic; nothing is static. All you need to know is there are no losses. There is only growth. There are only gains; we’re moving forward. There is good in everything that happens. You look for it, you find it, you build on it, and you expand it. They have not taken this program out. They have not taken me out. They’re the ones who are frustrated. They’re the ones who are angry. They’re the ones who are gonna be blowing gaskets in the next couple of weeks. I hope I’ve made this clear.
It’s such inside baseball stuff, but 28 sponsors — 32, whatever number they’re using — that have been lost, are not direct advertisers here. And they may not even be advertising within my three hours on the stations they’re running. It’s impossible to know. Now, you might say, “Well, whatever it is, these people are putting out statements.” Yes, they’re putting out statements because they’re hoping to make political gains — and it’s gonna backfire. You can look at the stock price of some of these companies. I’m not gonna say any more, but it’s going to backfire. So you have a bank say (pompously), “We are announcing today that none of our commercials will ever again run on the Rush Limbaugh Show.” They’re not a sponsor of ours, folks. They may buy sponsorships on 10 or 15 of our affiliates around country, but they’re not sure they’re being inserted in my three hours; they want to make sure they’re not. They’ll run elsewhere on the station.