Update 1:35 p.m. Sacramento-based Sleep Train has announced that it's pullings its ads from Rush Limbaugh's radio program because of derogatory comments he made about a Georgetown student who was denied a chance to testify at a congressional hearing on the controversy over a federal rule mandating insurance coverage for contraception. Here's the tweet from the company:
We don't condone negative comments directed toward any group. In response, we are currently pulling our ads from Rushwith Rush Limbaugh.
— Sleep Train Mattress (@theSleepTrain) March 2, 2012
Quicken Loans has also announced it's pulling its advertising.
Due to continued inflammatory comments– along w/valuable feedback from clients & team members– QL has suspended ads on Rush Limbaugh program
— Quicken Loans (@quickenloans) March 2, 2012
And so has Sleep Number:
Recent comments by Rush Limbaugh do not align w/our values, so we made decision to immediately suspend all advertising on that program.
— Sleep Number Sara (@SleepNumberSara) March 2, 2012
And check out the copious form tweets that ProFlowers, another Limbaugh advertiser, are sending out in response to the controversy.
Update 8:39 p.m. Here's the transcript of Limbaugh talking about the brouhaha on his show today. This was before the sponsors dropped out, so he doesn't address that development.
Yesterday, San Francisco and Peninsula congresswoman Jackie Speier tore into Limbaugh on the House floor for the on-air remarks, which he made about Sandra Fluke, whom House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa wouldn't let testify at his hearing on the Obama administration’s contraception rule. That change in regulations was controversial among religious leaders because it requires the insurance companies of religiously affiliated institutions to provide coverage for birth control. Today, Fluke went on "The Today Show" to talk about Limbaugh's remarks and the contraception issue (video here), and President Obama called her to express his support. Speier, in her remarks, also called for public pressure on Limbaugh's sponsors, which is just what has occurred, apparently.
Here are the Limbaugh remarks, from Think Progress:
What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex. What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.
To appreciate these comments in all their eloquent glory, you can listen here:
The next day, Limbaugh analyzed the situation further:
"So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”
Here's what Rep. Speier said yesterday in front of House colleagues:
I rise this morning to say to Rush Limbaugh, shame on you. Shame on you for being the hate-monger that you are; shame on your for being misogynistic. Shame on you for calling the women of this country sluts and prostitutes... Ninety-eight percent of the women in this country at some time in their lives used birth control...
So I say to the women in this country, do something about this. I say to the women of this country, ask Century 21, Quicken Loans, Legal Zoom, and Sleep Number to stop supporting the hate-mongering of Rush Limbaugh and if they do not do that, then I ask them to boycott those companies.
Here's another take, from local journo Josh Richman, who thinks too much is being made of all this...
I don’t understand all the hubbub over Rush Limbaugh this week...
Even former California U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina – no liberal, to be sure – called Limbaugh’s words “insulting,” “incendiary,” and “a distraction from what are very real and important issues.”
But who can be distracted by someone so blatantly oafish? That’s like saying, “Sorry, I can’t concentrate on the economy right now, I’m too distracted by this episode of ‘The Three Stooges...’”
The outrage implies Limbaugh is some sort of influential role model, someone listeners should look to for wisdom. But Rush Limbaugh is not a statesman; he’s an entertainer, as much a “shock jock” as all those morning-show derelicts who fill their airtime with off-color jokes, prank calls and Beavis-and-Butthead-style giggling. He’s a radio clown. Full post
Richman also points out that Limbaugh's ratings are down, so "there should be no surprise that his stunts sink lower and lower in desperate attempts to have people tune in..."