I have been suspicious of the hype regarding the Rush boycott and the numbers of advertisers dropping Rush touted by Media Matters and others.  The numbers seem inflated for the purpose of creating momentum, as many of the advertisers being listed as “dropping” Rush never even advertised with him.

Of particular note was a list of 98 advertisers obtained by Media Matters which allegedly had instructed Premiere Newtorks to avoid Rush and several other high-profile conservative talk show programs.  That listed included American Express.

I reached out to Amex before my post yesterday about how certain advertisers were avoiding conservative talk radio but not Gawker.  Amex never responded to my request, but did respond to a reader complaint resulting from my post.

I followed up with the public relations person at Amex who had communicated with the reader, and she confirmed both that Amex never instructed Permiere Networks to avoid running Amex ads on conservative talk radio, and that Amex has “no position” on the Limbaugh boycott.

Here is the exchange of emails:

From me:

I run a politics and law blog and have been following the Rush Limbaugh advertiser boycott story. I posted the other day about the inclusion of American Express on a list of advertisers who have instructed Premiere Networks not to run Amex ads on the Rush Limbaugh show and the shows of several other conservative talk radio hosts.

I previously contacted Amex for confirmation of its policy, but received no response. I was hoping that you could explain Amex’s position on the following: (1) Did Amex instruct Premiere Networks not to run Amex ads on the shows of several conservative talk radio hosts as outlined in this memo? (2) What is Amex’s position as to Amex ads being run on the Rush Limbaugh show?

I would appreciate your prompt response so that I can update my readers.

Amex Response:

Thank you for your note, and I apologize because your previous email did not make its way to me, but I appreciate you reaching out again. I want to clarify that at no time did American Express or our media buying agencies send a letter to Premiere Radio Networks or its parent company, Clear Channel Communications, providing any direction concerning adverting placements, and specifically related to conservative radio programming. Since we were alerted to this situation yesterday, we have reached out to our media partners to correct any miscommunication and reconfirm that that they are not limiting the placement of our advertisements.

My follow up:

Thank you. What is Amex’s position as to advertising specifically on the Limbaugh show?

Amex’s further response:

We do not have a position on the Limbaugh Show.

If Amex denies being part of either a conservative radio or Limbaugh boycott, one has to question the validity of many of the lists being created of boycotters.

A lot of what is going on is hype by Media Matters and others to make the boycott seem worse than it is to inspire continued efforts.  That’s not to say that the boycott has not had an effect, it’s just don’t believe all the numbers being thrown around.

(Note, Ford confirmed to another reader its boycott of Limbaugh)

Related:  The real threat to conservative talk radio is not what you think