The website tracks advertisers, is supposed to show how efficient and effective the anti-Rush movement is, and is meant to keep the effort alive. The website provides easy to click on links so that people can send tweets to and contact Rush advertisers easily.
The irony of the website is that the tracking lists show that the boycott has not been very effective so far. The list of all current advertisers (both national and local) has 729 entries. The list of “inactive” advertisers has only 107 entries, and some of those as we’ve discussed before, likely never intended to advertise on Limbaugh (they distinguish between “former” and “inactive”). The list of those “avoiding” has 199, which probably includes companies who never intended to advertise in the first place or have policies against advertising on polical programs.
They are pretty defensive on the home page, perhaps aware that their tactics of going after advertisers rightly are perceived as trying to silence speech they don’t agree with:
Our database contains information about more than 1000 advertisers, gathered by a network of volunteer radio station monitors. Volunteers contact advertisers to inform them that supporting a program which regularly includes offensive and provocative language may negatively impact their brands, their sales, and their corporate image with millions of Americans.
It’s not our goal to silence conservatives or liberals or anyone else. Broadcasters have a right to say what they please. But consumers have a right to speak too, and we are saying to those who offend us, “We’ve had enough of your ad-hominem attacks, enough vitriol, enough dehumanizing language.”
We’re working with sponsors in a free and democratic marketplace, and asking them to think seriously about what their advertising dollars are putting on the public airwaves.
You can’t read through the website, or any of the tweets at #StopRush, and come to any conclusion other than that they want to silence Limbaugh. Whey else would you target 1000 advertisers? Is it really just educational? Of course not.
It’s also ironic that this website launches on the day of a column by Brad Smith in The Wall Street Journal about how these sort of secondary boycotts are damaging the already frayed political fabric (via Jonathan Adler, h/t Instapundit):
It’s becoming hard to know with whom one can do business.
We’ve been told that if you don’t like what Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck says on the radio, you should not only not listen to their shows, you should boycott businesses that advertise on their shows. We are told that if you don’t like the activities of the American Legislative Exchange Council—a nonpartisan nonprofit that provides a meeting ground for conservative state legislators to share ideas—you should boycott companies that support the council. . . .
All these examples are what are called “secondary boycotts”—attempts to influence the actions of the target by exerting pressure on a third party. Secondary boycotts should not be confused with primary boycotts. A decision not to patronize a business that discriminates on the basis of race is an example of a primary boycott. Primary boycotts—used to great effect during the Civil Rights Movement—have a long and often laudatory history.
But secondary boycotts have long been recognized as harmful to civil society. They rend the social fabric by making it difficult for people to simply live their lives.
Activist groups of various political stripes are increasingly urging boycotts of companies not because of the companies’ own behavior, but because of the behavior or speech of those the companies patronize or support. The aim of such boycotts is not to affect corporate behavior as much as it is to create economic pressure on third parties or dry up support for political opponents….
Secondary boycotts may seem like an effective tool for progressive causes, but they also entail substantial risks. The culture of secondary boycotts threatens to balkanize all of civil society along political lines, making it ever more difficult to espouse unpopular or minority views.
You see, that’s how it inevitably ends. It starts with haughty rhetoric about opposing “hate speech,” and it turns into the thing they claim to oppose.
Update 5-4-2012: No coincidence, 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.
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.