Don’t listen to the headlines—Rush Limbaugh’s talk radio supremacy ain’t over just yet. But it’s long been clear that his glory days are behind him. John Avlon on the final days of toxic right-wing talk.
Fox News presented an hour-long Rush Limbaugh infomercial on Greta Van Susteren’s show Tuesday night, allowing the embattled talk radio giant to offer up uncontested howlers like this: “I get more grief than the al Qaeda gets.” And this: “I don’t see any pushback [by the GOP] against anything Obama wants to do [by the GOP].” And finally this: “I can’t remember a time when it’s been more partisan, more divisive and getting worse—and being done on purpose.”
Radio talk show host and conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh. (Bill Pugliano/Getty)
While Greta also found time to ask Rush’s opinion about the Zimmerman verdict (he pronounced it “uplifting”), no questions were asked about the big story that has Limbaugh in limbo: a Sunday night report by Dylan Byers at Politico that suggested Rush and his right-wing talk colleague Sean Hannity are on the verge of being dropped by Cumulus radio.
The report follows months of complaints by Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey about the impact of an advertiser boycott of Rush enacted after he called birth-control advocate Sandra Fluke a “slut” back in early 2012—a drought that has resulted in some $2.4 million in associated losses over the first quarter of 2013 alone as The Daily Beast reported in May. Combine those losses with the high cost of running Rush—his last contract, an eight-year inked in 2008, had a $400 million price tag—and an aging fan base of white men and at best you’ve got a recipe for renegotiations. At worst: ejection.