PALM BEACH, Fla. – A Washington Post report claiming Rush Limbaugh’s radio show is taking advertising from adultery-promoting websites such as Ashley Madison is an “out-and-out lie,” according to Limbaugh.
“It’s not even close,” the top-rated talk host said today.
The Post’s report, written by Alexandra Petri, states: “It turns out that people who really, truly still enjoy Rush Limbaugh’s show are – how do I put this? – jerks. At least that’s what the new advertisements moving into the vast empty lot of Rush Limbaugh, Inc., implies. … So far, he’s picked up AshleyMadison.com, the site where you go to cheat on your wife, and another website that is explicitly for sugar-daddy matchmaking.”
“There’s only one problem,” said Limbaugh. “We are not running spots or commercials from AshleyMadison.com. In fact, when we find that they are running in our program in local markets, we call the local affiliate and tell them don’t run these ads in our show. We do not sponsor companies that help people cheat on their spouses. And right here it is in the Washington Post claiming that we are. Now the people that run Ashley Madison are out saying they’re willing to advertise on our program … but we have not accepted it. … Nor will we ever accept such advertising because you are not jerks.”
TheWrap is reporting Ashley Madison has offered to fill Limbaugh’s extra ad inventory, since some sponsors have abandoned Limbaugh’s program after he called a Georgetown University law student promoting insurance-covered birth control a “slut” and “prostitute.”
“I’m trying to be the opportunistic entrepreneur that I am,” CEO Noel Biderman told TheWrap. “He’s clearly a controversial figure, one that to date has refused my overtures to advertise on his show.”
On his show this afternoon, Limbaugh directly addressed Post author Petri saying, “You might want to double-check here because you’ve written something that is patently false. It’s an out-and-out lie complete with your b-i-itchy opinion in it, and it is untrue.
“This is a so-called reporter, Alexandra Petri, who simply accepts false information from a site – probably Media Matters, who knows? – that she trusts.”
Limbaugh concluded by mentioning in tongue-in-cheek fashion:
“At one time months ago, we considered taking AshleyMadison.com because we know that Bill Clinton listens to this program. So we know one member of the audience cheats on his spouse. Did so in the Oval Office. And in an attempt to perhaps include everybody, we thought maybe we would help out, but we decided no. We didn’t know anybody else in this audience who cheats on their spouse besides Bill Clinton, so we rejected it. … John Edwards listens! There were two of them. … Ted Kennedy listened to the program. … We have never run ads from either of these two companies, we never will.”
After being flayed on the air by Limbaugh for getting her facts wrong, Petri posted what she calls an apology, though it was laden with sarcasm, as she wrote:
“The whole point of the piece was that the people most eager to be associated with Rush Limbaugh’s show are – well, advertisers seeking jerks. This has not changed. Look, the longer this goes on, the less it sounds like an apology. And it should be. Why apologize to someone who can’t stop after saying something is inaccurate and has to go on and on impugning you? (At first, it was about who would buy an ad. But Rush was less concerned with the ad than the ad hominem.) Well, when I say something that I regret, I apologize, and I don’t have the luxury of doing it under a picture of me smoking a cigar.”
WND reported yesterday that Limbaugh indicated he has brand-new sponsors lined up to advertise on his program, and some who had canceled are now asking to return.
“We have three brand-new sponsors that will be starting in the next two weeks,” Limbaugh said. “Two of the sponsors who have canceled have asked to return. We are being very careful about that. I’m not gonna give you any names here. One of them is practically begging to come back.”
There have been reports among some news agencies that at least 40 advertisers have abandoned Limbaugh’s top-rated program since the controversy involving Sandra Fluke’s birth-control push erupted last week, but Limbaugh said those news outlets are not being honest.
“Because they lie, and because they don’t understand how it works,” he said. “Everything is fine on the business side. Everything is cool. There is not a thing to worry about. Whatever you’re seeing on television about this program and sponsors and advertisers is just incorrect.”
Limbaugh explained that sponsors on his program are both local and national.
“We deal with the national sponsors on this program,” he said. “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.”
Some of the national sponsors that previously announced their departure include AOL, ProFlowers, Quicken Loans, mattress retailers Sleep Train and Sleep Number, software maker Citrix Systems, data-backup service provider Carbonite and online legal document services company LegalZoom.