Here’s why Rush survived pressure on advertisers while O’Reilly didn’t
Posted by William A. Jacobson
Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 9:50pm
- Conduct (O’Reilly) versus Words (Limbaugh)
Conduct was at issue with O’Reilly. Multiple alleged instances over a long period of time involving demands for sexual favors in return for career advancement (or threats to damage careers) simply is more abhorrent than saying mean things to someone who testified on Capitol Hill about a political issue. Though O’Reilly never was proven to have engaged in the conduct, the notion of multiple high figure settlements worked against any presumption of innocence, even though lawsuits are settled all the time even if the accusations are not true. That O’Reilly never publicly and forcefully defended himself created the impression that there was a there there.
3. Centralized (O’Reilly) versus Dispersed Advertising (Limbaugh)
There was a relatively small stable of advertisers on O’Reilly, since it was just a one hour show on a single network. The advertiser base presented a relatively well defined target. With Limbaugh, by contrast, he was on hundreds of local radio stations, and a high percentage of the advertising was local. So the anti-Limbaugh forces had thousands of advertisers to deal with, from national brands to the local tire store. While Limbaugh’s national advertisers were targeted, they were less of a factor than the attacks on O’Reilly advertisers.
I think #3 was a big factor. With O’R the attackers could focus very narrowly. Rush’s business model - how he sells his show - makes for there being thousands of sponsors of his show. And makes sponsors part of his revenue, not all of it.