For well over two years, many people have been working online through social media to engage Rush Limbaugh's sponsors and encourage them to drop their sponsorship of Limbaugh's show. Their message is simple: When they sponsor Limbaugh, they sponsor hate.
They've been effective. They listen to the show, they take note of the sponsors, and they reach out and ask them whether they realize they're sponsoring hate radio. They encourage them to drop their sponsorships, but if the sponsor chooses not to, they will choose not to do business with that sponsor.
This is not a project undertaken by just a few people. This is a movement organized on Facebook and Twitter, dedicated to seeing hate radio become a dying breed. They believe that hate radio poisons our politics and creates an atmosphere of extremism.
This has Rush Limbaugh very worried. So worried, in fact, that he has chosen to unleash his hired crisis consultant, Brian Glicklich, on the ordinary people who are dedicated to continuing the effort.
On Tuesday, Glicklich mounted a media blitz against 10 people who are associated with the StopRush effort, and who chose to use pseudonyms online because they saw what happened to those of us who stepped up in the beginning and used our real names. He didn't just smear them. He published their full names, cities of residence, Facebook account names, and some "fun facts" about them.
He then shopped the Rush article to The Blaze, Daily Caller, Fox News' The Five, and more*. The first two helpfully assisted with publishing the information and getting the word out so that these ordinary people could be exposed to the special kind of harassment by Rush followers that was rained down on me and others in the earliest days of the StopRush effort.
Hate speech, you see, is something Rush and his followers value highly, and it is not to be opposed in any way. They fail to understand the nuance of the StopRush effort; that is, that we acknowledge Limbaugh's freedom to spew all the hate he wants over the airwaves, but we are not obligated to patronize the sponsors who pay to keep him there.
No one is saying Limbaugh should be silenced. But that is precisely what Glicklich believes should happen to StopRush volunteers.
Debunking some lies
It stands to reason that Rush and Glicklich would lie about the StopRush effort, which they did.
Here are some facts:
StopRush was and is a grassroots, organic effort which began to combat Rush Limbaugh's hateful attitude toward Sandra Fluke specifically and women in general. I was there at the beginning. I know exactly who did what. They want to give all the credit to Angelo Carusone over at Media Matters, but I'm not inclined to permit that, given that Angelo did virtually nothing with regard to organizing volunteers and getting the movement going. He reserved a Twitter name and that's more or less all he did.
StopRush is not "staffed." Everyone who participates does so as a volunteer. No one is paid, no one makes any money, and there are no "hard core political operatives leading" it. They are ordinary people who want to make a meaningful difference.
It is not harassment to contact sponsors by phone or online and ask them if they're comfortable sponsoring Limbaugh's brand of hate.
StopRush volunteers have been subjected to threats and continue to be subjected to them. One of the reasons they used pseudonyms was to avoid the kind of harassment the early volunteers received. Minimizing those threats is characteristic of the Limbaugh trademark. It falls into the same category of him thinking women are actually saying yes when they say no.
StopRush volunteers are not bots unleashed on sponsors. They're real people. It seems that Rush Limbaugh cannot fathom why a large swath of people would object to his hate talk. That's his failing, not ours.
And now, I just have to quote this one single ridiculous paragraph filled with lies:
In summary, #StopRush is an organized effort by Media Matters for America to widely and indiscriminately distribute lists of targets, and harass and bully them, under cover of anonymity. It is not grassroots, but deployed by extremist activists using deception and automated software to appear bigger and more prevalent than they are.
Oh, don't we just wish Media Matters had been underneath us. We might have had some kind of safety net when we were infiltrated by a right wing con artist with a bent for violence and lunacy, when our email addresses were distributed, when our personal information was posted on SquareSpace websites by anonymous people, when there were anonymous telephone calls on our home phones, and more. But we didn't, and they weren't, nor are they now.
There are actually over 100 separate actions by different groups with many still in process. Some were grassroots, others were petitions created by MoveOn, CREDO, DCCC, DSCC and other organizations.
The StopRush effort is not a top-down endeavor. It is a bottom-up example of organizing around a principle at its very best, on and offline.
It's effective, too. That's why Glicklich is indulging in the politics of personal destruction. If he can't stop them, he'll destroy them. In at least one instance, he's doing his best to see to it that one volunteer loses her job. I'm sure he would count that as victory even as his minions shout that the StopRush effort is run by a bunch of liberal moochers who don't work.
Unfortunately, success isn't much comfort to the people Rush Limbaugh just doxed. He just invited a nation of crazies to rain hell on 10 ordinary people who go to work, come home, and spend some time online fighting for something they believe in.
Who is the tyrant here, again?
It won't work. If anything, it will make these people even more determined to continue their efforts. Limbaugh can use his bully pulpit to whine about how victimized he is, but it's not going to fly with anyone who has more than a brain cell. And if one hair is harmed on the people's heads he and Glicklich doxed, he will be personally responsible. Personally. Responsible.
Maybe that will appeal to his conservative nature.
*WorldNetDaily helpfully published the names and locations of the StopRush volunteers, too.
[Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey]