Basking in the glow of a Republican sweep of Congress, Rush Limbaugh has stepped-up his attacks on groups and individuals who do not espouse his personal sexist, racist, classist and homophobic view of the world.
Along with favorite targets like NOW and the American Civil Liberties Union, Limbaugh recently launched a major attack on views expressed by Children's Defense Fund President Marian Wright Edleman about the devastating poverty and malnutrition faced by millions of children in the United States. The Children's Defense Fund is an advocacy group struggling to improve living conditions of children who, along with women, represent a majority of the nearly 40 million living in poverty in this country.
NOW has stepped up efforts to contact major advertisers who support Limbaugh's radio and television talk shows. Activists across the country are monitoring his programs and writing to advertisers, some of whom swear they did not know their advertising dollars were being spent on Limbaugh's programs.
To cut advertising costs, companies often buy "rotating" spots, which means they buy certain time periods as opposed to specific programs. By allowing stations flexibility in where commercials are placed, the station can in-turn offer lower rates to the companies placing the advertisements.
Kinko's and Sears have responded to letters from NOW activists by saying they did not realize their ads were running on Limbaugh's programs. While they may not have known where their advertisements would be placed before-hand, that does not let them off the hook.
Fearing loss of revenue, companies like Kinko's and Sears have the option to either buy specific programs, or demand that stations remove Limbaugh from the "rotating" spot schedule.
Without major advertising support, Limbaugh would be forced to either call on his radical right supporters to fund his programs, or remove himself from the airwaves.
NOW activists who have called the stations directly, to demand equal time for feminist view points, are also calling the NOW Action Center. The dramatic increase in the number of calls indicates the campaign is cranking into high gear.
There has also been an increase in the number of "Flush Rush" petitions sent to the national office. The petitions are being forwarded to the Federal Communications Commission, in a drive to bring back the fairness doctrine.
Abolished during the Reagan Administration, the fairness doctrine mandates equal time for opposing views. Under the fairness doctrine, stations that fail to comply could have their broadcast licenses revoked.
While bringing back the fairness doctrine would not necessarily mean an end to Limbaugh's hate-filled rhetoric, it would at least provide time for individuals and groups to counter his bigoted message.
For information on NOW's "Flush Rush" campaign, activists are urged to contact their chapter presidents, state coordinator or the NOW Action Center at 1000 16th Street, N.W., Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20036.