- Reuters/Micah Walter
Media Matters, the liberal watchdog group partially funded by billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros, says it will spend at least $100,000 to run ads in eight cities against conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
The group says its goal is to highlight Limbaugh calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" after she made an informal appearance before a group of Democratic lawmakers in defense of President Obama's contraceptive mandate.
Fluke lobbied on behalf of Obama's mandate for employers and their insurance companies to provide contraception and early abortion pills to women free of charge.
The ads are seemingly designed to force Limbaugh off the air by targeting his advertisers. One of the ads urges listeners to tell stations that carry Limbaugh's program that "we don't talk to women like that," according to The Associated Press.
David Brock, president of Media Matters and the author of The Fox Effect, has apparently made attacking Limbaugh and his advertisers a high priority.
"At Media Matters for America, we have monitored 'The Rush Limbaugh Show' every day since our founding in 2004," wrote Brock in a March 20 op-ed in Politico. "There is no example we can recall in which Limbaugh, or any other media figure, levied attacks of the tone and duration of those levied against Fluke."
However, Brent Bozell of Media Research Group has challenged Media Matters and others by arguing that liberal groups do not hold entertainers such as Bill Maher to the same standard when he referred to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin by derogatory words.
Interestingly, Maher has called upon liberals to accept Limbaugh's apology, saying it makes them look bad by not doing so.
On his Wednesday radio show, Limbaugh fired back at the group's efforts to silence him. "Media Matters and the Democrat National Committee and the Democrat Party are exposing themselves," Limbaugh said. "This is an unintended consequence. They're exposing that their Astroturf campaigns are not grassroots at all.... They are totally professionally created and executed Democrat Party opposition research-type attacks. And they have nothing to do with consumers."
Nevertheless, Brock defended the attacks on Limbaugh.
"We are not a government entity attempting to stifle Limbaugh's speech. Instead, we are using our right of free assembly to join together and raise our voices against Limbaugh. We are, in fact, engaging in the marketplace of ideas, one in which people, examining all of the facts, can choose whether it is in their financial interest to support hate radio," he said.