Supporting Free Speech | Rush Limbaugh and His Advertisers

I just read one of my email newsletters, talking about how both Polycom and Citrix have decided to pull their advertising on the Rush Limbaugh radio show. I believe in both cases, the companies were running ads "as part of their overall strategy" as opposed to specifically on the Rush Limbaugh show - but radio is strange, because buying nationally for radio is an art (with a bit of science sprinkled in there).

Now, this all starts and ends the recent furor created by the Mr. Limbaugh's diatribe aimed at a Georgetown University law student, during which he called her a "slut" and a "prostitute." Now, regardless of how anyone feels about those comments - most people in this country support his right to say whatever he feels is necessary. This is one of the primary tenants of our American society and democracy - Free Speech. And for his target audience, they applaud and cheer his more controversial comments - they love it. And those that don't care for his message, if he said "Good Morning" to them, they'd find fault with it. Personally, I don't listen, and don't care about his opinion - but I support his right to take to the air waves and espouse it.

Now, for Polycom and Citrix, it's a bit different. They are caught between the proverbial rock and hard spot. These are commercial entities, not people. They sell products and services into the market across a wide variety of "companies and people". And they as such, they have to remain a bit more neutral with regard to social issues, because issue may be black and white, but their customer's viewpoints are a bit more "shades of grey". Now I support their move to eliminate support for Rush Limbaugh's radio program - because at the end of the day, it is their marketing budget to spend wherever they feel it does the most good.

So, for Rush Limbaugh, there are have been consequences - he lost a few advertisers (I'm sure he's OK with that). For Citrix and Polycome (and probably others), they are choosing to spend their advertising in some other place.

But what gets me going - and while I support Free Speech and Free Enterprise, I have a real problem with the people that get all upset with companies making a business decision to not support a radio show (which is another company). That is their right, and does not mean they have "cratered" to public opinion. They made a business decision, just as Rush Limbaugh did when he went on his rant. At the end of the day, I support all parties involved...
  • I support Mr. Limbaugh in his right to free speech - whether I agree with it or not
  • I support the decisions made by Citrix and Poloycom to spend their marketing dollars where they believe they will do the most good
  • I support those misguided individuals in their ability to comment on all the above.
  • And of course, I support my own rights to agree or disagree with all the above.
That's the beauty of living in this country - we can agree, disagree and debate - but we should also support those that have differing views. Because it's a very slippery slope when we want to censor someone, or something. Because it's always hard to determine where we will stop.

For more info, here's some reading on Facebook...
  • see the Citrix post (and the hundreds of responses)
  • see the Polycom post (and its responses)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3/14/2012

    Law student, eh? Started thinking about that future job yet? May I make a suggestion? Check out JD Match in between the papers and exams. I work with JD Match and it’s a great step for any law student looking for an AmLaw firm job and a little weight off their shoulders.


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