Did Slut Comments Actually Win Rush a Sponsor?S

Rush Limbaugh has been losing a lot of sponsors since his claim that a lady who uses birth control must be a slut and a prostitute, but one company might actually be joining with Limbaugh as a result of the debacle. America, meet Life Quotes, Inc.

According to its website, Life Quotes is an "online consumer insurance information service" that "provides access to comparative quotes for auto, life, health and business insurance quotes so that busy consumers and business owners can save time and money." It apparently first showed up on the list of Limbaugh sponsors posted by Reddit user Jaybercrow last week — as of the weekend, the Huffington Post counted it among nine remaining sponsors on the list. But Life Quotes says it hasn't advertised on Limbaugh in some time — a spokesperson told the Charlotte Observer, "We have not advertised on Rush Limbaugh's radio program in over five years." And when a reader wrote to Life Quotes, its CEO offered a pretty choice reply. Here's the reader's message:

Please remove your ads from the Rush Limbaugh show or I will contact the providers you aggregate leads for (Lincoln, Fidelity, etc) and tell them that I will not support THEM because of your refusal to do so.

Bland wrote back,

Thanks for the threat. You are free to write any of our partner companies you wish. We've not advertised on Rush since 2007 and, as an independent agent, make our ad decisions based upon audience size and household income, not politics. Moreover, Rush has apologized for his poor choice of words twice, in public, over the last few days.

Let's test you're the genuineness of your radio outrage: how many times have you written a rapper over the past year for writing and signing lyrics that espouse the treatment of women as if they were animals to be raped and then slaughtered?

If he's getting shit for ads he never ran, Bland certainly has a right to be annoyed. But the rap comment is a little beside the point. In another reply, he made a similar one. A second reader wrote to Life Quotes,

Wow, either way you look at it, the fact that you are still supporting Rush Limbaugh by advertising on his show is pretty disgusting. You may think this is a quick way to make a buck. Lot's of people are listening to hear what he says next and your name is all over the media right? Yeah, we may know your name now, but we think you are as disgusting as he is. Women have money to spend and memories like elephants. You may think this will blow over, but I will always remember if you choose to continue to advertise with Rush.

Bland responded point-by-point:

"Wow, either way you look at it, the fact that you are still supporting Rush Limbaugh by advertising on his show"
False and inaccurate statement on its face. Have not advertised since 2007, but I did call my Rush rep tonight to ask her about going back on as our orders are up sharply here in last 4 days.

"You may think this is a quick way to make a buck."
My business requires millions of dollars to get started and keep going. It's an enormous cash drain and has taken me 28 years to get where we are at. There is no quick buck and your statement shows total ignorance of business.

"People are listening to hear what he says next and your name is all over the media right?"
Yes, but in a positive way - same way for 28 years.

"Women have money to spend and memories like elephants."
OK.

"You may think this will blow over, but I will always remember if you choose to continue to advertise with Rush."
I haven't been advertising on Rush, you've never heard our spots and so your premise is faulty.

Hey, speaking of calling a woman a sl*t, remember just a few short months ago when liberal Ed Shultz called Laura Ingraham that very same name? Can you live with the explanation that Rush was trying to keep up with the Joneses?

The Ed Schultz comparison is a little more apropos than the one about rappers (although for what it's worth, Schultz says his apology was better than Limbaugh's). Still, what we're really interested in here — beyond Bland's surprising interest in debating with his detractors — is whether he's actually going to renew his ad contract in the wake of slut-gate. And if so, is that an endorsement of calling women sluts, or just an admission that Rush is no worse than the average rapper? When I contacted Bland to ask him, he confirmed that Life Quotes hadn't advertised on the show since 2007, when they were known as Insure.com. He said, "as a former advertiser, I don't condone Rush's use of words and wish, at the same time, that the affected coed, a seasoned Democratic operative, would accept his apology because I believe the nation has more important stresses to worry about." He added,

As a result of this boycott effort, we've received maybe 200 e-mails, 90 percent of which are form letters and perhaps 18 hand-written notes. We've also experienced hundreds of phone calls, but those have quickly died down now that the media is reporting what Bill Maher and Ed Shultz have said about women in recent years.

It's for this reason that I did contact Rush's sales staff yesterday and ask for fresh rates. His huge, responsive audience is a marketer's dream come true and my first obligation is to my customers and then the 150 employees and agents' families who depend upon me to make sound decisions. I'd not hesitate to go back on Rush over his poor choice of words because I believe that everybody who talks a lot is capable of making mistakes and because the young lady in question is a highly experienced Democratic operative fully capable of handling and exploiting this. Before last Thursday she could not have garnered a speaking fee, not I suspect she will be able to as "Rush's victim" so my personal take on this is that she's benefited from Rush's gaffs. [...]

My wife and I have 7 young children at home and we wish that all rappers, TV producers and radio personalities in the public eye would be more careful about what they say.