Clear Channel Networks Group and iHeartRadio President Darren Davis said this week that social media attacks on conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh have come mostly from a small but dedicated group of activists.
“[A] huge focus for me is to have Rush be appreciated for what he truly is," Davis said in an interview this week.
The radio boss, whose company carries the Limbaugh program, said that his team investigated numerous campaigns aimed at removing the conservative radio host from the air and found that a very small group was responsible for a majority of the complaints.
"He has been unfairly painted negatively as a mean conservative, but the truth is that he’s a champion of American business and someone who creates jobs. When he talks about a business on-air, that business thrives — and jobs are created,” Davis said.
"The big story – and what we have learned – is that virtually all the negativity around him over the last two years has stemmed from very small number of people in social media. We have found that 70% of the attacks are coming from just 10 people. Ten people around America – and we know who they are – sit at their computers all day sending out tweets, then use computer technology to amplify them,” he added.
Limbaugh caused a firestorm in 2012 when he referred to professional activist and former Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke as a “slut.”
Fluke had appeared at an event coordinated by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and complained that she had to pay as much as $1,000 per year for contraceptives because the Jesuit-run university would not.
“She wants to be paid to have sex,” he added. “She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception.”
Limbaugh’s remarks, for which he later apologized, were soon condemned by a broad array of pundits and celebrities, creating what was supposed to be the boycott of all boycotts to force his program from the airwaves.
But with Davis’ latest remarks in this week’s interview, it appears that the supposed groundswell to remove Limbaugh was an utter failure.
Eighty percent “of the attacks come from a different state than where the business exists. It’s really amplified when you look at it that way. A small business in New York is getting letters, Facebook posts and tweets supposedly from customers boycotting their business — when it’s all coming from a person who actually lives in Nevada,” he said.
“It’s the biggest bunch of nonsense I’ve ever come across. We’re definitely going to do a big job of telling the truth,” he added.
In short, Limbaugh’s show appears to have come out of the Fluke ordeal nearly unscathed, and the Clear Channel boss is happy to have him.
“Rush is a magnet that catches the majority of the flak, and I'm committed to supporting Rush and telling the powerful positive story,” Davis said.