Limbaugh last week learned the overdue lesson that there are real-world consequences for trafficking in hate speech. That there are free-market penalties, including the fact that the NFL decided for itself that it can't, and won't, be connected with Limbaugh.
It's the same lesson Glenn Beck learned this year when he discovered that his niche, on-air rants (Obama is a communist-racist-fascist-Nazi) don't speak to the masses. Instead, they freaked out nearly 100 former Glenn Beck advertisers who have gone on record as refusing to be associated with his show. These are blue-chip, small-"c" conservative advertisers who've dropped Beck quicker than a wobbly JaMarcus Russell pass.
For both Limbaugh and Beck, the awkward realization in recent weeks and months is that viewed outside of the dark, paranoid confines of right-wing talk, both men are seen as toxic by the business elite they likely admire the most. It's like at a teen party in the basement when the lights suddenly get turned back on. Nobody in corporate America, and certainly nobody within the mighty NFL, wants to be seen holding hands with Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck.
In truth, Limbaugh's humiliating face plant was entirely predictable, because every few years Rush Limbaugh tries to leave the protected bubble of right-wing radio and venture out into everyday American culture ("tiptoeing into the mainstream," Limbaugh calls it), and every few years the reaction is swift and unambiguous -- get lost!
Read the entire Media Matters column here.