Former Limbaugh Advertiser Carbonite Admits Ditching Host Harmed Profits

Just as the campaign to ostracize Chick-fil-A seems to have blown up in leftists' faces, so too has the earlier left-wing censorship campaign to pressure advertisers of conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Limbaugh's ratings are higher than before the recent brouhaha over Sandra Fluke and the effort to remove him from the air is collapsing on itself. Now more bad news has come out for the Rush haters: Former Limbaugh advertiser Carbonite has now publicly stated that its decision to pull its ads from his show has been bad for the company's bottom line.


On August 1, Carbonite CEO David Friend held a conference call to announce the company's second-quarter earnings results. They weren't good which led the company's stock to drop 15 percent in same-day trading.

Key to the drop in Carbonite's growth was its withdrawal from Limbaugh's show. By withdrawing its ads under pressure from the far left, Carbonite disrupted its own business model of attracting many small-time accounts through mass advertising.

"It turned out to be a bigger hole in our revenue than we had thought when we initially did this," Friend said on the investor call.

The company tried to offset the publicity hit by expanding advertising to other radio hosts, not realizing that it would take months for it to reach the kind of audience they had already established via Limbaugh. In the call, the CEO tried to spin away his failure by claiming that "things would have been worse" had he not pulled his ads.

Friend, who has donated nearly $7,000 to President Obama, did not pull his company's ads from left-wing nutcase Ed Schultz's radio show, despite Schultz having called fellow radio talker Laura Ingraham a "talk slut."

His political double-standard notwithstanding, it is apparent that Friend was not providing proper guidance to investors during the Fluke controversy. As William Jacobson of the excellent Legal Insurrection blog (the publication which broke this story) noted, Friend never told investors that his company was unsure of the impact that its decision to withdraw from Limbaugh's show would have:

The analyst asking the question indicates that Friend previously had indicated in private conversations that there would not be a substantial impact.  This demonstrates how Friend misjudged the situation.  Additionally, Friend says the “metrics” could not be known for a month after dropping Limbaugh and that Carbonite had no way of judging the impact.  Yet I don’t recall any statements from Carbonite reflecting the disarray in its ability to measure its own business model.

The last statement by Friend, that the damage would have been worse had Carbonite not dropped Limbaugh is laughable.  Friend has been cause doing serious damage to shareholders based on a political decision which was taken precipitously on a Saturday night.  It’s too convenient now to say things would have been worse, when Friend completely misjudged the impact of dropping Limbaugh.

Perhaps Friend would like some Chick-fil-A fries to go with his order of crow meat?

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013