How many listeners know that FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity, and the Heritage Foundation have been shelling out beaucoup bucks for those passionate endorsements that trip off the tongues of radio talk show hosts Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity?
[T]he three prominent conservative groups are paying hefty sponsorship fees to the popular talk show hosts … [for] … promotional tie-ins, as well as regular on-air plugs – praising or sometimes defending the groups
The hosts read from a script or a set of talking points praising the non-profit conservative groups and encouraging their listeners to visit the groups’ websites or contribute to them. Some groups also sponsor “embedded ads” that are subtly woven into the program, but are not introduced as paid ads by the host.
“[P]eople don’t realize … that (big time political talk show hosts) are radio personalities – they are in the same business that people like Casey Kasem are in – and what they do is no different than people who broadcast from used car lots or restaurants or who endorse the local roofer or gardener.”— Michael Harrison, founder and publisher of TALKERS Magazine
The Heritage Foundation paid $3.3 million to Premiere Radio Networks to sponsor the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity shows. FreedomWorks paid Rebecca Hagelin Communications and Marketing $1.4 million for Beck’s lavish praises, and although Americans for Prosperity refused to divulge just how much they are paying the Mark Levin Show, it’s safe to assume that the host’s flowery tributes aren’t free.
“I wish more of the grassroots knew the reality that this wasn’t Rush or Sean or Beck saying these things out of the goodness of their hearts. If the grassroots found out that these guys were getting paid seven figures a year to say this stuff, it might leave a bad taste in their mouth.”—leader of a group who looked into sponsoring ads on popular radio talk shows
The time has come for God-fearing, liberty-loving Americans to wise up and admit that many of their beloved radio talk show hosts are nothing more than handsomely paid entertainers whose job it is to discuss the country’s political and social ills three hours a day in hopes of attracting listeners and advertisers. Only God knows for sure whether or not they truly believe in the free market, personal freedom, and rule of law principles they espouse regularly.
But users, cheaters, six-time losers
Hangin’ around the theaters
Girl by the whirlpool, lookin’ for a new fool
Don’t follow leaders, watch your parkin’ meters
For more on the story, see Conservative groups pay for talk-radio plugs.