WBAL flip-flops over Limbaugh
Station decides to use local hosts in his absence, then changes its mind
WPRO follows suit
Amid national chatter about conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh's addiction to prescription drugs, WBAL radio found itself at the center of an industry storm this week after it pulled his syndicated show from its usual time slot and then flip-flopped on that decision. Some listeners applauded the move, and many balked. WBAL's initial decision to pull the program and use local hosts - the first such move among 600 radio affiliates nationwide - raised alarms in an industry worried about financial fallout, a decline in ratings and the show's survival.and this bit from Fox News: Hypocrisy: The Ultimate Cry for Help?
"Pre-flipflop, losing Baltimore's WBAL would clearly be a negative," said James Marsh, an analyst with SG Cowen in New York. "It just sends a bad signal. You just feel the momentum sliding. You don't want multiple stations dropping the show." One other station followed suit. Citadel Broadcasting's WPRO News Radio 630 in Providence, R.I., said yesterday afternoon that it would temporarily replace the Limbaugh show with another host. By 5 p.m., WPRO had reversed its decision.
California syndicator Premiere Radio Networks, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications Inc., said yesterday that it had negotiated intensively with both stations. Premiere said it has heard of no other stations dropping Limbaugh and that it has no intention of losing other affiliates even temporarily.
But even if he is a hypocrite, even if he continued to vilify druggies as he was descending into the same abyss that they so ignobly occupy, one is advised to take into account the words of the French essayist La Rochefoucauld, who said, “Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.” In other words, the hypocrite is not as duplicitous as he seems; he is, rather, one who bemoans his own shortcomings, albeit in a most indirect manner.
In Limbaugh’s case, by practicing hypocrisy himself, which is to say, by blasting drug addicts either on or off the air while simultaneously swallowing a virtual drug store every few days, he might have been blasting himself. He might have been punishing himself. He might have been trying to save himself. Hypocrisy might have been Rush Limbaugh’s cry for a virtue that, for reasons so far known only to him, he could not attain.