An Open Letter to the CEO of Carbonite

DEAR MR. FRIEND, I appreciate that you had a prompt public response to the complaints from your customers about the behavior of Rush Limbaugh on his show that you advertise on. I would like to address a few of your points.

I’d like to work from backwards from the end of your letter to your customers. You say that you have scheduled a face to face meeting with Mr. Limbaugh next week to discuss this topic. This tells me that one of two things applies here. Either you are a friend of Mr. Limbaugh’s, or your company spends such a significant amount of money on his show that you are accorded privileges that a normal advertiser does not get. In either case, you must already know that simply talking to him is not going to result in a change of behavior. Mr. Limbaugh has shown repeatedly, over many years, that he believes hateful, ad hominem attacks like this are OK.

You also state that you have no control over the editorial content of the shows that you advertise on. While this is true in that you do not dictate what the hosts say, you support their ability to say it by funding the show. In that sense, you do endorse the hosts. You cannot put your head in the sand and pretend to have no influence through the dollars you spend on advertising, especially while in the next breath telling your customers that you have enough influence to meet with the host face to face on a week’s notice.

There are many diverse opinions in this country we live in, which means that many of us disagree with each other. I can appreciate that you are constantly receiving complaints about the content of the shows you advertise on. However there is quite a difference between a disagreement on a topic that is discussed in a civil manner and hateful epithets directed at someone who is participating in the civil discourse that is the foundation of this country. Regardless of where the line is drawn, Mr. Limbaugh has left it far behind him. Not only is it far beyond inappropriate, it undermines one of the cornerstones of our country: the freedom to discuss and debate, and the right of every person to stand up for what they believe.

You say that you are offended by the actions of Mr. Limbaugh, but you have nothing to offer in response except talk. Actions speak louder than words, and a decision to no longer fund hateful attacks sends a message not only to Mr. Limbaugh that this cannot be tolerated in a civilized society, not only to Clear Channel that their decision to continue Mr. Limbaugh’s show has consequences, but to the public at large that differing opinions are good, but at the end of the day we are all one people and must be able to disagree in a civil manner. This is not a matter of whose politics you agree with, but rather the right to have that choice at all.

You still have a choice to make. Please consider it carefully and act, as an absence of action sends a clear message as well.