Not long after radio talk imbecile Rush Limbaugh triggered a sponsor exodus by repeatedly calling a Georgetown University law student a "slut," conservative media outlets were giddily reporting the adverse consequences suffered by one disloyal advertiser.
Online backup service provider Carbonite was one of the first and most vocal sponsors to pull ads from Limbaugh's weekday program, with CEO David Friend stating, "No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show."
Within days of Friend's principled decision, shares of Carbonite (NYSE: CARB) hit an all-time low of 7.90, or 18% below the closing price of 9.63 on February 29, the first day of Limbaugh's unhinged rant against Fluke.
Of course, "all-time" is relative. Carbonite went public last August 11, finishing the day at 12.35. Five days later it peaked at 21.10 and began drifting down over the next several months, a pattern emulated by many Internet companies that went public in the past year.
Yet the hit that shares took after Carbonite pulled its ads from Limbaugh's show was treated as some kind of singular victory by conservative commentators, even though Carbonite's stock had experienced several sharp descents in its brief seven months of trading.
Alas, the victory was fleeting. Through mid-Thursday's trading, shares of Carbonite were up 2.9% to 9.64, just about where they were before the company was "punished" for abandoning Rush.
Sure, the stock's price could go down again, and the small company ($241 million market cap) may continue to post losses. But it won't be because of a dittohead uprising.