NEW YORK: In the wake of Rush Limbaugh's admission to a painkiller addiction, crisis counselor Michael Sitrick has emerged as the chief spokes-person for Premiere Radio Network, the company that syndicates the conservative firebrand's show.
Never far from controversy, Limbaugh is now the subject of a criminal investigation in Florida, according to published reports. This comes on the heels of Limbaugh's resignation from ESPN, where he was working as an in-studio football commentator, after he claimed that quarterback Donovan McNabb is overrated by the media because he's African American.
"What we're trying to do, within the confines of what the investigators and the lawyers have asked us to do, is get the information out, to fill the information void with fact," Sitrick said.
His firm, Sitrick & Company, which he says has had a relationship with Premiere for several years, is working with the company's internal PR team as it navigates the crisis.
Sitrick is known for his sometimes hardball PR tactics, as well as for taking on clients in the midst of controversy. For instance, The Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles tapped his firm last year during its bout with alleged sexual-abuse allegations involving priests.
Sitrick declined to give further detail on the nature of his counsel to Premiere. However, judging by press reports, one of the challenges before the company is deflecting skepticism that Limbaugh announced his drug problem and checked himself into a rehabilitation facility in order to short-circuit the story. There has also been rampant speculation about what this will do a career that has been built on support for a broad range of conservative causes, including a hard-line position on drug users.
According to a written statement issued after The National Enquirer reported that he regularly bought Oxycontin through his maid, Limbaugh developed an addiction to pain pills after a spinal surgery performed in the 1990s.