Archive for March 5th, 2012
Folks, the Rush Limbaugh story continues to have legs; while Limbaugh has issued a rather weak apology, he also blamed the Democrats for making this a “political issue” last Friday (something I somehow missed in the ensuing firestorm)** and hasn’t backed down from that stance one iota even though advertisers are deserting Limbaugh en masse. (Tonight’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC show said that twelve different advertisers have now deserted Limbaugh, and the Rachel Maddow show said that two channels have said publicly they will drop Limbaugh due to this.)
For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week,” Limbaugh wrote in a statement posted to his website. “In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.”
Oh, would those wrong words be “slut” and “prostitute,” words that never needed to be said? Or are they the words you still haven’t explicitly taken back asking for pornographic videos of Ms. Fluke having sex? (Limbaugh said on his radio show Monday, March 5, 2012, that he’s sorry for calling her the former, but never mentioned the latter.)
Continuing on in Limbaugh’s written statement, he continued to mis-state the initial issue, saying that he personally believes no one should have to pay for anyone else’s sexual behavior. That was never at issue; what was at issue was whether or not insurers should cover contraception in the same way they cover, say, Viagra. (Speaking of that, why is it that women aren’t up in arms that their insurers are “forced” to include Viagra as an essential medication, considering it’s not something any woman will ever be able to use? Is it because we’re not stupid?)
Today on his radio show, Limbaugh explicitly apologized to Sandra Fluke, again, but still didn’t apologize for those terrible comments he made about wanting to watch videos of Ms. Fluke having sex with the contraception the insurer must now carry; to my mind, that makes Limbaugh’s apology extremely weak and unworthy at absolute best.
Ms. Fluke, after reading Limbaugh’s apology, said on ABC’s “The View” this morning that she does not accept Limbaugh’s apology; she believes that Limbaugh apologized only because his advertisers are angry with him, and due to the pressure being put on him by various groups. (A sensible reaction.)
However, many conservative groups are angry now and are striking at “liberals” — that is, anyone but them — who have made mistakes in the past. This mostly means they’re yelling at Ed Schultz, the MSNBC host who called Laura Ingraham a nasty name on his syndicated radio show last year (I wrote about that here); however, Schultz accepted a week-long unpaid suspension, apologized for nine minutes on the air, apologized directly to Laura Ingraham, and talked about how embarrassed he was, considering he’s a husband and a father, to have ever mischaracterized any woman in that way — which was the right reaction.
When you contrast Schultz’s behavior, which was genuinely repentant, with Limbaugh’s, there is no comparison.
As for the Republican Presidential nominees, their comments on Limbaugh’s bad behavior (last week on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, he repeatedly attacked Sandra Fluke) leave much to be desired except for one man: Ron Paul. Paul is the only candidate to say flat-out that what Limbaugh said was wrong; he even called it “crude,” and intimated that no reasonable man would say such a thing. This makes sense to me; what doesn’t make sense is Mitt Romney’s reaction (accepting Limbaugh’s weak apology for the use of two words, “slut” and “prostitute,” to mischaracterize Sandra Fluke), or Rick Santorum’s reaction (trying to turn the issue to the Democrats’ supposed politicization of contraception, the same way Limbaugh is), or Newt Gingrich’s reaction, which more or less was to give Limbaugh an “attaboy.” (For such a smart man, Gingrich’s reactions are enough to perplex a saint.)
So there you have it; Limbaugh has apologized, but it’s weak. The R Presidential candidates, with the sole exception of Ron Paul, don’t seem to have enough sense to come in out of the rain (as women are half the electorate, don’t you think any male candidate would say, “While I applaud free speech, there are some things that shouldn’t be said by sane, smart people, and this was one of them,” rather than behave the way they are right now?). And Sandra Fluke, who two weeks ago was someone most of us wouldn’t have been able to pick out of a crowd if our lives depended on it, is our newest unwitting celebrity.
Bottom line is this: Limbaugh’s apology is not enough. He needs to be fired — since Don Imus was fired due to his inappropriate comments (which weren’t anywhere near as bad, or as lengthy — one occurrence versus several days worth of occurrences — as what Limbaugh had to say), Limbaugh should also be fired.
This story will not go away until he is.
** Can we please, please, take it as read that this issue isn’t such a big deal because of the Democrats, the “liberals,” or anything other than Rush Limbaugh stirring up a hornet’s nest? Thank you.