In Politics, Social commentary on March 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Facing unprecedented criticism and the potential loss of advertisers, Rush Limbaugh has issued his version of an apology to Sandra Fluke.

Fluke, a third-year Georgetown University law student, had testified before Congress on February 23 on the need for insurance companies to cover birth control.

Sandra Fluke

Fluke explained that at a Jesuit campus that refuses to provide insurance coverage for contraception, such costs can run as high as $3,000 during the three years a woman attends law school.

In his brutal, misogynistic attacks on Fluke on February 29 and March 1, the spokesman for the American Right called her a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

Rush Limbaugh

Limbaugh further charged that she couldn’t afford contraceptives because she was “having too much sex.”

Then Limbaugh–who likes to champion the glories of “family values”–closed with this salacious gem:

“So Ms. Fluke and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal: If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I’ll tell you want it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”

On March 3, President Barack Obama called Fluke to say that her parents should be proud of her for speaking out for women.

After learning of the President’s phone call during his radio show, Limbaugh made a kissing noise with his lips and mocked Obama.

“That is so compassionate. What a great guy,” Limbaugh said. “The President called her to make sure she’s OK. What is she, 30 years old? Thirty years old, student at Georgetown Law who admits to having so much sex she can’t afford it.”

Reaction has since been furious–and overwhelmingly anti-Limbaugh.

As of March 4, seven of his advertisers have pulled their ads from sponsoring his show, which is aired throughout the U.S. on more than 400 stations and is the highest-rated talk-radio program in the United States.

On March 4, ProFlowers announced on its Facebook page that it had suspended advertising on Limbaugh’s program because his comments “went beyond political discourse to a personal attack and do not reflect our values as a company.”

The six other advertisers which claim they have pulled ads from his show are:

  • Mortgage lender Quicken Loans
  • Mattress retailers Sleep Train and Sleep Number
  • Software maker Citrix Systems Inc.
  • Online data backup service provider Carbonite
  • Online legal document services company LegalZoom.

Among the statements issued by the departing advertisers:

  • Sleep Train: “We are pulling our ads with Rush Limbaugh and appreciate the community’s feedback.”
  • Sleep Number Sara: “Recent comments by Rush Limbaugh do not align w/our values, so we made decision to immediately suspend all advertising on that program.”
  • Legal Zoon: “As of today, LegalZoom has suspended all advertising on the Rush Limbaugh show.”
  • Quicken Loans: “Due to continued inflammatory comments–along w/valuable feedback from clients & team members–QL has suspended ads on Rush Limbaugh program.”
  • Citrix: “We have listened to our customers & have decided to cease our advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Show immediately.”

Limbaugh’s comments have put him directly in the crosshairs of a slander suit. He has no evidence that Sandra Fluke is “a slut” or “a prostitute.” And his saying he wants her to post online videos of her having sex clearly demonstrates his own salacious mindset.

Someone at Clear Channel Communications, Inc.–which is contracted to carry his show until 2016–must have realized this. And must have also realized that Clear Channel could be named a party to such a lawsuit, since it gives Limbaugh his radio megaphone to defame anyone he wants.

On March 3, Limbaugh released what he claimed was an apology to Fluke:

“For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

“I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities.

“What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit?

“In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.

“My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”

Is Limbaugh’s “apology” to be taken seriously? Read the next column and find out.

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