The Background: Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh spread the flames of a controversy over contraception and health insurance when he attacked a 30-year-old female law student attending Georgetown, a Jesuit university.
Sandra Fluke was excluded from testifying at an all-male Congressional hearing on government regulations regarding birth control and insurance coverage. Fluke then testified before an unofficial hearing called by Democrats, stating: “I’m an American woman who uses contraceptives.”
Limbaugh: “What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.”
On March 2 President Obama phoned Fluke to support her, telling the law student that her parents should be proud of her.
Despite Rush’s belated and half-hearted apology (he claimed he was being “humorous,”) advertisers have been pulling out of his radio show left and right.
ThinkProgress exposed an internal memo at Premier Radio Networks showing that 141 advertisers now refuse to advertise with Rush, although it’s unclear whether all are a direct result of the “slut controversy.”
ONE SIDE: Rush Limbaugh’s “Humor” Isn’t Funny – Fire His Ass
As Al Franken observed in the title of his 1996 book, Rush Limbaugh is “a big fat idiot. And a liar and a phony.
Rush has largely risen in the ratings because his absurd inaccuracies and mendacities are allowed to go unchallenged on his program, which 20 million “dittoheads” tune into. But now it’s time for those with opposing viewpoints to take this toxic talker down, and off the air.
Like so many supporters of the party of “family values,” Limbaugh – who is childless and on his 4th marriage – is a total hypocrite. In 2006, Limbaugh was detained by authorities at Palm Beach International Airport when a bottle of Viagra was found in his luggage – with the prescription made out to somebody else. Limbaugh was returning from the Dominican Republic, and presumably, sex resorts.
Limbaugh has a long history of hurling invectives like “femi-nazis.” His non-apology for his vulgar comments regarding Sandra Fluke is not enough and he remains hostile to reproductive rights and all women’s issues in general.
Now is the time to throw the vulnerable Limbaugh off the air. He’s lost broadcast perches before; his 1990s TV program was short-lived, and following 2003 racist remarks regarding Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, Limbaugh was forced to resign. Limbaugh knows full-well the corporate consequences of running ones mouth.
He can claim “unfair treatment” all he wants, but the rule differences are clear: Rush doesnt’ get away with what rappers get away with because in his cases… it’s flat-out bad for business.
Furthermore, Armed Forces Radio – which is owned and operated by the Defense Department – should also axe his show. We should have a moral objection to our tax dollars being used for such a purpose – just as Limbaugh said he opposed taxpayer subsidization of Fluke’s sex life.
Let’s get rid of this carbuncle on the ass of humanity, once and for all.
The First Amendment was specifically designed for citizens to insult politicians. Libel laws were written to protect law students speaking out on political issues from getting called whores by Oxycontin addicts.” – Bill Maher
THE OTHER SIDE: Rush Limbaugh is Just Another Rapper, Bitches
From a civil libertarian point of view, lefties advocating throwing Limbaugh off the air should be careful about what they wish for. If a popular host with millions of fans can be dropped because of what he says, the same standards and practices can be applied against left-of-center rappers.
Who’s next? Mike Malloy, a progressive shock jock who regularly denounces rightwingers as “bastards” on his nationally syndicated program? What’s good for the goose is good for the “propa-gander.”
For crying out loud, Rush did not physically assault Fluke or commit other violent crimes – he simply exercised his right to point out what a whining liberal she was. The 1st Amendment guarantees free speech to those saying “puppies are adorable,” but also and especially to those who “dog” others in public.
Offensive speech requires constitutional protection, and limiting it for one sets a precedent for restricting communications for all.
Comic Bill Maher – who was fired from his ABC Politically Incorrect show after his controversial on air 9/11 comments – frequently disagrees with Limbaugh, but defended him March 9 on his HBO Real Time program:
“I don’t like it that people are made to disappear when they say something, or people try to make them disappear when they say something you don’t like.”
“That’s America. Sometimes you’re made to feel uncomfortable, okay?” added Maher.
The potty-mouthed Maher recently donated $1 million to an Obama Super Pac. Should the president’s campaign return the money because of Maher’s wisecracks about women, including calling Sarah Palin a “MILF” on CNN and a “cunt” during his standup act in Dallas?
Like Maher, Limbaugh is an entertainer, comedian and satirist; his words should be perceived in the same context.
Rush is a top GOP spokesman and defender of traditional Americanism. Attempts to shut him up are merely pretexts to silence one of the right’s most popular, effective voices. While Limbaugh’s vocabulary in describing Fluke may have been wrong (he himself has apologized for using unfortunate epithets) his essential argument was right.
Rush was standing up for religious liberty against the tyranny of state-imposed sanctions – sanctions that would force faith-related institutions to engage in immoral practices such as contraception, which is not only against God’s law, but would be paid for by taxpayers.
Turn off your radio, change the station, or boycott. That’s your right. But don’t try to shut Rush up and call it law.