Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rush to Fluke: Sorry

Rush Limbaugh has apologized - sort of - to Georgetown Law Student Sandra Fluke for calling her a "slut" and a "prostitute" on his show the other day. He should have apologized sooner. It wasn't until several of his biggest sponsors withdrew their sponsorship that he realized he was in a no-win situation brought about largely by his own arrogance.

Fluke was testifying before an ad hoc congressional committee about the need to require insurance companies, or someone, to underwrite birth control for Georgetown's law students because they simply can't afford to finance their active sex lives themselves. This is, of course, absurd, and if Limbaugh had simply focused on the ridiculousness of students expecting to have their sex lives paid for by others he would have done a fine public service, but he chose to go further and make it personal, suggesting that the degrading epithets mentioned above applied to Fluke herself.

It needs be noted that Fluke made it clear that she wasn't talking about herself but was instead pleading for women with whom she was in contact in her role as a women's advocate. So, for Limbaugh to suggest that Fluke wanted to be paid to have sex was unfair, unkind, slanderous, and not a little sleazy.

It's a shame, too, because the expectation that others should compensate women for their recreational choices does indeed need to be publicly scrutinized, but it can be done without smearing people no matter how silly their arguments might be.

Anyway, here's the audio of Rush's remarks:
The report of Rush's apology can be found here, and here's video of the Fluke testimony which precipitated Limbaugh's contumely:
Rush will probably weather the storm but only if he avoids similar lapses of judgment in the future. If he doesn't he'll find it awfully hard to find sponsors to pay for advertising time and equally hard to keep affiliate stations who don't want to put up with the controversy.