After “slut” diatribe, can Limbaugh show survive, and should it?

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Is a woman who uses birth control a "slut"? Is she a "prostitute" who ""wants to be paid to have sex"?

Is it OK for a major radio host, Rush Limbaugh, to use the public airwaves for that kind of character assassination?

His target is 30-year-old Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, who has spoken out against Republican efforts to deny women access to birth control at no cost.

"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," Limbaugh luridly declared on his show last week. He suggested she make videos of her sexual relations and make them available for people like him to watch.

As of today eight companies have suspended their sponsorship of the Limbaugh show over his "inappropriate" commentary. These include AOL, ProFlowers, Quicken Loans (owned by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert), Sleep Train, Sleep Number, Citrix Systems Inc., Carbonite, LegalZoom and Sears.

"No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady," Carbonite CEO David Friend said.

Others want Limbaugh's show pulled from the air altogether.

Limbaugh on Saturday "apologized" for two of his "word choices," but not for the vicious misogynistic ideas he expressed. Fluke said the "apology" did not change the situation, especially since it came after sponsors starting pulling out of the show. See video here.

Rick Santorum dismissed Limbaugh as "absurd" and "just an entertainer," while an aide to MItt Romney, along with birth-control witch-hunter Rep. Darryl Issa, said it was just an example of extremism on all sides.

On the other hand, President Obama phoned Fluke to express support for her courage in speaking out on women's rights.

Pentagon press secretary George Little told CNN today that the Defense Department had no plans to stop broadcasting Limbaugh's show to service members on the American Forces Network. The show is part of the Defense Department's policy to broadcast shows that "reflect a wide range" of opinion, Little said.

But VoteVets.org, a veterans advocacy group, released a statement from three women Iraq war veterans calling on the American Forces Network to stop broadcasting "The Rush Limbaugh Show."

Miranda Norman (a VoteVets.org Senior Advisor), Kayla Williams, and Robin Eckstein, all Iraq War veterans, and Katherine Scheirman, former chief of medical operations for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, said:

"Rush Limbaugh has a freedom of speech and can say what he wants, but in light of his horribly misogynistic comments, American Forces Radio should no longer give him a platform. Our entire military depends on troops respecting each other - women and men. There simply can be no place on military airwaves for sentiments that would undermine that respect. When many of our female troops use birth control, for Limbaugh to say they are "sluts" and "prostitutes" is beyond the pale."

"The Rush Limbaugh Show" is run on Premiere Networks, which is owned by Clear Channel Communications.

Los Angeles Times Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist David Horsey had this to say today:

"Rush Limbaugh's lame apology to Sandra Fluke does not even come close to getting him off the hook. He needs to apologize to America for pushing political discourse to the level of drunk good ol' boys shouting crude epithets in a topless bar."

Horsey continued:

"If this were some aberration in Limbaugh's behavior, fair-minded people might be tempted to accept his grudging and very limited apology. But it is nothing new. This is how he has "entertained" day after day for years. He doesn't debate. He doesn't inform. He vilifies, insults, smears, slanders, distorts and misleads. Rush is a schoolyard bully who specializes in picking on girls - or "feminazis,' as he loves to call them.

"It's bad enough that his overbearing pseudo-patriotism has been emulated by other right-wing radio and TV commentators; worse is the fact he has become the oracle of the dominant wing of the Republican Party."

Photo: In this image made from Feb. 23 video provided by C-SPAN, Sandra Fluke, a third-year Georgetown University law student, testifies to Congress in Washington. Rush Limbaugh drew fire from many directions for his depiction of Fluke as a "slut" because she testified before Congress about the need for contraceptive coverage. C-SPAN/AP

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  • Is it ok for Bill Maher to call Sarah Palin the C - word? Is it Ok for Jimmy Fallon to have " Lyin' Ass Bitch" played when Michelle Bauchman walks on stage for an interview.
    You Dems are the biggest hyopcrites.
    As for the sponsors, 8 out of thousands is hardly the headlines you should be dancing about.

    Posted by Mitchell, 03/08/2012 11:57am (2 years ago)

  • Rush Lmbaugh is another muddy, sticky slime product of a gutted FCC. It also derails the long held goal of broadcasting providing programing that reflects the community it serves. More and more syndication is killing that goal and Rush's thug like acting out is a great example.

    Thank's Rush for driving the spoken word format in to the ground.

    Posted by Jay Marvin, 03/07/2012 8:39pm (2 years ago)

  • It would be easy to descend into the type of name calling and visciousness that Limbaugh uses. Instead, let me just say that while it is true that he has freedom of speech, there are a few limits on that freedom.

    He has surely crossed the line. The sponsors who have dropped him have it right. If only the other sponsors would pull out.

    Any radio station which carries him needs to seriously evaluate whether or not Limbaugh represents that radio station.

    It is sad that so many people think that Limbaugh is "God" and think that everything he says is true. I personally know of such people.

    Limbaugh must go.

    Posted by Ronald Humphrey, 03/07/2012 5:43am (2 years ago)

  • Good article.
    It's heartening to hear many voices of reason speaking out. What to do with people like Rush? Well, perhaps if enough sponsors leave, even corps life Clear Channel would cut him lose.

    Posted by , 03/06/2012 4:51pm (2 years ago)

  • "If this were some aberration in Limbaugh's behavior, fair-minded people might be tempted to accept his grudging and very limited apology. But it is nothing new. This is how he has "entertained" day after day for years. He doesn't debate. He doesn't inform. He vilifies, insults, smears, slanders, distorts and misleads. Rush is a schoolyard bully who specializes in picking on girls - or "feminazis,' as he loves to call them."

    Columnist David Horsey couldn't have said it any better. This is the legacy of Rush Limbaugh. He's lowered the intellectual bar until it has touched the ground. He's contributed to warping the minds of listeners who would otherwise perhaps pause and actually think. Without hesitation I would support taking his show off the air. Limbaugh does not have the right to deny the rights of others of having thought-provoking analysis from talk show commentators. I know, one could simply ignore him, but he's such a big blotch on U.S. discourse.

    Posted by revolution123, 03/06/2012 3:29pm (2 years ago)

  • His comments were about all women who use contraception. I am amazed that so many commentators are ignoring that his comments were not directed solely at Sandra but at all women who use contraception.
    Also this idea that "he" or "we" are paying for any individual persons healthcare is a misnomer. Employers are not paying for healthcare. The employee is paying for it by their labor. Employers offer health coverage as they offer an hourly wage. Coverage is part of a labor compensation package. We the true payers collectively share the burden of cost along with the burden of providing profits to insurance companies.

    Posted by GR, 03/06/2012 12:47pm (2 years ago)

  • Given the huge number of our female soldiers and sailors who have been raped by their male colleagues, it is imperative that Limbaugh's show be dropped from Armed Forces Radio. Our tax dollars being used to promote his show is, at the very least, giving tacit approval to to this kind of behavior.

    Posted by Rev. Paul White, 03/06/2012 8:45am (2 years ago)

  • First, Rush tried to bully a woman into silence. When that didn't work, he whined that HIS free speech was being threatened. When that didn't work, he apologized, but the next day revoked his apology, blaming what he said on the Left. Now he has declared war on the sponsors who left, and is bullying the ones who remain into staying, by calling for his listeners to boycott any sponsor who leaves.

    Remember in November: this vile Rush Limbaugh is the true inner voice of the Republican Party.

    Posted by thomas mc, 03/05/2012 7:03pm (2 years ago)

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