Rush Limbaugh apologizes:
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."
Let’s leave aside for the moment the absurdity of Rush’s hypocritical non sequitur, i.e. that part about thinking discussions of both personal sexual activity and the business of knowing what’s going on in other people’s bedrooms being “absurd,” given that Limbaugh himself is one of the people most responsible for personally making such nonsense part and parcel of American politics.
Let us also leave aside Limbaugh’s hilariously absurd lament about taking personal responsibility and personal accountability, and his foray into the slippery slope logical fallacy. Oh noes! What will happen if we let loose college broads get birth control? Next thing you know we’ll be buying sneakers for liberal joggers and jockstraps for Muslim athletes and intimate lubrication for the homosexuals and Viagra for limp dicked radio hosts and, my God, where will it end? Woe! Woe!
Instead, let us concentrate for the moment on the part where Limbaugh absurdly claims he didn’t mean for his attack to be personal.
I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.
I did not mean a personal attack.
Which is, of course, why Limbaugh singled out a college student by name, then told twenty million of his slack-jawed listeners that she was a slut and a prostitute, then went on to completely mischaracterize Fluke’s testimony and fabricate statements that he directly attributed to her, then suggested she post sex videos on-line for Limbaugh himself to view, and if that wasn’t enough then Limbaugh spent the next two days engaged in ridicule and character assassination directed specifically at Sandra Fluke.
But he didn’t mean it personally.
Bullies never do.
No of course not. It’s never personal, is it?
Bullies are just looking for a laugh. He meant it to be humorous he says. Because calling a woman, an American citizen who wished to use her right to address Congress, a whore on national radio is just plain funny, man.
Limbaugh meant his so-called apology sincerely. Sure he did. Except, today, this morning, he opened his radio show by blaming Liberals for the situation:
I descended to their [Liberals] level when I used those two words to describe Sandra Fluke. I've always tried to maintain a very high degree of integrity and independence on this program. Nevertheless, those two words were inappropriate. They were uncalled for. They distracted from the point that I was actually trying to make, and I again sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her. I do not think she is either of those two words. I did not think last week that she is either of those two words."
I don’t know what’s more absurd, the fact that Rush Limbaugh thinks that is actually some kind of apology or the fact that he actually used the word “integrity” in relation to what he does on the air. But then, it’s never the bully’s fault, is it? It’s never the abuser’s fault. Of course it isn’t.
Look what you made me do!
No, of course it wasn’t personal. Of course it wasn’t Rush’s fault. He’s the victim here. Of course he is.
Which immediately begs the question, if it’s the Left’s fault for this situation, if it’s Fluke’s fault, what the hell is Limbaugh apologizing for?
Note that Limbaugh only “apologized” for calling Fluke a slut and a prostitute, not for lying about her testimony, not for engaging in character assassination, not for verbal assault or for demonizing her in front of twenty million listeners, not for putting words in her mouth, not for demanding that she post pornographic videos for him to enjoy, not for manipulating his listeners and fouling the political discourse. Not for the abuse she will now be forced to endure at the hands of his vicious and mindless minions. No, of course, because she deserves that for having the gall to want to speak her mind before a Congressional inquiry on women’s health issues. The nerve of that uppity bitch. Really.
See? Look what you made me do!
Limbaugh either doesn’t actually understand what the firestorm is really about or, like the standard issue abuser, he just doesn’t care. Frankly my money’s on the latter. Limbaugh knows exactly what kind of people listen to his show, he knows exactly how they think. He knows how they will go after Fluke, he knows exactly the kind of email they’ll send, the threats they’ll make, the harassment they’ll engage in. He knows exactly how to manipulate those people and he knows that they want to be manipulated. They’re simpleminded dupes who love nothing better than to be told how they think by Rush Limbaugh.
Allow me an example:
[…] Rush is right and Obama was wrong in calling her [on the phone]. What decent woman would come forward telling their history on sex behavior. She said she had so much sex she had to stop. Why would a woman let the whole world know about her sex life. She is what Rush called her and who knows if she was prostituting. Her mother should be ashamed of her not proud of her as Obama put it. No insurance should cover birth control or contraceptive. Women should know themselves what to do and not do. If the advertisers pulled their ads from Rush who cares. He will pick up others that believe in what he said. Obama called her for political reasons. The women’s vote.
That was posted by somebody signing herself “Mariann Pepitone” on the ABC News forum (Note that Mariann is allegedly a woman, how’s that for cognitive dissonance? But I digress). That comment, and the thousands of others just like it on ABC, Yahoo and elsewhere indicate that Limbaugh is very likely laughing into his sleeve. See, Rush isn’t an idiot. No, bear with me. He may be an pompous gasbag caught up in his own bullshit, but he’s not an idiot – at least not when it comes to manipulating the weak-minded. When it comes to his audience, Limbaugh knows exactly what he’s doing. Note the part of his apology that says, “the point I was trying to make.” That’s the key, and he made his point, yes he did. Look back to that yahoo comment, listen to those who commonly quote Limbaugh even when they don’t realize they are doing it:
She [Fluke] said she had so much sex she had to stop.
She has so much sex she needs tax payers to pay for it.
Except of course, Fluke didn’t say any of that and, in fact, didn’t discuss her own sex life at all. She didn’t ask for “free” contraception or any other medical procedure, she simply advocated for regulations that would require insurance (insurance that she is already paying for herself) to cover such things.
Also note that birth control pills cost exactly the same whether or not you have “lots and lots” of sex, or none at all.
But none of that matters, because:
Rush is right. Rush is always right. Always.
“Decent” women don’t discuss such things. Ipso facto, any woman who does must be a whore.
Obviously any woman seeking access to contraception is probably “prostituting.”
She should be ashamed. Shame! Shame! Shaaaaame!
Insurance shouldn’t cover birth control or contraception anyway.
Women should know what to do and not do, with what not to do being the obvious and proper choice here.
Obama is pandering to the women’s vote.
Limbaugh accomplished exactly what he set out to do.
It doesn’t matter what the actual facts are. It doesn’t matter what Sandra Fluke actually said, or what she intended, or what in fact the actual provision in the Affordable Healthcare Law actually says. Limbaugh successfully inserted what he wants his minions to think, and that was his intention all along. Among the angry simpletons who make up his audience, and a significant fraction of the conservative voting block, he has seeded exactly the false reality he intended and there will be no eradicating it. This is Limbaugh’s Death Panel moment. This was his goal right from the very start. He doesn’t care about Sandra Fluke, she was just a convenient target of opportunity, an unknown, a college student without voice or means to go toe to toe against a media giant like himself. Sandra Fluke is just a stupid smelly girl.
With this attack, Limbaugh succeeded in turning the narrative back onto his own agenda, i.e. liberals are morally bankrupt, they are trying take America from real Americans, and so on.
This is a perfect example of the practical application of Information Warfare.
This morning the headlines are full of “Did Limbaugh go too far this time?” type headlines.
Of course, it’s pure hyperbole, nothing but a rhetorical question.
Of course Limbaugh didn’t go too far. He can’t go too far.
This is what Rush Limbaugh does.
The further he goes, the more outrageous his is, the more his audience eats it up.
And they eat it up because they’re exactly the kind of people who get off on watching a bully beat up somebody smaller and weaker. Because to them, it is funny.
This morning the headlines are full of sober proclamations, seven or eight advertisers have pulled their ads from Limbaugh’s show and more are considering it. Oh, well, boy howdy, he’s doomed now. Limbaugh sure learned his lesson. Wow. Awesome. Way to take a stand, Advertisers. That will teach him.
Limbaugh has spent the last three years calling the president a traitor, a terrorist, non-American, a usurper, an African colonial despot, and every other bizarre and foul and insulting name in the book. His audience loves it. He called the First Lady first “fat” and then “uppity” in an unabashed display of racism, which of course he denied actually was racism – and I might even have believed him if he wasn’t also the guy who said, “Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals look like Jesse Jackson?” or how about “Look, let me put it this way: the NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There I said it.” And “The NAACP should have riot rehearsal, they should get a liquor store and practice robberies.” Or “They’re 12% of the population, so who cares?” How about when he said to a black female caller, “Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.” And his audience cheered.
Limbaugh knows his audience very well indeed. He wouldn’t be who he is, if he didn’t.
Now Sleep Number Beds pulled its advertising from Limbaugh’s show?
Now Legal Zoom and Quicken Loans think Limbaugh has gone too far? Seriously? That’s the cutoff, eh?
The Sleep Train, AOL, Tax Resolution Services Co. they were good with Limbaugh’s hate speech until last Friday, but now they’re drawing the line at calling some random law student a tart, is that right?
Limbaugh has repeatedly called the president every racist stereotype barely short of actually using the word “nigger” on the air, and we’re good with that. That’s OK, but calling Sandra Fluke a whore, well, boy, that by God is over the line.
And it means nothing. A hundred other sponsors are clogging Limbaugh’s phone lines right now, clamoring for a chance to buy advertising time for reduced prices. Sleep Number, AOL, Legal Zoom, Quicken Loans, they don’t give a good goddamn about Sandra Fluke or what Limbaugh called her, they just see an opportunity to get some free name recognition.
If they were actually sincere, well, they’d have been offended a long, long time ago, wouldn’t they?
GOP presidential candidates have obsequiously pandered to Limbaugh for his endorsement since the start of the campaign season. They’ve attacked the left for exactly the same things Limbaugh has in language no less insulting or offensive. But now? Now they’re backing away. Well, sort of. That’s laughable. Gingrich (heh heh, Gingrich) called for Limbaugh to apologize, but then blamed the media for not focusing on the larger issues (heh heh Gingrich). Note, Gingrich didn’t blame Limbaugh for not focusing on the larger issues, just the “media.” When it comes to that personal responsibility Gingrich is so big on, well, you know, blame the media – hey, it’s worked for Gingrich so far, why not Limbaugh too? And just never mind that Limbaugh, by any definition, is the media “elite” (but I digress, again). When asked about the controversy, Mitt Romney said, “Well, it’s not the language I would have used.” Smooth, Mitt, smooth, way to forcefully support women’s rights. Well done. Very Presidential. Really. In the spirit of takes one to know one, Rick Santorum said, “He’s being absurd.” But, hey, continued Santorum, Limbaugh is an entertainer, so you know that’s OK because that’s what entertainers do. Then Santorum (heh heh, Santorum) expressed concern that President Obama was “trying to impose his values on people“ (yeah, it’s OK if you throw up in your mouth a little bit over that last one. Jesus Haploid Christ, the hypocrisy could stun a charging RINO at fifty paces).
House Speaker John Boehner, in a rousing display of the iron courage he’s so well known for, managed to meekly denounce Limbaugh’s comments by calling them, well, sorry Mr. Limbaugh Sir please don’t take my balls, uh, “inappropriate.”
John McCain was roused briefly from the thick yellow fog of his senile dementia and angrily shouted “pickles!” When pressed for clarification by Soledad O’Brien, McCain managed a moment of lucidity and said, “totally unacceptable. Totally and completely unacceptable and there’s no place for it.” Then McCain explained how Limbaugh is an “entertainer,” so um, well, you know, Pickles!
Meanwhile, this morning Michael Savage, he of the savage throbbing wiener, professional paranoid and a guy who thinks Limbaugh is too mamby pamby, accused the President of the United States of having Andrew Breitbart assassinated. I know, I know, go on, make the facepalm (Yes, obviously a ridiculous accusation, if Obama had ordered the hit, he wouldn’t have given Randy Andy a heart attack courtesy of the NSA, he would have done it with a Hellfire missile dropped from a loitering Predator while Breitbart was attending a bar-mitzvah. Duh). How many of the Savage Nation’s sponsors pulled out this morning? Ten? Five? One? Yeah. Funny thing, didn’t Breitbart actually pretend to be a prostitute or a pimp or something a while back?
Meanwhile, over on
the Limbaugh Channel FoxNews, Bill O’Reilly puffed up like a poisonous toad and croaked in righteous rage, “Let me get this straight, Ms. Fluke, and I’m asking this with all due respect [all due respect being apparently none, but I digress], you want me to give you my hard-earned money so you can have sex?” O’Reilly then went on to say that since Fluke wanted society to cover her “activities” (heh, heh, Bill said activities, huh huh huh), the government should have subsidized his college football uniforms, since an injury “might have cost society a lot.” Bill seems to have completely missed that fact that any injuries incurred on the gridiron would have been covered under his college’s medical insurance. And in fact sports related injuries cost school medical programs a hell of a lot more than the average monthly prescription for birth control pills. Funny thing, those “activities” O’Reilly thinks he shouldn’t have to pay for (and which Fluke wasn’t in fact asking him to)? Medical coverage for those sports injuries are completely avoidable, all we have to do is get rid of college sports. Everybody wins, no sports related medical costs, no paying for coaches and stadiums and equipment or pedophilia court cases. Where’s Bill’s outrage now? Also, I notice that those same advertisers who quit Limbaugh are hanging tough with Fox. Why is that, do you suppose?
Meanwhile, down in the sun blistered desert of Crazyland, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has declared President Obama’s birth certificate a computer generated “forgery.” Not only that, but he upped the ante by declaring that Obama’s Selective Service registration card may not be authentic either and he called on Congress to investigate the matter – because apparently while we don’t have money to take care of poor people, we’ve got money to investigate Birther claims.
Sources close to Arpaio say that he was afraid Donald Trump was hogging the Obama hatin’ glory-hole.
And even more meanwhile, the State of Missouri has commissioned a bust of Rush Limbaugh for its statehouse (No, I’m not making that up).
You’ll note that Sleep Number, and Sleep Train Mattress, and Quicken Loans, AOL, and all the rest haven’t decided to pull out Arizona or Missouri.
And when the smoke blows over, you can bet they’ll be quietly crawling right back to Rush Limbaugh.
Forgive me, if I’m somewhat less than impressed by any of this absurdity.
Here’s the bottom line, folks: What it comes down to is this, Rush Limbaugh attacked a young woman for exercising her right to address Congress. A lot of people in positions of power on both the left and the right condemned Limbaugh for his thuggish tactics, some more strenuously and sincerely than others, but in the final accounting only one American leader stepped forward to offer support and defense to the victim. It wasn’t a Senator or a Representative. It wasn’t those CEOs and business leaders. It wasn’t those four sorry bastards seeking the White House.
And it sure as bloody hell wasn’t any hypocritical Christian leader or prominent clergyman.
No, when the mob gathered to watch and jeer while a bully beat up the weak and helpless, it was the President of the United States who stepped forward.
It was Barack Obama who called Sandra Fluke personally and offered his support.
And that, right there, says everything you need to know.