Rush Limbaugh: The Man You Love to Hate
Limbaugh infuriates viewers and the public
Rush Limbaugh's attack on Sandra Fluke
Boycott Rush Limbaugh? Yes, many people called for that action after his stunningly sexist (and self-described 'humorous') attacks on Sandra Fluke?
Why should we do that, when it implies that he should remain on the air?
Some audiences feel w should do far more than boycott this purveyor of outdated, vitriolic venom. When Limbaugh attacked young Ms. Fluke, they launched a campaign to insist he be dropped from every station and network line-up in the country. Switching channels when his show comes on is not enough. Get him off the air completely.
For those who have been asleep or out of the country in few years, the fury over Ms. Fluke occurred when Limbaugh launched a vulgar, on-air attack against the young woman, who had sought to testify before Congress in a hearing about religious freedom, health insurance and contraception.
Sandra Fluke, a law student at Georgetown University, hoped to testify at a Congressional hearing in support of including contraception in health plans, but the chair of the all-male panel, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa of California, originally denied her request, saying the hearing was about religious freedom rather than contraception. The hearing was held to discuss President Obama’s mandate that employers in settings that have religious affiliations must offer birth control coverage in their employee health plans.
The entire context of the controversy surrounding Sandra Fluke’s testimony (which was finally given in an unofficially convened hearing, scheduled only after a national outcry) underscores the fact that women have yet to gain equality, or even dignity, in certain settings. It also points to the fact that much of what happens to women and their bodies is still controlled by men.
But enough of that, for the moment, let’s get back to Rush and his annoying mouth.
What Limbaugh Said: The remarks that caused an outrage are, indeed, outrageous. Limbaugh twisted Sandra Fluke’s support of insurance coverage for birth control into a claim that she wanted to be ‘paid to have sex.’
In case any listeners missed his point, Limbaugh clarified it for the audience by saying her request that ‘taxpayers’ pay for birth control made her a prostitute and a slut. How nice.
Limbaugh later went on to echo the recently repeated ‘bad joke’ of decades ago by issuing a generous offer to provide coeds with aspirin to put between their knees.
What a guy.
Sorry, Rush - that doesn't cut it!
Did Limbaugh apologize to Sandra Fluke? Apparently not
In the days since his last insertion of both feet in his mouth, and in the wake of a few sponsors leaving his show, Limbaugh made a token ‘apology,’ presumably to keep more money from flying out his window now that LegalZoom, Citrix Systems, ProFlowers, Sleep Train, Carbonite, Sleep Number, and Quicken Loans have bailed on him. Kudos to those firms, by the way, for doing what every advertiser in his stable should do.
Limbaugh’s alleged apology, though, was laughable. Or infuriating. Take your pick. As Forbes and other media outlets are terming it, it was a non-apology. Limbaugh, forced into a corner like a rabid skunk, made a statement to appease his criticizers.
Interspersed amongst a rambling dialogue that attempts to imply he was right all along, he says his ‘choice of words wasn’t the best,’ regarding Ms. Fluke’s testimony. He also tries to put his original comments in the category of a political joke; part of his history of verbally attacking ‘the absurd.’ He was trying to be ‘humorous.’
Sorry, Rush, that doesn’t cut it.
The absurdity in this entire incident is that sponsors pay high fees to subject the public to your comments over airwaves. The absurdity is that an all-male panel was charged with reviewing an issue that pivoted around the reproductive organs of women.
Smart sponsors have jumped ship to avoid being associated with Limbaugh
Kudos to the sponsors that have left Limbaugh's show
To their credit, those sponsors that have fled the scene haven’t let him off the hook. In addition to yanking sponsorship funds, each has issued a brief statement to let their clients and customers know how they feel.
Quicken Loans points out that Limbaugh has make ‘continued inflammatory comments’ in its statement about suspending ads. ProFlowers and Sleep Number point out that Limbaugh’s statements are contradictory to their corporate values (ProFlowers added the astute comment that his words ‘went beyond political discourse to a personal attack.’).
Carbonite’s position echoes the opinion that Limbaugh make a personal attack, stating that his remarks were ‘highly personal attacks on Ms. Fluke, overstepping any reasonable bounds of decency.’ The company then acknowledges the Limbaugh ‘apology’ (quotes added here), but apparently that wasn’t enough; ‘we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show.’
Sleep Train mentioned a thank you for community feedback as they dropped Limbaugh from their ad budget. Similarly, Citrix Systems said they ‘listened to’ their customers in deciding to cease advertising immediately.
LegalZoom went a step further, by clearly stating it does not endorse or support Limbaugh’s comments and has terminated all ‘current and future’ advertising.
A similar gaffe helped get Ann RIchards elected as Governor of Texas
Limbaugh isn't alone in his stupidity
Comments and crude jokes such as Limbaugh made have, appropriately, put nails in a few other public and political coffins in the past. In 1990, Texas businessman Clayton Williams, considered the front-runner in that year’s race for governor, damaged his campaign beyond repair by famously saying that a woman facing rape, if it was inevitable, should ‘relax and enjoy it.’ Williams apparently came from the same generation that suggested holding aspirin between the knees was effective and supportive guidance for young women trying to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.
Ann Richards, to quote a headline the day after the election, "Whupped him" and became governor of Texas.
Although separated by more than 20 years, the common theme in Willams’ and Limbaugh’s quotes is that it is appropriate to joke about women, their intimate lives, and intimacy in general. One wonders how a ‘conservative’ pundit or political candidate can wear the shoes of a gender bigot while claiming to walk the path of righteous indignation?
Boycott sponsors, not just a person or corporation
How to complain to sponsors
If you really want to effect change, consider hitting where it hurts. Twitter and other social networks are fine if you want to attend a group shouting-match. But why go through extra steps? Go to the sponsors!
Food maven Paula Deen lost her program due to sponsors bowing out after a recent scandal.
Find out who carries Limbaugh’s program in your area. Then complain directly to the station, network and, most especially, the sponsors.
Companies don’t pay to sponsor a program just for the fun of it; they expect clients and customers for their effort.
Several major firms have pulled their support from Limbaugh’s show as a result of the outcry. Here are some examples (and a brief plug to support them):
If you want online backup for your data, contact Carbonite. Need a good mattress? I’m recommending Sleep Train and Sleep Number (might go use them myself sometime soon). How about some software? Head to Citrix Systems and see if they can help you.
LegalZoom can assist you with any legal documentation you're wanting. Are you planning to send a bouquet anytime soon? Try ProFlowers. And don’t forget to check out Quicken Loans if you’re looking for a mortgage lender.
Companies that show integrity by pulling sponsorship from offensive programing deserve our support.