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Has Rush Limbaugh finally gone too far?

Has Rush Limbaugh finally gone too far? - After the flak over comments made about student Sandra Fluke, many believe the answer is yes.

From the time Sandra Fluke requested to go before Congress to speak on women's healthcare issues and how a mandate required employers to offer contraception as part of their insurance options, Rush Limbaugh has had her in his radar.

Ms. Fluke never got to speak before the full Congress because a special committee of all men was formed to discuss women's healthcare issues. Yes, that's right, an all-male panel that would not allow a woman to be part of discussions. Ms. Fluke did testify in front of a Democratic subcommittee. The full testimony can be viewed here. In her testimony Ms. Fluke spoke of her Jesuit college student healthcare program not covering birth control pills and the costs in money and other health issues for which the medications are also used, for herself and many friends.
In her testimony she said: 
"In the media lately, conservative Catholic organizations have been asking: what did we expect when we enrolled at a Catholic school?  We can only answer that we expected women to be treated equally, to not have our school create untenable burdens that impede our academic success.  We expected that our schools would live up to the Jesuit creed of cura personalis, to care for the whole person, by meeting all of our medical needs.  We expected that when we told our universities of the problems this policy created for students, they would help us.  We expected that when 94% of students opposed the policy, the university would respect our choices regarding insurance students pay for completely unsubsidized by the university.  We did not expect that women would be told in the national media that if we wanted comprehensive insurance that met our needs, not just those of men, we should have gone to school elsewhere, even if that meant a less prestigious university. We refuse to pick between a quality education and our health, and weresent that, in the 21st century, anyone thinks it’s acceptable to ask us to make this choice simply because we are women." 

Since her testimony Rush Limbaugh has been unmerciful in his criticizing of Ms. Fluke. He has continued to falsely assert that the government should not be paying for Ms. Fluke's medication and confusing this issue with the larger "Obamacare" issue. For days on end Limbaugh went on about Ms. Fluke, calling her a "prostitute," "promiscuous," and other slurs and saying she should post sex videos online for everyone to watch since "we" are paying for her to have sex.

The majority of the public recoiled in disgust at Limbaugh's comments and as he continued to pound these points over and over. He issued a weak apology over the weekend in which he continued on a long partisan rant, continuing to misstake we are paying for these medications and taking jabs at the Obama administration.

It didn't end there. On Monday, it became obvious how sorry Limbaugh really is as he continued to make jokes and grandstand about the issue.

"Against my own instincts, against my own knowledge, against everything I know to be right and wrong, I descended to their level when I used those two words to describe Sandra Fluke," he said.

"The apology to her over the weekend was sincere," he said

Limbaugh then spent an inordinate amount of time Monday attempting to put his past ridicule of Fluke into political perspective. In doing so, he dismissed her as "a 30-year-old birth control activist" who gave "unverified and inexpert testimony about how Georgetown's long-standing and public policy has hurt her unnamed friends."

"If you know the place doesn't offer contraceptives when you sign up, and that is your big political issue, then why are you really there?" Limbaugh asked. "They are intentionally targeting schools like Georgetown to advance an agenda of ultimately forcing them to abandon their religious beliefs." Link here

The public and sponsors of the Rush Limbaugh show have started to take action. As of the close of business on Monday, March 5, at least 12 sponsors have pulled their advertising from Limbaugh's show. At least one radio station has stopped airing the show completely.  

Some conservative pundits ask why is it different for Limbaugh to say these things, when commedians such as Bill Maher have said things about Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman using foul language. The difference is Bill Maher, a commedian and known independent, is on HBO, a pay network. There are no sponsors and no airing of his shows over the public airwaves. Rush Limbaugh is a well-known, highly rated conservative political commentator who has considerable influence over the Republican base. Local stations that broadcast across public airwaves lease their signals from the FCC and are required to operate in the best interest of the community. Thus, they have a larger responsibility to see the content of their programing is not inflammatory, slanderous or defaming the character of a private citizen who happened to testify before a subcommittee.

Two GOP candidates issued statements against Limbaugh's actions, but Mitt Romney has yet to issue a statement. Old guards of the Republican party, such as Senator John McCain have made strong statements against Limbaugh. Perhaps David Frum of CNN summed it up best in his article entitled "Are we being fair to Rush Limbaugh?":

Most fundamentally, why the impulse to counter one outrageous stunt by rummaging through the archives in search of some supposedly offsetting outrageous stunt? Why not respond to an indecent act on its own terms, and then — if there's another indecency later — react to that too, and on its own terms?

Instead, public life is reduced to a revenge drama. Each offense is condoned by reference to some previous offense by some undefined "them" who supposedly once did something even worse, or anyway nearly as bad, at some point in the past.

But this latest Limbaugh outburst is so "piggish," to borrow a word from Peggy Noonan, as to overwhelm the revenge drama. (On Saturday, Limbaugh apologized "for the insulting word choices.")

It is the bottom of the barrel of shock talk.

And the good news is that from the bottom of the barrel, there is nowhere to go but up.


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

HarfordLassie March 12, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Nope, the public and marketplace will decide Rush's fate, whether it be to complaints to the FCC or to advertisers. It was the downfall of many others including Imus, Maher, Beck, Olbermann and more. Time will tell in this area. I would take on your comments about conservatives wanting more personal freedom with a long laundry list of recent legislation that's been introduced by republicans in the past 2 years to limit choice and personal freedom but that's not the issue here. This is about Rush Limbaugh and whether or not he has reached that same place of public disgust as the others that are no longer on the public airwaves. Regardless of your political leanings, anyone who supports calling a private citizen a slut and a prostitute and demanding they put sex videos online because they don't agree with their political views is as low as Rush IMO.
AG March 12, 2012 at 08:10 PM
What you are saying is true about the entrenched Republicans. While the Democrats really are cornering the market on denying personal liberty, the entrenched Republicans are not that far behind. I think that is why you are seeing little support for Romney from real conservatives, and the fanatic support for Ron Paul.
AG March 12, 2012 at 08:13 PM
The question is not whether I support Rush. The question is whether I want the government, using its typical heavy handed style, to fix it. If Rush is too disgusting for the American people, they will stop listening. I stopped a long time ago. But I don't want the government to stop Limbaugh, I want the free market to stop him.
HarfordLassie March 12, 2012 at 08:30 PM
AG, the government can't stop Limbaugh. They can't even cancel his show. They can fine the station that originates his show, and others that carry it, at which point the stations can appeal the ruling, or decide the cost of keeping Limbaugh on the air is bad for business. 191 advertisers across all the stations that air his show have expressed that they do not want their ads in his show. Without advertising revenue to support the financial cost of his show, the free market will take over and put something else in it's place. That's a major financial hit to any station. It's the station that holds the responsibility for what they are sending across public airwaves, not Limbaugh. The station could cease to exist and Limbaugh can still find outlets on cable/satellite for his "free speech" that are not regulated by the FCC. History shows us that even being on those outlets is no guarantee a show won't be dumped as a liability of doing business. Unless it's a pay channel like HBO, there are still advertisers to pay the bills.. Rush's free speech is no more protected than yours or mine but none of us is entitled to a 3 hour window of broadcast airtime to voice our opinions.
AG March 12, 2012 at 08:46 PM
If advertisers flee and that forces Limbaugh off the air, that is the free market. This is the way it should be. You are stating you know whats best for others, and you want the government to enforce your will on others.
HarfordLassie March 12, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Nope, wrong again. What I am stating is there are rules and regulations on all stations that have been assigned a frequency for broadcasting completely free on the public airwaves, with the understanding they operate within those rules and regulations. I think people get tripped up on what is public airwaves versus cable, satellite or even Internet stations. If you are riding down the road and can pick up a local station on your radio without going through a service like Sirius, it's more than likely operating on public airwaves. WCBM (680). WBAL (1090) locally are a couple examples of conservative radio stations that use the public airwaves. They may also stream their broadcasts online or on a cable/satellite system, but they are licensed as a local station broadcasting on public airwaves.. These rules are nothing new. They cover things like family hour in prime when certain content cannot air on TV, the amount of advertising that can run in kids programs, equal time for actual political ads and more. They have relaxed a lot of the earlier restrictions but stations still have a 5 second delay for inappropriate language and a split second shot of a wardrobe malfunction can levy heavy fines. In that vein, Rush's comments could be cited and the stations fined. It ultimately comes down to the station and how much risk/cost they are willing to take to keep him on the air. Advertisers care about people that buy their products, not Limbaugh.
AG March 12, 2012 at 09:55 PM
AND YOU WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Government, Government, Government, Government, Government, Government, Government, Government, Government, Government, Government.
HarfordLassie March 12, 2012 at 10:12 PM
If it violates the current rules and regulations, yes, action should be taken, but that's not my call. My own personal belief is the power of the people and the marketplace have more of an affect on the outcome than anything else.
AG March 12, 2012 at 10:31 PM
They why are you advocating Government action. If you really believed your second sentence you would be talking about why the FCC has too many rules and we need to reduce the bureacracy
HarfordLassie March 12, 2012 at 10:57 PM
I think there is a place for rules and regulations for extremes in behavior/language on public airwaves, and the current ones are minimal. Should the FCC deem Rush's comments fall outside those rules and regulations they will cite the station and issue fines. It's no different than other times they have fined stations for other violations. Using the public airwaves is a privilege, not a right. There are only so many broadcast frequencies to go around and a lot of other companies would love to have that frequency to broadcast their "free speech" and make a lot of $$$ like the ones that have them do now. They are a valuable commodity. These stations also make up the EBS system for use in the event of a threat on the country. When Internet, cable and phones went down on 9/11, those public airwaves stations continued to broadcast, and are the only government link to inform the public of emergency instructions. I am much more concerned with the Patriot Act which allows the feds to come into my home at any time and monitor anything I personally do on the net in the name of "security". Likewise the TSA's invasive security checks take away the right to being innocent until proven guilty. Add to that the new legislation that we can be detained at any time for any length of time without trial as a possible "terrorists" and you have a huge invasion on our rights and privacy. There are much bigger issues than whether or not Rush Limbaugh gets cited by the FCC.
HarfordLassie March 12, 2012 at 11:18 PM
I think a case could be made that it's hate speech.
Karl Schuub March 12, 2012 at 11:35 PM
No way to have a government entity act as the speech police and have it not end up being political. If you don't see that you're an idiot.
HarfordLassie March 12, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Here's a list of all of the fines levied by the FCC for indecency. Using your argument most are "free speech" http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/business/graphics/web-fcc970.html
HarfordLassie March 12, 2012 at 11:46 PM
Here are some other fines- http://www.broadcastlawblog.com/articles/fcc-fines/
Christine March 13, 2012 at 02:42 AM
Wasn't George Bush president when FCC had to step in because of a wardrobe malfunction? Nipples don't speak, but apparently they are more offensive than calling a person a slut and a prostitute. I do not like Ms. Joan, but I'll have to side with her on this one. Luckily we have the Bel Air Patch where people like Karl Schuub can call someone they disagree with a 'natzi' and an 'idiot' without being censored.
Karl Schuub March 13, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Being a "speech natzi" isn't exactly the same as being a natzi...most people understand that meaning in it's context and to your other claim I never called anyone an idiot in particular; that statement wasn't a tag onto anybody else's statement. Let's not make it up as we go along because that would be hyperbole not grounded in actual intent or actual statement. My goodness, I didn't claim I didn't like someone, only that I don't like someone's beliefs. You tell me which is worse?
HarfordLassie March 13, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Interesting commentary about Rush, how his show is positioned, advertiser exodus and 2 week National ad suspension. Something for everyone. http://thepoliticalcarnival.net/2012/03/13/video-the-last-word-lawrence-odonnell-on-national-advertisers-suspending-ads-on-rush/
Christine March 13, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Karl, you ignorant slut...
AG March 13, 2012 at 05:47 PM
This whole thing is about political mudslinging http://dailycaller.com/2012/03/10/o%E2%80%99reilly-sandra-flukes-boyfriend-son-of-democratic-stalwart-william-mutterperl/
HarfordLassie March 13, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Thanks for the opinion piece AG. It is interesting but none of it excuses Rush Limbaugh's behavior and words. The only person responsible for them is Rush.
HarfordLassie March 13, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Christine, I'm not sure Karl will get teh SNL reference
Karl Schuub March 13, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Wow Christine...that's pretty darn amazing. If you think I'm replying in kind you're dead wrong. This isn't about agreeing with Rush Limbaugh nor thinking it's OK to call someone a slut but being very much against a knee-jerk leftist tendency to demand those with whom they disagree be silenced. I do hope the administrators notice your charming pet name as you see I would be much different than you and would not suggest you be silenced in a public forum regardless of how childish and ill suited your language may be.
Phil Dirt March 14, 2012 at 01:15 AM
So, how can she afford all of her travels around the country blaring her story if she can't afford contraception? And why isn't this 'law student' actually attending classes at her law school? Nah, this whole stunt of hers couldn't possibly have been orchestrated by the Democrats. Nothing to see here, move along.
Christine March 14, 2012 at 01:23 AM
You were right, Joan. Karl did not get the cultural reference. Come on, that was classic SNL. Glad I didn't call him a pompous ass. Sorry, you don't get it Karl and sorry Joan I said I didn't like you. I did not like some of your previous blogs but I don't know you in person, so I may actually like you if I ever met you. Who knows....
Christine March 14, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Are you in favor of denying birth control to women, Mr. Dirt?
Phil Dirt March 14, 2012 at 03:15 AM
No, every man and woman should have the right to purchase birth control or, if they can't afford it, to receive it from a clinic.
Christine March 14, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Do you think Ms. Sandra Fluke is a slut and a prostitute?
Phil Dirt March 14, 2012 at 07:02 AM
No, i don't think she is a slut or a prostitute, nor do I think she is simply a naive student who can't afford contraceptives. I think she is a 30 year old political activist with an agenda. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
j johnson (formerly jj) March 19, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Do you think she got the Sienfeld reference?
Christine March 19, 2012 at 04:35 PM
jj, that was days ago. Where have you been? I got Phil's Seinfeld reference and appreciated it (-: btw - This thread is over. Move on to the next topic.

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