Controversies over offensive remarks generally follow a trajectory: someone says something outrageous, which is followed by pushback, then defensiveness, and eventually, regret from the offender. Rush Limbaugh very likely thought he was following the usual arc when, on late Saturday afternoon, he issued an odd “apology” for his attacks against Sandra Fluke.
But the story clearly has not run its course, at least not yet.
And then there were nine. AOL Corp. became the latest sponsor to suspend ads on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show after the conservative shock-jock last week called a Georgetown University law student a “slut” and a “prostitute” for supporting wider availability to contraceptives.
“At AOL one of our core values is that we act with integrity. We have monitored the unfolding events and have determined that Mr. Limbaugh’s comments are not in line with our values. As a result we have made the decision to suspend advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Radio show,” AOL said Monday in a brief statement on its Facebook page.
Indeed, the story doesn’t appear to be fading away at all. Limbaugh was still talking about it on the air today – though he’s no longer on the offensive, and has instead reached the self-pity phase – and Fluke appeared on “The View” earlier to say the right-wing host’s statement doesn’t “change anything.”
As advertisers flee Limbaugh, that’s apparently true.
Indeed, the fight appears to be expanding. On one side, we see VoteVets releasing a letter today from a group of female veterans “calling on the American Forces Network to drop Rush Limbaugh from its programming.” On the other, some in the far-right media are taking a “Rally for Rush” line.
Greg Sargent noted that Limbaugh appears to have lost any semblance of control over the story, and his Saturday statement “has done absolutely nothing to reassure his sponsors or to quell the controversy.”
For Republicans who wish Limbaugh had kept his mouth shut from the beginning, this is not what the party wanted to hear.