Rush Limbaugh doesn’t apologize often, but with several of his show’s advertisers abandoning him, the right-wing host issued a “statement” late Saturday, explaining that he “chose the wrong words,” and “did not mean a personal attack” on Sandra Fluke. Limbaugh concluded that he was trying to be “humorous,” adding, “I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”
But problems persist. Rachel explained on the show Friday night that Limbaugh apparently doesn’t understand contraception policy, and in his statement, the host still seems confused.
“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.”
At the risk of belaboring the point, the Republican host needs to brush up on the basics. Fluke never had any intention of “discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress” ’; preventive health care is in no way similar to sneakers; those who use contraception are taking “personal responsibility”; and to call issues of sexual health “social activities” is absurd.
Indeed, Fluke, before Limbaugh targeted her, tried to share the story of a classmate who needed contraception for the treatment of ovarian cysts – which are neither “social” nor “recreational.” Limbaugh not only launched a scathing attack against a college student who didn’t deserve the verbal assault, he did so based on an ignorant premise.
Going forward, there are a couple of other angles to keep an eye on. The first is whether Limbaugh’s disjointed apology satiates critics and brings fleeing advertisers back to his show.
The second is the reaction from other prominent conservatives, including Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, who voiced support for Limbaugh before Saturday’s retreat. Putting aside questions of sincerity and advertiser demands, if Limbaugh now regrets his misogynistic tirades, do his conservative backers now regret their defenses?