Unless you've been living in a cave for the past week or so, you have no doubt heard Rush Limbaugh's controversial remarks regarding Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student. Ms. Fluke made the unfortunate mistake of thinking that, as an American citizen, she had the right to address her elected representatives in congress to speak on the issue of women's reproductive rights without being harassed or slandered for it. First, she was denied the opportunity to even speak by the head of the all-male "hearing" on the issue, Republican Darrell Issa (R-CA). Then, after she was refused the opportunity to present the sole, female voice on the subject of women's reproductive health, Rush Limbaugh took it upon himself to go after Ms. Fluke personally.
"What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex." - Rush Limbaugh
So, first Limbaugh states that asking for contraception coverage under one's insurance policy makes a woman a "prostitute". Specifically, he said that "Susan" Fluke was a slut and a prostitute because she wanted her contraceptives to be covered by her insurance - like they are for every other woman who doesn't work for a church-owned business or attends a church-run university. Then, Rush doubled down on his comments in the days that followed.
"So, Ms. Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here's the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I'll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch." - Rush LimbaughThis is where Rush betrayed his shocking ignorance about the way female birth control even works. Rush equated the cost of birth control with the amount of birth control that must be used and then went even further into "I don't know what the fuck I'm even talking about, but I won't let that stop me from running my fat mouth" territory by stating that the high cost of said birth control was due to the excessive amount of sex Ms. Fluke and other women with similar contraceptive costs must be having in order to use so much birth control. Through his choice of insults, Rush implied that the more sex a woman has, the more birth control she uses, which is obviously not the way women's contraception works.
"Who bought your condoms in junior high? Who bought your condoms in the sixth grade? Or your contraception. Who bought your contraceptive pills in high school?" - Rush LimbaughRush was on a roll! He just couldn't stop personally attacking a woman for having the audacity to speak on the subject of reproductive health. Beyond just betraying his own ignorance about the subject he was speaking on as if he were any kind of authority, Rush's comments also harkened back to a time, not all that long ago in our history, where women were subjected to similar insults for daring to ask for equal rights in the workplace and society at large. During the women's lib movement of the late 60's and early 70's, women were called "sluts" and "prostitutes" for wanting equal work for equal pay, for wanting the same rights as their male counterparts and for wanting to aspire to be more than just a sub servant housewife in a male dominated society. Rush's remarks went right to the heart of that grossly misogynistic period that we thought had been put to rest over 3 decades ago.
Well, the backlash was swift and severe from advertisers. As of this post, 30 sponsors have pulled their ads from Limbaugh's show and 2 affiliate stations have dropped Limbaugh's show from their stations. Limbaugh went on the air and delivered a weak, insincere apology to try and appease the money men and stop the hemorrhaging, but it didn't fly with Ms. Fluke or anyone else who heard it... except, of course, for conservatives.
In the past few days, conservatives have come out of the woodwork to defend Rush's ignorant and hateful comments. From the usual suspects like fellow talk radio dipshits Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck to random dumbasses who actually think Rush was justified in his baseless personal attacks. Fox News has really taken up the cause of defending the mouth of the conservative movement, going so far as to float a conspiracy theory that the Democratic party orchestrated the entire thing as part of a diabolical and insidious agenda to take Limbaugh down and do as much damage to the Republican party as possible in the process. Bill O'Reilly has repeated this theory on his show and used the typical Fox News double-speak of citing ambiguous, anonymous sources and stating opinion as fact.
The other prong of the conservative counterattack is the all too common tactic of blaming the left for doing the exact same thing and "getting way with it". Conservatives love playing the victim, when they're not busy accusing liberals of doing it, that is. In the past couple days, conservatives have used both Bill Maher and Ed Schultz as examples of how political commentators on the left do the same thing Rush did and aren't punished at all for their misbehavior. Of course, facts have never stood in the way of a good, self-righteous conservative pontification before, so why should this situation be any different? However, history has a pesky way of exposing these heaping loads of horse shit that conservatives insist on piling on whenever they find themselves backed into a corner and in need of a way out.
Bill Maher is the main name that I have heard tossed around as an example of how "the left gets away with it, but the right never does!" However, here are the facts:
BIll Maher was the host of "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher" on ABC when he got in trouble for a comment he made about the 9/11 hijackers shortly after the attacks on his show. Maher was speaking with conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza about the hijackers when he said
"We have been the cowards. Lobbing cruise missiles from two thousand miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building. Say what you want about it. Not cowardly. You're right."Shortly after making this statement, advertisers began pulling out, just like they're doing with Limbaugh. Of course, Maher's comments weren't a personal attack against anyone and they were limited to exactly that sentence and nothing more. Limbaugh's remarks about Sandra Fluke comprised the majority of his show for 3 full days - nearly 9 hours of programming - dedicated solely to slandering one private citizen.
The other difference is that Bill Maher was FIRED for his comments. Maher's contract with ABC was not renewed and he found himself out of work as a consequence of the comment he made. A comment, incidentally, which is comparatively extremely tame in the context of comments and statements that have been made publicly by actors, comedians, talk show hosts and even politicians since then.
So, the comparison between Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher is a weak one, unless the point of said comparison is to show how "when 'liberals' do it, they lose their jobs, but when conservatives do it, their party circles the wagons to defend them." But, I don't think that's the point that the victim-playing conservatives were trying to make here.
Ed Schultz is the other name I've been hearing on the lips of conservative Limbaugh defenders. Schultz got in trouble for calling conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham a "right wing slut" and a "talk slut" during his May 24, 2011 broadcast. After a number of women's groups, including the Women's Media Center called for the hosts suspension, Schultz issued an on-air apology, not just to Ingraham personally, but to "any ladies out there who were offended that I used that term." Ingraham accepted Schultz's apology, saying
"Ed Schultz said something about me on his show that was not all that nice, to say the least. It was pretty crude. He apologized, and I accept his apology. It seemed heartfelt, it seemed like he really wished he hadn’t said it and I accept that apology” - Laura IngrahamThis wasn't enough for Schultz, however, and he voluntarily offered to be suspended, without pay, by MSNBC for a week.
So, yet again, another example of how, when a "liberal" made a controversial and offensive remark on his show, he was punished in a more severe manner than Limbaugh has been so far. Of course, Laura Ingraham apparently has a fuzzy memory, because she has personally dug up her incident with Ed Schultz to defend Rush. Apparently, she forgot that Schultz apologized to her personally and that she publicly accepted it in a very gracious manner, because she's right on board with the rest of the conservatives, perpetuating this myth that conservatives always get picked on by the "liberal media" while liberals can get away with murder.
Limbaugh apologized on the air, but he only apologized for "saying those two words", referring to calling Ms. Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute". However, Rush didn't apologize for implying that Ms. Fluke is extremely sexually promiscuous or that he demanded that Ms. Fluke and all other women who want their birth control covered by insurance film their sexual activity and post those videos publicly for his personal entertainment. He didn't apologize for saying Ms. Fluke was "having so much sex, it's amazing she can still walk" or that he wanted to establish a "Wilt Chamberlain scholarship, exclusively for women" at Georgetown University. Basically, Rush's "apology" was the bare minimum he could possibly get away with and still technically call it an apology. He said what he said solely for the purpose of appeasing the people who cut him a check and any consideration for Ms. Fluke is merely an afterthought.
This is why Sandra Fluke smartly rejected Limbaugh's apology, because she knew it was empty and insincere. This is also why advertisers are continuing to bail on Linbaugh's show like rats from a sinking ship. Even as conservatives continue to rally around their rotund prophet of the daytime airwaves, the damage continues to be done. The mainstream conservative media has taken up Limbaugh's torch of trying to impugn Sandra Fluke's character, calling her an "activist" and implying that she was part of a liberal agenda to discredit Rush and anyone who agrees with him.
This is what happens when you dare to criticize the conservative ideology, though - first you are personally attacked and discredited in every possible way, then if someone on the right goes too far in attacking you, the rest of the party rallies around them and accuses everyone else of practicing some imaginary double-standard and bullies them into backing off. This is what they've done with everyone from disgraced politicians like John Ensign and David Vitters to Herman Cain and now Rush. Conservatives bully the other side into backing off. They accuse the left of doing what the right has already done to create a false equivalency, to act as if what the left does is exactly the same as what the right did, even though it clearly isn't.
When John Ensign was the center of not only a sexual scandal, but an ethics one as well, conservatives used Anthony Weiner and John Edwards as examples of how "the left does it too!" and create a false equivalency between Ensign having sex with the married wife of a campaign staffer and then trying to pay off all parties involved and Anthony Weiner sending an underwear pic to a female admirer. Of course, the difference is that Weiner lost his job and was unceremoniously drummed out of politics, while Ensign has moved into a lucrative lobbying career. Similarly, with Vitters, conservatives pointed to John Edwards and his well-publicized affair and deception to act as if both offenses were equal and somehow Vitters was being unfairly punished, relative to what happened to Edwards. Well, lest history once again be re-written by the right, John Edwards became a pariah after the details of his affair became public knowledge. He was divorced, lost his bid for president in a spectacular fashion, was shamed not only out of politics, but out of the public eye entirely and his name is now synonymous with the most horrible caricature of the lecherous, deviant politician. In contrast, David Vitters - who cheated on his wife with numerous prostitutes, which he often would set up appointments with from the floor of congress, while voting - still has his job. So yeah, once again, history betrays the total bullshit that the right continues to spew regarding a moral double standard. I mean, yes, there is a HUGE moral double standard in the media, but it favors the right, not the left.
So yeah, sorry Rush, but fuck you. See, I apologized first, so it totally makes it ok for me to say whatever I want. I mean, since I am a progressive, I shouldn't have to worry anyway, as I can say whatever I want about anyone at any time and the "liberal media" will embrace me like a warm, impenetrable blanket and insulate me from any scrutiny whatsoever. So, bolstered by the completely biased support of the liberal media machine, I just want to say once again, fuck you, Rush, I hope you lose your job and overdose on Oxycotin. Maybe if you put one of those Oxy's between your lips, you could lose some weight? Then maybe you'd be skinny enough to have enough sex to understand how birth control works? Obviously you know how Viagra works, because you have confused the birth control pill's mechanics with the little blue boner pill. You are a fat, ignorant drug addict. And now, I will say "I'm sorry for using those two words" and that will make everything I just said ok.