Rush Limbaugh Apologizes, But Still Doesn’t Understand His Mistake

What Women Really Think
March 3 2012 6:36 PM

Rush Limbaugh Apologizes, But Still Doesn’t Understand His Mistake

96234369
Rush Limbaugh.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Yesterday, I wrote about the backlash to Rush Limbaugh’s recent misogynistic statements against Georgetown Law School student Sandra Fluke, who testified back in Feburary in front of a Democrat-lead panel on President Obama’s birth control mandate. I summarize the whole story in that post, but the long and short of it is that Limbaugh called Fluke a “slut” and crassly demanded to see tapes of all the sex she was having with the benefit of the pill. Though Limbaugh’s provocations aren’t normally newsworthy, the mesmerizing caddishness of this particular statement seems to have been a step too far. Some sponsors of Limbaugh’s show have already withdrawn their ads, and my social media feeds are filled with calls for further boycotts.

J. Bryan Lowder J. Bryan Lowder

J. Bryan Lowder is a Slate assistant editor. He writes and edits for Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section, and for the culture section.

Apparently the threat of losing cigar money got Limbaugh’s attention; on Saturday, he quietly released an apology on his website, reproduced in full below:

Advertisement

For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week.  In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

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.

My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.

Fascinating stuff, this document. For one, I’m not sure that directly calling someone a slut constitutes an “analogy,” but we’ll leave Limbaugh’s literary acumen alone.

What’s more interesting is his complete refusal to recognize that the uproar around his statements isn’t just about name-calling, but rather his offensive misunderstanding of the importance and uses of birth control. As I wrote on Friday, Fluke’s own testimony was not about her sex life, but rather the painful experience of watching a friend who was forced to have an ovary removed because she couldn’t afford the pill, which, of course, has many medical uses aside from contraception. Many women depend on birth control, not for “social activities,” but for their basic health. And it is in light of his abject ignorance of female biology that Limbaugh’s willingness to demean a woman becomes truly outrageous. This apology only brings that ignorance into sharper relief. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

How Did the Royals Win Despite Bunting So Many Times? Bunting Is a Terrible Strategy.

Catacombs Where You Can Stroll Down Hallways Lined With Corpses

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Trending News Channel
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  News & Politics
Crime
Oct. 1 2014 4:15 PM The Trials of White Boy Rick A Detroit crime legend, the FBI, and the ugliness of the war on drugs.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
Outward
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 4:46 PM Ebola Is No Measles. That’s a Good Thing. Comparing this virus to scourges of the past gives us hope that we can slow it down.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?