Limbaugh's Apology Stank. What Did We Expect?

What Women Really Think
March 6 2012 1:15 PM

Limbaugh's Apology Stank. What Did We Expect?

Rush Limbaugh is a known quantity who operates in an alternate reality we can only observe.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Why are we so surprised at the evasive, self-important assholery of Rush Limbaugh’s apology to Sandra Fluke? (Fluke’s the Georgetown law student Limbaugh whom called a “slut” and “prostitute” for testifying in support of insurance-subsidized birth control.) The media are getting lots of mileage out of acting shocked—shocked—that the conservative radio host 1) didn’t really back down from his essential point that women who seek affordable contraception are parasitic hussies, 2) deflected blame for his remarks onto liberals who’ve lowered the level of political discourse, and 3) threw in some self-promotion, including a nod to his ability to “cause a national stir.”  

But what did we expect? Limbaugh is a straw man made flesh. Sure, it’s funny to dissect all the ways in which his apology falls short, but it’s also a waste of breath. There’s the usual argument that by getting outraged, we prove ourselves the perfect audience for Rush’s brand of incendiary bile. I’m hesitant to go there, because the initial anger at the host’s misogynistic comments was so productive: it caused the wave of advertising desertions that prompted the apology in the first place. But now that the damage is done, why does Limbaugh continue to make news? Isn’t our shock a little disingenuous? Can’t we just allow his predictably crass and unrepentant star to flicker out?


Expecting Rush Limbaugh to change his mind, especially in response to censure from the mainstream, makes no sense.  

Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer. 



The Democrats’ War at Home

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

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.