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. 


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

The World

Iran and the U.S. Are Allies

They’re just not ready to admit it yet.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

Farewell! Emily Bazelon on What She Will Miss About Slate.

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 4:08 PM More Than Scottish Pride Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 
Sept. 16 2014 2:35 PM Germany’s Nationwide Ban on Uber Lasted All of Two Weeks
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 1:27 PM The Veronica Mars Spinoff Is Just Amusing Enough to Keep Me Watching
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 1:48 PM Why We Need a Federal Robotics Commission
  Health & Science
Sept. 16 2014 4:09 PM It’s All Connected What links creativity, conspiracy theories, and delusions? A phenomenon called apophenia.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.