Not everyone accepts Rush Limbaugh's apology
By Martha T. Moore, USA TODAY
Under attack from all sides, conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh apologized Monday for calling a female law student a "slut" and a "prostitute," but it was not enough to stop a stream of advertisers on his nationally syndicated radio show from dropping him.
"I've always tried to maintain a very high degree of integrity and independence on this program," Rush Limbaugh says.
The intensity of the conflict reflects not only the usual skittishness of advertisers, who hate controversy even when they deliberately choose a controversial show, but also the volatile political climate during a Republican primary that, to Democrats' delight, has veered into sensitive social issues.
Republicans including House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich all said Limbaugh owed the woman an apology. Conservative pundit David Frum called Limbaugh's conduct "a new kind of low."
"This was not a case of a bad 'word choice.' It was a brutally sexualized accusation, against a specific person, prolonged over three days," he wrote Monday on CNN.com
But some conservatives, including former presidential contender Michele Bachmann, denounced what they saw as a double standard that punishes conservative commentators more harshly than liberal talk-show hosts. And Republican groups, including a pro-Gingrich super PAC, said they would continue to advertise on the show.
Limbaugh devoted at least half an hour of his three-hour show Monday to reiterating his apology to Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown University law student — while restating his opposition to her call for contraception to be covered by health insurance. Limbaugh had been thoroughly criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike since his comment Wednesday that Fluke was a "prostitute" because, he said, she wanted to be paid to have sex.
"Against my own instincts, against my own knowledge, against everything I know to be right and wrong, I descended to their level (the political left) when I used those two words to describe Sandra Fluke," Limbaugh said. "And I feel very badly about that. I've always tried to maintain a very high degree of integrity and independence on this program."
Limbaugh had issued a written apology Saturday but reiterated it on his program. "I again sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her. I do not think she is either of those two words. I did not think last week that she was either of those two words."
At least a dozen companies, including AOL, Allstate and Sears, said Monday that they would no longer advertise on Limbaugh's show, which reaches an estimated 15 million listeners weekly. Tractor maker John Deere, solar panel maker Verengo Solar and postage website Stamps.com ran ads during Monday's broadcast, as aired on WABC radio in New York, the largest station carrying the show, but the three companies said Monday afternoon that they would no longer advertise.
Stamps.com spokesman Eric Nash said in an e-mail that "Rush Limbaugh's recent comments do not align with our company values, and as such, Stamps.com has suspended advertising on the Rush Limbaugh radio program."
On air, Limbaugh joked about the pulled ads, saying he had tried to call his own show to cancel his own ads but couldn't get through.
Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks has Limbaugh under contract through 2016. "We respect the right of Mr. Limbaugh, as well as the rights of those who disagree with him, to express those opinions. The contraception debate is one that sparks strong emotion and opinions on both sides of the issue," the company said in a statement. "We believe he did the right thing on Saturday, and again this morning on his radio show, by expressing regret for his choice of words and offering his sincere and heartfelt apology to Ms. Fluke."
The battle over contraception stems from a new rule issued by the Obama adminstration requiring most employers to offer health insurance that includes coverage for contraceptives. After intense criticism from Catholic groups and Republicans, the adminstration amended the rule, placing responsibility for birth control coverage on insurance providers instead.
On Monday, Limbaugh reiterated his argument that Fluke is being used by Democrats to shift discussion from the constitutional requirement of religious freedom to access to contraception, which he called "Page 1a of the Democratic playbook: Republicans hate women."
Limbaugh's apology was not meaningful, Fluke said Monday on ABC's The View. It was made "under significant pressure from his sponsors, who have begun to pull their support," she said.
By Janet Van Ham, HBO, via AP
Talk-show host Bill Maher used offensive sexual terminology to describe Sarah Palin. He has been criticized by the National Organization for Women but continues to appear in his show.
'Delivery was degrading'http://www.usatoday.com/video/1490369296001?csp=taboola
A Hawaii radio station, KPUA, dropped Limbaugh's show. "Regardless of one's political views on the issue , we feel the delivery was degrading and the continued comments over several days to be egregious," New West Broadcasting Corp.'s president and general manager, Chris Leonard, said in a statement to the Associated Press.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, calling Limbaugh part of a "Republican war on women," said it had gotten 300,000 people to sign a petition demanding an apology. Musician Peter Gabriel, whose Sledgehammer played during Limbaugh's show, told the show host to stop using his music.
Limbaugh predicted Monday that the lost advertising would be replaced and said that he had previously rejected "millions of dollars" in ads that would be unacceptable to his audience.
Punishments for wayward broadcasters vary. In 2007, morning radio host Don Imus, whose show frequently featured political guests including Sen. John McCain and Sen. Chris Dodd, was fired by CBS Radio after he called the championship-winning Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos," although he had apologized on the air and in person. On Monday, he called Limbaugh's apology "lame."
Talk-show host Bill Maher, who recently donated $1 million to President Obama's super PAC, used offensive sexual terminology to describe Sarah Palin on his HBO show last year. He has been criticized by the National Organization for Women (as has Limbaugh) but continues to appear in his show on the cable network — which, as Maher pointed out, is financed by viewers' fees, not advertising.
"I don't have sponsors," Maher said when the Limbaugh controversy broke.
But Tim Graham of the Media Research Center, a conservative media-watching group, said "it's very easy to make a big, huge list" of Maher's offensive comments. But "nobody says to him, 'Um, are you going to take that back?' That's the problem, that we have a complete and total double standard."
As a result, he said, Limbaugh's standing in the conservative community will not change. "I don't think that somehow Limbaugh is some radioactive zone," Graham said. "The apology, certainly by conservatives, is an accepted thing, and they can move on."
Limbaugh does not regularly have guests on his show, but Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, touted as a potential vice presidential nominee, was a guest last summer, and his spokesman said Monday that he would appear again "if invited."
Bachmann, R-Minn., who dropped out of the presidential race in January, told CNN that conservative women are denigrated by liberal commentators without consequences. "I have never seen this level of outrage on the left about what left-leaning commentators said about me," Bachmann said in an interview that was set to air Monday on Piers Morgan Tonight.http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/story/2012-03-05/rush-limbaugh-apology/53375858/1
I always knew you were going to get caught up in your web of deceit and lies one day, you filthy pervert!!
It's called "Karma" you disgusting bag of vile filth. And no one deserves it more then you do, you bag of wind.