Rush Limbaugh says he was just joking – lighten up, you guys!
Rush Limbaugh is the master of the non-apology (remember his wishy-washy apologies to Michael J. Fox and Chelsea Clinton, amongst others?). And his way-too-late-to-even-count apology to Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke is no exception. Let us count the ways that his apology does not count:
- He’s only apologizing now because he’s lost seven major advertisers for his show and he’s been threatened with a libel suit. If he’s truly sorry about anything, it’s seeing money walk away.
- He claims that his comments were an “attempt to be humorous.” In other words, if only we all had a better sense of humor, we wouldn’t have got so upset.
- In his statement he doesn’t say that he was wrong to attack Sandra Fluke — he merely says that he “chose the wrong words” in his “analogy of the situation.” In other words, he totally meant what he said and if we weren’t such politically correct watch-dogs we wouldn’t have got upset.
- In his “apology” statement (below), there is a one-sentence luke-warm apology (“I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”), and then a paragraph-long defense of why he’s still right and why we shouldn’t be discussing “personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress.” As if Sandra Fluke was trying to tell us all about her booty call rules or something. In other words there is zero contrition here — he doesn’t even attempt to fake contrition!
- Ultimately, he is apologizing for the fact that people took offense to what he said. He’s not sorry he said it, he’s just sorry we’re so riled up about it.
Because nothing illustrates Limbaugh’s “absurdity” (his word, we can think of a few other ways to put it) than Limbaugh’s own statements, here’s the “apology” in full:
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.
But here’s another statement that makes us feel much better about the world — it’s from the CEO of former Limbaugh advertiser Carbonite, who explained why Limbaugh’s so-called apology isn’t enough to win back Carbonite’s business:
No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”
Because we’d also like to contribute to a more civilized public discourse, we will refrain from calling Limbaugh any names — though it would be tempting to then apologize tomorrow for our “insulting word choices” — and simply say that we couldn’t agree more. Money talks. And the more money Limbaugh loses, the less he’ll be able to talk.