Limbaugh’s website has “A Statement from Rush” that has been widely misreported as an apology for his now-famous sliming of Ms. Fluke. The original piece of schweinerei has to my knowledge attracted a clear, unambiguous condemnation from three (3) Republicans of any note: George Will, Peggy Noonan, and a senator in a tight Massachusetts race. Eric Cantor, like many others, seems to be under the illusion that Limbaugh has apologized, and that that takes care of the whole affair, so it’s important to clarify. [update 5/III: Adele Stan had an excellent dissection of the apology up yesterday morning]
The statement itself suffers a little from the difficulty Mr. Limbaugh, or some intern who drafted it, has with diction (analogy is like, different from analysis, but hey, the first four letters are enough for anyone who isn’t a pointyheaded pedant, right? And they’re both goddam Greek to me, har har), and a spectacular detachment from facts. First we get some trampling of the grass about absurdity, and “I chose the wrong words….I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.” I guess there are other words for a promiscuous woman and one who sells sex for money than slut and prostitute, but the words are not what needs the apology: he slandered Fluke with the characterization no matter how it was phrased. At whom did he mean to aim the personal attack? Or did he intend some other kind of attack, or perhaps a kindly avuncular supportive counseling type of interaction and it just came out sort of different?
Completely omitted is any reference to his public appeal for pornography (the sex tapes) and his implicit suggestion that his listeners would like some as well (“…so that we [sic] can watch.”). Rush is on the air in the morning; is this Clear Channel’s idea of family stuff, or are they just trying to be sure parents have plenty of opportunity to practice their personal responsibility and accountability?
Then we get a lecture about using public funds for recreation, in which he shares his complete ignorance of how insurance works and either (i) misapprehends who pays for the track in the park (or the sidewalks) where students and others run to keep fit, or (ii) forgets to fulminate about how government streets are trashing our personal responsibility and accountability. He seems to think he “posited” [no, intern, that word doesn’t mean “say”, sigh] that it’s not our business “to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom”; he posited it by, um, asserting to his audience of millions that Georgetown students are having so much sex that they can’t afford contraception. To be fair, he did not say they were having it in bedrooms, so maybe a smart lawyer can get him a pass on that one.
Finally, he makes sure to specify again that his apology is for insulting word choices.
No, he didn’t apologize. He didn’t almost apologize, or sort of apologize but maybe not enough, or apologize inartfully or ineptly: he very explicitly did not apologize for the slander he visited on Fluke and on every woman using contraceptives for any reason. He maybe didn’t deserve to be fired for the first pass, but he certainly leaped across the Mendoza line, and then ran back and did it again, in his followups.
Now, what about armed forces radio: the government has to put out some programming and not all programming, so carrying Rush is a choice. Is this choice improving the morale of women in uniform, and unit cohesion?