“I incredulously listened to the segment in your show in which you repeatedly and offensively used the term ‘retard; in reference to our meeting with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel,” Special Olympics chief Tim Shriver wrote in a letter to Limbaugh today, asking that he invite Special Olympics athlete Loretta Claiborne onto his show to explain the pain the word causes.
“In my own experience, when I ask people – be they first graders or media figures – to join in stopping the casual use of the word “retarded”, they universally agree to do so. Most want to go further: they want to understand better how they can serve as agents of acceptance and dignity,” Shriver wrote. “Loretta is a role model and if given the chance to speak her mind on your program, she and many others like her would inspire you and your audience with her wisdom and toughness. This is a teachable moment. May I ask you to join her now by ending your use of this term and by further using your great influence and position to help others do the same?”
Here’s the audio of the Rush segment if you missed it yesterday. Fully 80% of our readers sided with him over Palin’s spokesman, who called what he said “crude and demeaning” when asked for comment about it and then scrambled this morning to clarify that all uses of the word “retard” are crude and demeaning, not just Limbaugh’s. (Greg Sargent, who solicited the quote, says it was crystal clear to Palin’s spokesman that he was asking specifically about Rush.) I think I speak for most of us when I say that this story’s gotten awfully tedious, but since this is a rare case where Rush actually might apologize for something he’s said, I dare say we must poll it. Lay on.