While Laura Ingraham waits for an encouraging call from the president to compensate for MSNBC’s Ed Schultz calling her a “slut,” “reproductive justice” activist Sandra Fluke rejects Rush Limbaugh’s sincere expression of regret for calling her the same:
The Georgetown law student who drew an apology from Rush Limbaugh this weekend after the conservative radio host called her a “slut” on his show said that his public apology wasn’t sufficient during an appearance on ABC’s “The View” today.
“I don’t think that a statement like this issued, saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything, and especially when that statement is issued when he’s under significant pressure from his sponsors who have begun to pull their support,” said the 30-year-old student, Sandra Fluke. …
Fluke said she has not heard from Limbaugh personally but added that she’s not hoping to speak with him.
“The statements he’s made about me over the air are personal enough, so I’d rather not have a personal phone call with him,” Fluke said.
Fluke has the luxury to reject his apology in large part because she has the support not only of the president himself, but of big-name advertisers who have exerted bully-like pressure on Limbaugh. (Even The View’s Whoopi Goldberg said she found the speed with which they were willing to abandon the radio host to be disturbing!)
At this point, while it’s plausible that Rush apologized solely because he’s losing sponsors (as Fluke suggested), it’s also plausible that he has genuinely repented of his word choice. Limbaugh not only said he was sorry with a statement online, but he also opened his show today — his first on-air appearance since advertisers began to pull their support for his program — with a repeat apology, in which he made it clear that he violated his own personal broadcasting standards. In fact, he took a full 30 minutes to explain the entire episode to his listeners, including an explanation for why his advertisers left him (h/t The Right Scoop):
Ed said this weekend he thinks Rush was right to apologize, but I’m not so sure. He was wrong to use the word “slut” in the first place — it’s just a disgusting word that’s better left unsaid and Rush’s use of it conveniently played into the leftist narrative that conservative men are misogynistic (i.e. it was both tasteless and strategically stupid of Rush to say it) — but his apology makes it seem as though he did something wrong by expressing his opinion about a legitimate subject of national commentary.
Folks have made the argument that Rush’s “personal attack” was somehow different than similar name-calling directed to the likes of Laura Ingraham, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. The argument typically goes something like this: Sarah Palin et. al. are public figures, while Sandra Fluke is a private citizen. But, in this instance, Fluke isn’t exactly a “private citizen.” She’s a seasoned activist who introduced the subject of Georgetown law students’ sex lives to the national debate about the Obama administration’s religious-liberty-violating contraception mandate.
Indeed, her unwillingness to accept Rush’s apology underscores that she’s far from a naive private individual who unexpectedly found herself at the center of a national controversy; she made it clear by her remarks on The View that she’s prepared to stoke this controversy as long as she derives a benefit from it. As long as advertisers continue to withdraw support for Limbaugh and the left continues to rally around Ms. Fluke, she’ll milk his remarks for all they’re worth.
The answer: Let’s stop giving Fluke the benefit of this controversy. Let’s keep the focus where it belongs and patiently continue to correct the misimpression (a.k.a. lie) that conservatives want to ban contraception. Nobody wants to ban contraception, but the Obama administration does want to force religious employers who object to contraception on religious grounds to pay for employee health insurance that includes coverage for contraception. It’s to that mandate that conservatives are politically opposed. Some conservatives are also personally opposed to contraception and to sexual promiscuity — but they’re not seeking to change the culture through the government. It’s progressives who prescribe government solutions to cultural ills and, in the process, jeopardize important freedoms.