Requiem for Rush

By Bill Press

Tribune Media Services

One thing about Rush Limbaugh: When he steps in it, he steps in it big time. And he sure did so this time.

For El Rushbo, as he proudly calls himself, it started out as a classic Republican Party smear campaign: When you can’t defend your own party’s policy, launch a personal attack against those on the other side. It’s always worked for Rush in the past. As I document in my new book “The Obama Hate Machine,” Rush is the king of smears against President Obama. He regularly refers to him as “Imam Obama” and the “first Muslim president.” He’s called him an “economic ignoramus” and a “jack–s.” He alone, citing an investigative report by Cat Corben, accused Obama on air of cheating on his wife when he was supposed to be attending his daughters’ soccer game. And he contends that Obama was elected president only because he was black and that, were he not black, he would be nobody today but a tour guide in Honolulu.

Over the years, Limbaugh has directed some of his ugliest attacks against women: branding all feminists as “feminazis,” comparing Nancy Pelosi to a “suicide bomber” and calling the National Organization for Women a “terrorist organization.” And, for a long time, he was able to get away with it — as long as his targets were prominent politicians or celebrities. But this time, he picked the wrong victim: a Georgetown University law student named Sandra Fluke, whose only “crime” was asking to testify before Congress — in support of President Obama’s policy to include birth control as part of every woman’s basic health insurance policy, and against Republican efforts to overturn it.

“What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke (sic), who goes before a congressional committee and says that she must be paid to have sex,” Rush asked his adoring audience on Wednesday, February 29. “What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.”

When, at first, he didn’t stir the kind of controversy he thrives on, Rush doubled down: insisting that if men were going to pay for Fluke and others to have all the “recreational sex” they wanted (you’d think a man who’d been married four times would know a little more about the pill), then men should at least be rewarded in return with videotape of her having sex. That sick comment indeed unleashed a firestorm of outrage and may have triggered the final unraveling of Limbaugh’s long, disgusting, and inglorious media career.

By the end of the week, after the first few corporate sponsors had canceled their advertising on his program, Rush was forced to issue an apology. It was perhaps the first apology of his career, and undoubtedly, the most insincere apology ever — driven, clearly, not by any regret for the language he used in attempting to discredit Ms. Fluke, but by fear of losing any more advertisers. But, to their great credit, advertisers were not convinced. They know a phony when they see one. It didn’t make any difference how many times Rush reminded them how much money they’d made advertising on his program, they simply no longer wanted to be associated with America’s merchant of hate. By this writing, more than 40 sponsors had dropped Rush’s program, including such corporate giants as Quicken Loans, ProFlowers, Sleep Number mattresses and Legal Zoom.

The courage of advertisers, however, appears in stark contrast to the timidity of Republican leaders. This could have been Mitt Romney’s “Sister Souljah” moment. Instead, he merely avowed that “slut” and “prostitute” would not have been his “choice of words” — leading Obama adviser David Axelrod to wonder how Romney could be trusted to stand up to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad if he was afraid to stand up to Rush Limbaugh. By their near silence, Republicans signaled either their assent with Limbaugh’s comments or their fear of him. More likely, the latter.

In the end, the market alone will decide whether Limbaugh survives or soon joins Glenn Beck in no man’s land. But the controversy surrounding his unwarranted attack on Sandra Fluke raises again the question of what talk radio is all about. Those of us privileged enough to be given the microphone have the opportunity and responsibility to inform, entertain, involve, and maybe even inspire our listeners. Those who use the microphone only to attack and demean others don’t merit the microphone — and deserve to lose it.

© 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

19 Responses to Requiem for Rush

  1. [...] Requiem for Rush – Bill’s Latest Column [...]

  2. Hammer says:

    I hope Rush doesn’t end up on “Current TV”.

  3. kwms says:

    The thing I don’t get is why is it ok for liberal Bill Maher to call Sarah Palin the c-word and Ed Schultz can call Laura Ingraham a slut and there’s no repercussions for them. Do liberals really want to go down this road because it seems like their people would be in a lot more trouble than conservatives.

  4. Brewster says:

    Hey Bill,
    still waiting for your apology to Tim Tebow (and all the others who you either called derogatory names or displayed your bigotry towards). Of course you don’t have any sponsors to loose since no one listens to your show…..

  5. Scott says:

    Along with calling Sarah Palin the c-word and the tw-word, Bill Maher has also “joked” about Glenn Beck being shot dead by police and Elizabeth Hasselback being gang-raped by an Egytian mob. He also stated that if Dick Cheney had been assassinated while in Afghanistan, the world would have been better off. And yet Press says he luuuuuvs Bill Maher. Total filthy hypocrisy, Press. Shame on you.

    And why is Quicken Loans still advertising on the Mike Malloy show? That pig mocked all the tornado victims, saying that “their God turned them all into grease spots”.

  6. [...] Requiem for Rush – Bill’s Latest Column [...]

  7. Peter Bellanti says:

    I like the reasoning.

    George stole from his own father.

    “That’s not so bad, I know a guy who stole from his father AND his mother”

  8. pete says:

    Kwms: bill Maher can say what he did about Sarah palin because it is true. Ed Schultz did get punished.

    Brewster: quit being a punk and grow up already.

    Scott: bill maher is really funny, and if Cheney was eliminated in Afghanistan he wouldnt have shot that guy in the face while hunting.

  9. Scott says:

    What Bill Maher said about Sarah Palin was a lie, and it was nothing but vile, putrid hate. Nothing more.

    Bill Maher is not the slightest bit funny. And making any “joke” or comment about any of our elected officials – I don’t care who it is – is just to-the-core evil.

  10. [...] Requiem for Rush – Bill’s Latest Column [...]

  11. kwms says:

    Thank goodness David Axelrod has cancelled his appearance on Bill Maher’s show, maybe there is some decency and some sort of value system in the Democratic party after all, something that Pete obviously lacks.

  12. jeffg1967 says:

    “bill Maher can say what he did about Sarah palin because it is true”-pete
    Typical radical left reasoning. ‘We can say what we want when we want because we think it’s true.’ But if you say something we disagree with then you are obviously (choose from drop down menu) racist, sexist, anti-science, anti-women blah blah blah.
    Face it, the radical left is anti free speech and wants to squelch anything that doesn’t fit their agenda.

  13. Milosia says:

    Typical reicht wing coverups. Looking around them they spout off how somebody should clean this chit up. When all they need to do is look down to notice it is up to their knees…

  14. Scott says:

    Oops. I meant to say that making a DEATH WISH “joke” or comment about any of our elected officials is pure evil.

  15. Jeffg1967 says:

    Milosia you prove my point. You can’t add to the conversation so you imply that somehow the right and the reich have something in common. I suggest you read the thread. NO ONE here has defended Rush. Misogyny from the left or the right is wrong! Thats my view. The difference being I don’t condone it either way but I respect that individuals right to free speech, no matter how offensive. If I don’t like it I change the channel, not boycott and try to get the individual fired. In other words I’m consistent. And no, I dont listen to or like Rush. You on the left are not consistent. When Rush does it you boycott and try to shut him down. When Bill Mahr, Keith Olberman, Ed Schultz etc do it you remain silent; in other words you condone misogyny from the left as long as its used against someone on the right. That Milosia is what the third reich would have done!

  16. Jeffg1967 says:

    Milosia you prove my point. You can’t add to the conversation so you imply that somehow the right and the reich have something in common. I suggest you read the thread. NO ONE here has defended Rush. Misogyny from the left or the right is wrong! Thats my view. The difference being I don’t condone it either way but I respect that individuals right to free speech, no matter how offensive. If I don’t like it I change the channel, not boycott and try to get the individual fired. In other words I’m consistent. And no, I dont listen to or like Rush. You on the left are not consistent. When Rush does it you boycott and try to shut him down. When Bill Mahr, Keith Olberman, Ed Schultz etc do it you remain silent; in other words you condone misogyny from the left as long as its used against someone on the right. That Milosia is what the third reich would have done!

  17. Vera Simmons says:

    “Louis C K 6 mths. ago
    http://youtu.be/pQYoP5nkTek
    Louis C.K. says of Palin: “her f*** retard making c***” and “the baby that just came out of her f**** disgusting c***.”

    To Palin: just “stick your t** in its mouth and shut up.”

    And here is more: ”…her f***** retard making c****”

    Need more to convince you? Here is what he says on twitter:
    “I want to rub my father’s c*** all over Sarah Palin’s fat t***”

    Saturday, October 6th, 2012
    SlutWalk Minneapolis has been approved by the Park Board of Minneapolis. We will have the same route as last year’s.

    slutsunite.org
    http://payload33.cargocollective.com/1/6/213014/2960101/prt_200x200_1331162413.gif
    http://payload33.cargocollective.com/1/6/213014/2960027/prt_200x200_1331161845.gif

    The Sluts Unite Oath
    I believe that sex represents more than just the creation of children.

    I believe it is an enjoyable, healthy and a profound part of the human experience.

    I also believe that the responsible use of birth control is an essential component of a mature, civilized society.

    And if these beliefs make me a slut in some people’s eyes, then so be it.

    I will stand united with my fellow sluts, now and always.
    Slutpidemic
    http://youtu.be/sj1wYQDzDyI
    http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/428656_287848251281408_142636719135896_698524_1393539969_n.jpg

  18. Vera Simmons says:

    Starring Bill Maher
    http://youtu.be/5ISKQD7ytSk

    “Louis C K 6 mths. ago
    http://youtu.be/pQYoP5nkTek

    slutsunite.org
    http://payload33.cargocollective.com/1/6/213014/2960101/prt_200x200_1331162413.gif
    http://payload33.cargocollective.com/1/6/213014/2960027/prt_200x200_1331161845.gif

    The Sluts Unite Oath
    And if these beliefs make me a slut in some people’s eyes, then so be it.

    Saturday, October 6th, 2012
    SlutWalk Minneapolis has been approved by the Park Board of Minneapolis. We will have the same route as last year’s.
    Saturday, October 6th, 2012
    SlutWalk Minneapolis has been approved by the Park Board of Minneapolis. We will have the same route as last year’s.
    Slutpidemic
    http://youtu.be/sj1wYQDzDyI
    http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/428656_287848251281408_142636719135896_698524_1393539969_n.jpg“

  19. Carol says:

    There is no room in this world…especially this country for hate mongers…”HATE” is what Rush Limbaugh promotes…I have no respect for” this man”…none…I respect Bill Maher…he is a comedian…I am not crazy about his vulgar comments…but this is why he is on HBO…

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