Note to Rush Limbaugh On What A Real Apology Looks Like

Back in May of last year, liberal talk show host Ed Schultz called conservative talk show host a “right wing slut.” Reaction was rather fierce, and Ed Schultz offered what a real apology should look like. Rush Limbaugh and fans, take note:

Laura Ingraham herself was initially a bit snippy about it, tweeting “MSNBC suspends Schultz. Oh great, now his ratings will go up,” but later got to the better part of herself and tweeted, “Ed Schultz: Apology accepted.”

A key difference here remains that Laura Ingraham is herself a professional media figure with a 5.5 million daily listener audience and a frequently-seen figure and substitute host on Fox News. She is, in other words, quite able to defend herself. And no, Rush Limbaugh is not the only one with a problem with shooting his mouth off in a foul manner. It remains, however, that there is an acute disparity of power between a media mogul with a daily listening audience of about 15 million and a lone citizen activist giving invited testimony to Congress. I have no great love for Rush Limbaugh–decades ago I found him funny and refreshing but these days mostly just foul and irrational–but I think if he wants to retain any sense of dignity and decency, he should be looking to Ed Schultz for what real contrition looks like. Especially towards a target who is not a fellow media mogul but rather an ordinary citizen who just had the guts to take a stand, whether you agreed with that stand or not.

(Further argument/discussion here.)

Author: DEAN ESMAY, Guest Voice Columnist

Dean Esmay is a long-time associate of Joe Gandelman and The Moderate Voice. He is Managing Editor of A Voice for Men. He also blogs on a variety of issues at Dean's World, one of the world's first blogs and one of the few that was archived as Historically Significant by the Library of Congress for the 2004 elections. You can also follow Dean via Twitter here.

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35 Comments

  1. ANyone know where one can get a list of advertisers that are still supporting Rush.

    One email started that suggest a boycott of these products with those not supporting Rush might convince the rest to leave his program and leave his radio stations with much less revenues.

    Less revenues equals less radio stations carrying his program

  2. Just caught Fluke on The View, and as I predicted, not only didn’t she NOT accept his apology, she threw it back in his face.
    This is one sharp cookie, and my other prediction was that she will be on some ballot soon.

  3. RL lives in a world of delusion. His apologies mean nothing.

  4. Only one person so far that I’ve seen noted one thing about Limbaugh’s apology. That is, part of it was legal-statement, likely CYA material. It was an apology, despite what so many are incorrectly saying it was.

    It was 1/5 (real) apology at most, the rest being 3/5 or more political statement (about the real issue here, the Democrats’ and liberals’ behavior, which is wrong), and 1/5 or so legally managed CYA stuff.

    If anyone believes that Limbaugh hating is going to guarantee Obama a second term after this year, I believe that is wrong.

    This was nothing as bad as what Ed Schutz did. Rush was criticizing the left-wing parasite stuff, while Ed Schultz had nothing to criticize, was just being personal. Rush was wrong, but it’s nothing like what it’s being made to seem by many.

    Sandra Fluke has already been wrong herself since Rush said what he said, making herself look even worse than when she appeared at Pelosi’s hearing, something far, far more bad than anything that the Republicans like Blunt have done. At least, to those who aren’t being taken advantage of by the “war on women” Democrats and liberals. Maybe the Fluke testimony in Pelosi’s really stupid hearing was arranged ahead of time with Obama and it’s a campaign act to exploit the ignorant.

  5. “Just caught Fluke on The View, and as I predicted, not only didn’t she NOT accept his apology, she threw it back in his face.”

    Let us all hail magical dduck the pychic. I mean, who else but this brilliant ducky of ours could have predicted that a non-apology after 4 days of calling this woman a prostitute and a slut might not be accepted with a whole and loving heart? I mean, who could possibly have thought that “I think slut-shaming is valid criticism of this dirty slut, but wish I had used nicer euphamisms to describe her awful sluttitude” might not have gone over so well? You truly are magical, dduck. Good work. I wait with bated breath for your predictions on whether the sun will rise tomorrow, and whether Pauly Shore’s purported comeback will be successful.

  6. There are elements of an apology that contribute to a sense of sincerity, but really a lot of it has to do with a person’s history. In this case, limbaugh’s history is such that no one believes he is actually apologetic. And the flip side of it is that none of his detractors are sincere if they called on him to apologize because asking for an apology that you have no intention of accepting is disingenuous as well (and we see this all of the time from people on the left and right, when really they’re trying to score points by engendering sympathy for their own political allies and score points against their mean opponents.

  7. Roro, I’m concerned that your snotty nose will drip on you Oreos. Please wipe now.

    Btw: that was originally a response to a commenter on another thread 2 days ago.

    I also predicted the Giants would win the SB.

  8. One whose snot is dripping down his own beak best not talk about others needing to wipe their noses. Not sure what your mucus-y comment was in response to; don’t care.

  9. Well dduck I also predicted the Giants would win the Super Bowl, but I was a little surprised Fluke didn’t take the high road and accept the apology. This makes her a bit less of a sympathetic figure in my eyes since she had a chance to help defuse the situation and be the bigger person, but passed on it.

  10. DG, I said what I said, because I suspected she was not exactly what they (NP?) wanted to portray her as-an innocent.
    It was a prediction based on observation, with the Giants it was all hope.

  11. Dear clueless, good nite.

  12. “I said what I said, because I suspected she was not exactly what they (NP?) wanted to portray her as-an innocent.”

    Who the hell cares if she’s an “innocent”? And *I* am supposed to be the snotty one here?

  13. The subject was the “prediction”, nothing else.

  14. It was a very carefully worded statement — where he gives very little ground– probably written by his legal team. All done to stem the exodus of his sponsors. Then he followed up today using the apology to demonize the left– actually pretty brilliantly done.

    Schultz–otoh– does not make 50 million a year, and was suspended by his network. After a fairly sincere sounding apology, where he did not mention taking on the tactics of the right– he attended anger management and sensitivity training. He came back on the air and has not repeated the offense.

    People doubt Rush because he is one of the most cynical, demeaning blowhards in the US. He has a long history of using the politics of personal destruction — hiding behind the label of entertainer. He is not a an entertainer he is a demagogue.

    How entertaining is it to think about him and his audience watching a young woman’s sex tapes??

  15. You know, there has been a lot of back and forth over Limbaugh’s comments. A lot of people have (correctly) made the point that folks like Bill Maher and Ed Schultz have said as bad or worse.

    A lot of people have compared the respective apologies, and commented upon whether or not they were sincere enough.

    That is all well and good, but nowhere in the back and forth, left and right discussion have I heard enough answers to a very simple question:

    Aren’t we better than this?

    Yes, Ed was contrite enough in his apology to Ingraham, but has he really backed off his level of rhetoric?

    Sure, Rush was dragged kicking and screaming to apologize, but has he really backed off his level of rhetoric?

    Quick…name a talk show host on either side of the aisle that went too far, and then not just apologized, but fundamentally changed the tone of their show as a result of the backlash.

    You can’t, because there isn’t one. Not a single one of these highly paid pundits answered the question “aren’t we better than this?” by actually toning down their divisive rhetoric.

    Our political leaders are just as guilty in this regard. Sure, there were some cross-aisle hugs when Gabby Giffords was nearly assassinated, but after the ceremonial grieving was over, the attack machine geared up again.

    Aren’t we better than this?

  16. Okay — yes the rhetoric is bad it seems as though after something terrible happens it eases up and then after a few week resumes. It reflects the frustration of a completely polarized society.

    Reading the comments from the Limbaugh afficionados, I totally feel as though I live in an alternate universe. Of course there are many in the middle but the loudest voices tend to be on the fringes.

    But Rush has been doing this since Reagan was in office– so to me he has always been in a category of his own. Yes, others lose their temper and use those kinds of words too. I never watch Bill Maher– but he seems to be the worst offender on the left. Rush called that woman and the other female students epithets 46 times–not out of anger but purposefully over a period of three days. How can he think his apology which does more to denigrate the left for his own lapses is any where near adequate??

  17. DaGoat-But if she would have accepted an obvious “I am not sorry but I am sorry you were offended” apology then we wouldnt get the fun of blaming the victim and calling her more mean names!!!!

    An apology is a line or two, any more than that is a rationalization and/or a defense of ones prior point that you must attach to an apology if you have any chance of having it heard. Once you are “explaining” and “rationalizing” it is no longer about apologizing and merely about trying to again win the argument you just lost. When the 10 year old rolls his eyes when you force him to apologize to his sister do you accept that or do you note that it is not an apology if it is not truly meant to apologize and “but she hit me first” excuses tend to also be unacceptable.

  18. One other side point if we treat Shultz and Rush equally let us see what actually happened with Shultz. He used the word one time and then was suspended without pay for one week for the offense.

    Rush used the term 53 times over three days so I would assume those on the right defending Rush with the crimes of Shultz will agree that Rush should go off the air without pay for 53 weeks. Also Ingraham did not at first accept his apology and instead made snarky comments though she did come around shortly. Of course Shultz’s apology was very short and did not include much of the “the other side did it first” stuff that Rush’s did, if it had I doubt Ingraham would have accepted such an apology.

  19. Isn’t RL show on radio? Would that mean that only he would be watching those tapes. He is more of a pig than I originally thought.

  20. cjjack
    “Aren’t we better than this?”

    Probably not. At least not unless someone makes us behave. We’ve come flat up against the wall that separates free speech from calumny which I’ve been concerned about for some time.

    The problem with Limbaugh and his ilk (on the left and right) being allowed to dominate the airways for most of the day and evening is the ability for them to spin any fact into the gold (pun intended) thread of trashing any other viewpoint with no rebuttal from higher powers. Not just speaking rationally about differing ideas, but being violently denigrating about peoples ideas and motives.

    The miasma of distrust that brought Hitler to power started in the early 1920′s and took many years to culminate in ultimate political power. We ignore the results of rabble rousing, no matter which group is doing it, to our peril.

  21. MSF I don’t think Schultz’a apology was all that brief, but I do think it was much more sincere than Rush Limbaugh’s. As another commenter has pointed out despite the apologies none of these media personalities is going to change their stripes. Schultz went on being the same guy, and so will Limbaugh.

    I would have liked to see Fluke accept the apology because it would have been the civil thing to do and it would start bringing this episode to some closure. Despite all the calls for civility I doubt either “side” really wants it. The far left is having a great time knocking Limbaugh off his perch (deservedly so), the far right is having a great time defending him and accusing the left of hypocrisy, and the blogs and commenters are all having a great time arguing.

  22. DG, you are obviously a nice guy, and wish this sordid affair would go away, but this is Fluke’s golden opportunity to further her agenda and her potential seat in congress. Accepting an apology, even if it was sincere, would end her 15 minutes of fame. With Pelosi behind her and you go girls from very famous politicians, she will ride the wave.

    I would advise her to go for the gold.

  23. DaGoat-I think she should accept Patricia Heaton’s since it did seem sincere but I havent found anything saying she did or did not accept it yet.

    I do see your point but I am also a bit tired of the “sorry or the word apology was in it so we must all now forgive and forget everything” silliness. I may not care that you insulted me but I only accept apologies that are sincere and if you put me in a public forum that wouldnt change. I wouldnt say it would be civil to accept a fake apology in my view it would be acting as an enabler.

    If I felt that Rush was truly hurt by this emotionally and personally I may take some pity but the reality is that he is hurt politically and financially and is mid-mad scramble to put out the fire he started and I find it a bit hard not to laugh about that.

    When has he chosen to pity those that wanted to save their money or political stance that he did not agree with? I am not saying go down to his level but to not accept what is not offered honestly is not insulting or lacking in respect or honor it is refusing to publicly accept a lie.

    On a side note imagine a woman in your life prior to you meeting her personally and then think how she would have reacted to you calling her a slut 53 times. Then apologizing in the manner that he did. Would they accept your apology? Would you prompt them to accept an apology from someone else that had done it? Imagine this was your daughter and take out the political element. Do you then think him saying that he just chose the wrong words is acceptable as an apology? And that is ignoring him saying it wasnt personal when he was personally insulting her.

  24. dduck I think there’s some truth in what you’re saying, and there’s a thin line between where being a victim ends and exploiting a situation begins. Fluke had a chance to help end the conflict and passed on it.

  25. Much like Mitt and many in the GOP had a chance to speak up and give us a Sista Soulijah moment and instead most passed on it. Those that did not will not be forgotten because it took guts but neither Mitt nor Rick were up to the task.

  26. You are using “the other side does it” argument now MSF. I would have liked to see Romney speak up as I would have liked to see Fluke accept the apology.

  27. DG, “Fluke had a chance to help end the conflict and passed on it.”
    And, I agree with that decision. But, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have to agree with anything she says, I am only thinking pragmatically and if I had an agenda, say stop wasting precious water, and I had a chance to make a big splash (pun intended), I would milk it till the cows come home.

  28. DaGoat-I am actually pointing out how the GOP harmed itself from the top down. Many are acting like Rush and the GOP are victims but only if you think they should have acted in the way they did. Fluke failed to accept the apology and you do not think that was a good thing since the controversy would have gone away.

    I think the ordeal allowed for a soft pitch for both Rick and Mitt to have an easy Clinton moment and they failed and in doing so allowed themselves to be pulled into it. Compared to Clinton’s moment this was a rather easy one and they failed.

    Fluke is not running for the nomination for a major parties POTUS ticket so I would hardly say that I am trying to equate the two. I instead am venting about something that I have failed to note elsewhere, Mitt and Rick got a soft pitch and ducked it.

    As for Fluke and her reasons, in my view this isnt about her, Dems or Progs but about NOW(in her mind anyway but that is just my guess). My guess is that NOW is finally getting some vengeance for Rush giving us the term Feminazi and then defining it as any woman to the left of him twenty years ago. It is a rather poetic justice since it is well deserved now if they can just make up as many lies and falsehoods about him as he did about them Rush and NOW may be a bit more even steven. This isnt even about the GOP though, this is a fight between NOW and Rush and that is why Rush is getting so upset…its the first one against NOW he seems to be losing and he has only his inability to control himself to blame.

  29. @MSF
    It is a rather poetic justice since it is well deserved now if they can just make up as many lies and falsehoods about him as he did about them

    It wouldn’t be poetic justice, it would be sinking to his level. If this has boiled down to a battle between Limbaugh and NOW, why is this even an important topic any more? It’s like I said above – the calls for civility are really just BS and most people are just enjoying rolling around in the mud. Hardly anyone is even talking about the underlying issue, it’s all about Rush vs Fluke.

  30. DaGoat-I would have to agree though I think NOW can play just as dirty as any other political group and most likely does on a regular basis.

    Calls for civility? Sorry I must have missed that I thought we were speaking of calling random private citizens sluts or whores for daring to speak their mind. Sure it was far from civil but that wasnt really the issue, I mean when has Rush been noted as being civil. Where he hit the landmine was 53 sluts slung on a private citizen(meaning not a pol or a screamer, so in short me you and everyone we know). I dont want civility I dont want him to go away either. I want Rush blasting on every channel possible acting his normal racially and sexually tone deaf self because I want to see Obama win this election plain and simple.

    I also think if we are going to discuss “civility” rules then we should also be barred from calling male pols, screamers and lobbyists “whores/sluts/prostitutes” which they commonly are. We also need to end the habit of questioning mens masculinity which is a common tactic of primarily female screamers and pols. In other words to be civil we have a long way to go, to merely note that calling a private citizen slut 53 times on the radio over 3 days says a great deal about the mans morality and views on women is rather easy and true.

  31. Here’s a good way to handle a similar situation.
    If Cal Thomas can apologize to Rachael and take her out to lunch, really contrite apologies are possible. Cal Thomas also posted his apology.
    http://www.calthomas.com/index.php?news=3485
    Rachel Maddow and my lesson in civility When one writes about moral convictions, it’s probably a good idea consistently to live up to them.

    Thank you Cal Thomas, you are gracious in a real heart felt apology.

  32. “DG, you are obviously a nice guy, and wish this sordid affair would go away, but this is Fluke’s golden opportunity to further her agenda and her potential seat in congress. Accepting an apology, even if it was sincere, would end her 15 minutes of fame. With Pelosi behind her and you go girls from very famous politicians, she will ride the wave.”

    Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable.

  33. “to merely note that calling a private citizen slut 53 times on the radio over 3 days says a great deal about the mans morality and views on women is rather easy and true.”

    Well heck, TMSF, if she didn’t fall down and lick Rush’s toes after his totally sincere apology for not using better euphamisms to disguise his disgust for her gender, and instead continues to fight against him, she obviously is a prostitute. Right?

  34. “Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable.”
    Thanks, Roro.

  35. The power of sheer idiocy weighs heavily with Rush Limbaugh. Heavier than Rush, under idiocy, his own bough breaks. Fool is he who rushes into idiocy with the twenty-score weight of a fat-man. Heavy is the fool who bows to idiocy and rushes to fat conclusions; fat of head, fat of heart and fat of mind. Limburger ‘tis the flavor air about the rushing fool of fat-wind and flatulently-practiced flap. Like a rotund freakish clown out on idiot’s limb, donning bow-tie and suit of Oxycontin. All in decorate of a double-chinned self-pregnant humor so full of bull that even long-quiescent lard in great drums coagulate spontaneously greens within throw of the fat-man’s quivering-gullet proclaim. Behold ye the weighty clown, clomping out an idiocratic-rap so roly-poly afoul in its jaundiced bowel howl that even fat itself fears its own role undone! A mighty rush of limburger wind breaks through the boughs and potash aflame to offer up its polycyclic neoplastic treat with the fiercest of false conviction – on into the open-mouthed constancy of the right-wing triglyceride moment. Revere ye! the bulbous Pope of pretentious poo in his pulpit a-pander flinging said orts into the welcoming yawn-guzzle of mass stupidity. But alas, the fat-man is fated to bleat, blither and blubber alone; ineffectual, flaccid and scat-like upon his fat-man throne, bellowing his fat-man moan into a fool-hearty fat-man microphone. Yea, soon the fat-man must sing lying down in lie’s vast fat shower, naked and alone; too small for him to exit at the fat lady’s tone. Trapped at long last, shivering, naked and morose; stranded away from dearest adipose; never to accomplish his deepest desire for to fitfully consume endless gobs of pure yellow fat – with the most genuine zeal – piled by proportion obscene atop fat-fried scones – and a side of baby seal.

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