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Posted by on Mar 3, 2012 in At TMV, Politics | 46 comments

Breaking: Rush’s Non-Apology Apology (UPDATE III)

After three days (nine hours in show time), and under increasing fire from advertisers, Rush Limbaugh issued a non-apology Saturday afternoon.

[SEE UPDATE BELOW:’s CEO issued a blistering statement on the company’s Facebook page saying that despite the apology it is cancelling its advertising on Limbaugh’s show.]

It is ludicrous. He “did not mean a personal attack”? He called Sandra Fluke by name! (Well, he called her Susan …)

He was trying to be funny? You have got to be kidding. He thinks Telling a law student to video herself having sex and post it online for the world to see is funny?

More when I’m back at a computer. Til then, you can check my Twitter stream.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

At least one reader has taken issue with my calling his statement a non-apology. The posting was technically, definitionally an apology. But the contents of the post did not show contrition, regret or remorse. That was one reason I called this a non-apology.

Limbaugh seems to practice apologies like Catholics practice confession, as though the public recognition of a sin is sufficient for forgiveness, even though the behavior hasn’t changed.

I prefer to call the most obnoxious feminists what they really are: feminazis. The term describes any female who is intolerant of any point of view that challenges militant feminism. I often use it to describe women who are obsessed with perpetuating a modern-day holocaust: abortion. – Limbaugh on women

  1. 1970s: Limbaugh “told a black caller, who was having trouble hearing him or understanding him, to call him back when he got the bone out of his nose.”
  2. 1988: Limbaugh called Amy Carter, the daughter of former President Jimmy Carter, “the most unattractive presidential daughter in the history of the country”
  3. 1992: On his TV show, Limbaugh described Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton, the “White House dog”
  4. 1992: David Brock writes: “Above his workstation, [Limbaugh] had posted the following admonition: “Sexual Harassment at This Work-Station Will Not Be Reported, However, It Will Be Graded.” Limbaugh was making me famous for calling Anita Hill a slut.”
  5. 1992: In his book The Way Things Ought To Be, he writes: “I love the women’s movement. especially when I am walking behind it.”
  6. 1994: In his book See, I Told You So, Limbaugh called Sherrol Miller a “transsexual lesbian” – he settled the resulting libel suit out of court
  7. 1994: In his book See, I Told You So, Limbaugh listed his “35 Undeniable Truths of Life.” Number 24: “Feminism was established as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society.”
  8. 2004: Limbaugh called Feminist Majority Foundation president Eleanor Smeal a feminazi
  9. 2007: Limbaugh describes soldiers as being “phony” if they question “President Bush’s handling of the war.”
  10. 2007: Limbaugh on an unflattering photo of Hillary Clinton: “Will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?”
  11. 2008: Rush Limbaugh: Women Love Hillary Because They’ve “Had Two Or Three Abortions”
  12. 2011: Limbaugh mocked Chinese President Hu Jintao
  13. 2012: Sandra Fluke

My final note: a reminder that the man is a serial teller of [pick one: lies, falsehoods, tall tales]. The severity of the noun chosen probably depends on the politics of the listener/reader but he repeatedly and consciously fails to tell the truth. Why should anyone believe this statement is any more grounded in the reality that is his emotional state?

This is from 1994 — success (monetary and otherwise) has both enabled the behavior and rewarded it:

Limbaugh’s chronic inaccuracy, and his lack of accountability, wouldn’t be such a problem if Limbaugh were just a cranky entertainer, like Howard Stern. But Limbaugh is taken seriously by “serious” media–in addition to Nightline, he’s been an “expert” on such chat shows as Charlie Rose and Meet the Press. The New York Times (10/15/92) and Newsweek (1/24/94) have published his writings. A U.S. News & World Report piece (8/16/93) by Steven Roberts declared, “The information Mr. Limbaugh provides is generally accurate.”

He’s also taken seriously as a political figure. A National Review cover story (9/6/93) declared him the “Leader of the Opposition.” Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who recently officiated at Limbaugh’s wedding, says he tapes Limbaugh’s radio show and listens to it as he works out (USA Today, 5/13/94).

FAIR is publishing a compilation of some of Limbaugh’s more obvious whoppers in order to convince journalists and political leaders alike that when Limbaugh says, “I’m not making this up, folks,” it’s time to duck and cover. (emphasis added)

Yes, Mr. Limbaugh: words mean things. They do, indeed.

UPDATE II: A Forbes writer stole my headline!

UPDATE I: David Friend, CEO of Carbonite, issued a statement on the company’s Facebook page saying that despite Limbaugh’s apology it is cancelling advertising on Limbaugh’s show. Most notable: it’s clear that he reject’s Limbaugh’s contention that he had not made it personal or wasn’t meant to be insulting:

“No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”

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  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Totally agree, Kathy

    “ In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.” You choose your words very carefully, Mr. Limbaugh, and you are continually impressing upon your dittoheads that you are 99.98 percent of the time correct. This is pure BS .

    “In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom …” And yet, Mr. Limbaugh, you wanted to see the video of Ms. Fluke’s bedroom activities.

    “My choice of words was not the best …” Give me a break!

    “and in the attempt to be humorous” You are full of BS, Limbaugh, a man of your brilliance knows exactly what you were doing and it wasn’t “attempting to be humorous,” unless viciously attacking a young woman is your kind of humor.

    “I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices” Is it sincere or is it because:

    ABCNEWS: Some Sponsors Rush Away From Limbaugh’s Show

    And, yes, please feel free to criticize me for not accepting this so-called apology.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist


    Rush knows exactly what he is doing. He has worded this “apology” in such a manner as to provoke additional outrage and controversy and elicit even more publicity. That’s what this creature thrives on.

  • elizajane

    “My choice of words was not the best.” Wasn’t that Mitt Romney’s line first?

  • Rush would have done better to find a way to stick by his original narrative. None of those vendors can go back to him because all of the people asking them to stop advertising weren’t looking for an apology to make things better. They want Rush’s support to dry up, period. In politics, it’s the same thing. If you want to see negative ads, negative people stop winning? You must stop giving money to entities that support both. Apologies in these instances have no effect. Rush has only undercut his own brand which is protected by the first amendment, no matter how much I dislike it. The free market was reflecting his behavior, in good times and bad. He has no one but himself to blame. When people have said he crossed the line, he should have listened sooner. Instead, he decided to go further. Big, big mistake. And now trying to go backwards? As incapable as an airplane.

  • zephyr

    Let’s keep this simple and honest: Any apology coming from Rush Limbaugh is meaningless. One need only look at his long and ugly history to know this.

  • Dr. J

    I don’t know, Kathy, “I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke” sounds like an apology to me.

  • zephyr

    Why on earth would anyone believe an apology coming from Rush Limbaugh? It would be the height of naivete.

  • bluebelle

    There is no other way to interpret Rush’s personal attack on Ms Fluke than as a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

    BUT I will say this– the power of an internet campaign is breathtaking because we haven’t EVER heard Rush offer even this lame kind of apology before. He apparently thought he was up there with the Creator, LOL and that nothing could touch him. This is a victory for civil discourse and for women.
    I still would like to see him off the air, though as Rush being Rush it is only a matter of time before he crosses that line again.

    He not only called Fluke a slut, he said that men were lined up and down the block waiting to have sex with her. I can tell you from reading posts on other websites, that many of his listeners believed him– others thought it was merely entertaining.

  • Dr. J

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, Zephyr. You can certainly doubt his sincerity. And you may choose not to accept his apology. (No surprise there, as you probably don’t accept anything else he says either.)

    But to call it a non-apology is at odds with the facts. A non-apology is a formulation like “I regret how my words were perceived….” Limbaugh didn’t say that, he made an actual apology.

  • cjjack

    For a short time, when it became known that Rush was going deaf, I felt a bit of sympathy for him, working as I do in the same business.

    I thought for a time that if he came back, he might be a slightly different person. I was wrong.

    When Rush came clean about his drug addiction and went into treatment, I felt a bit of sympathy as well, since my life has been affected by addiction.

    I thought for a time that when he came back, he might be a slightly different person. Again, I was wrong.

    Nearly having his livelihood, freedom, and even life taken from him did absolutely nothing to change the man. Instead of being more thoughtful or humble, he came back exactly the same.

    Now he’s been called to account for arguably the worst things he’s ever said. A normal person would issue an apology, and would perhaps moving forward be more considerate in his remarks.

    I won’t hold my breath.

  • Rcoutme

    The reason that his apology and claim of not meaning to be personal ring hollow is because he doubled and tripled down! In other words, he reiterated his claims. He continued his diatribe for three days! When he ‘sincerely apologized’ it was NOT for being a shallow, pig-headed jerk. It was for the ‘insulting word choices.’ That is not an apology to the individual for calling her a sex-crazed prostitute.

    I have two daughters in their 20’s. I find what he said about Ms. Fluke to be morally, ethically and civilly repugnant. In his ‘humorous’ attack on the young woman he did not hedge his claims. He did not continue to say, “If this is the case [coverage of contraception], then how about if Ms. Fluke or those like her…” That would be suggesting the absurd for comparison with the absurd. He DID NOT DO THIS.

    I will fight to the death for Mr. Limbaugh to have the right to spew his garbage (within the confines of legal liability, though–aka no slander). I will also fight to the death for the right to find ways to make sure that no one pays him to say them.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    “Moments ago, Carbonite – a company providing backup software for computers – announced that it will no longer advertise on Rush Limbaugh’s show. CEO David Friend made clear in a Facebook statement that, despite Limbaugh’s “apology” issued tonight, the company was still pulling its ads because it wants to “contribute to a more civilized public discourse”:”

    Good for you, Carbonite. I have often thought about buying your product/service, but have resisted because you advertised on the Limbaugh “show.” Now, I will most likely go ahead and get it.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    … and this is what David Friend (Carbonite) said:

    “No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”

    Good for you, Mr. Friend

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Sorry, Kathy. I did not see the Updates.

  • rudi

    Rush also said Obama care will buy running shoes so we all can be fit. The man isn’t sincere…

  • This is a useful revisiting of Rush’s long history of making grotesque statements. Sourced.

    Top Ten Racist Limbaugh Quotes

  • bluebelle

    Good for carbonite! See its not that hard– nobody is too big to fail.

    @rudi—I hope that Rush gets the first pair he could use the workout-

    Rush will tone down for a few days before the next outrage-he needs to be driven off the air- it would be a national public service

  • @Dr. J – If that had been the entire statement, we’d be in agreement.

    @Dorian – thanks and no worries! I was not online. Joe did the update for me – I did the post on the phone.

    Thanks, all.

  • For those who’ve not yet seen it, I’m proud, as a Georgetown alumna, to post the statement of Georgetown President, Jack DeGioia:

    He was my RD when I was a sophomore and he graduated from my high school, about three or four years before me. Incredibly proud.

  • merkin

    Rush Limbaugh only apologized for the choice of words that he used. He didn’t apologize for lying about Ms.Flukes’ testimony. He didn’t apologize for mounting a personal attack on Ms.Fluke, he denied that he had. He didn’t apologize for the days that it apparently took him to realize that he had chosen he words poorly, days that saw him repeat the poorly chosen words. Nor did he try to explain the delay.

    All that I can see that he said was that in the future he will express his hateful misogyny in more pleasing terms, ones less likely to cost him advertisers and money.

  • ShannonLeee

    As I have written before, I am from Kansas City and I know people that worked with Rush while he was in KC. Rush is every bad thing that people think of him…maybe worse. He is a terrible human being that was hated by his least the ones I have spoken with..and their co-workers.

    Rush is sorry that his pathetic sponsors are backing out on him. He is probably more upset with them than anyone else.

    But I must say, I really never thought this advertisers would get him to back down. I am surprised, very surprised. Good for them and good for those people that put pressure on them.

  • Rcoutme

    Here is a site with just some of Limbaugh’s inaccuracies.

  • Rcoutme

    Update to the above link–the information only covers to early 1990’s…so imagine what has happened in the past 20 years based on the early stuff…

  • Limbaugh detractors were never going to be satisfied with an apology, no matter how it was worded. Nothing short of his demise will ever suffice.

    Limbaugh supporters never believed an apology of any sort, no matter how wishy-washy, was necessary. They will blame the “liberal media” for backing a sponsor’s boycott to force Rush into needless humiliation.

    Middle ground does not seem to exist.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Sorry, Tidbits. In the case of this monster there is no middle ground.

    Merkin says it bess, above

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    It looks like the editing option is gone.
    The “bess” above should have been “best.”

  • Dr. J

    Sure, middle ground exists, tidbits. Those of us who aren’t either supporters or detractors of Limbaugh see both sides.

    Limbaugh didn’t start the political debate about contraceptives and wasn’t wrong to enter it, but his remarks were out of line and probably intended to spark outrage. People and sponsors were within their rights to be outraged and pull their support.

    He has issued an apology, and people are reasonably skeptical he has any intention of changing his behavior. Offending people is, after all, what Rush does for a living. They go a little too far themselves, though, in trying to deny he made the apology.

  • Dorian,

    Given the esteem in which I hold you, it is hard to tell you that I am about to say something you will not like.

    The use of terms like “slut” and “prostitute” are not merely sexist, they are designed to discredit by dehumanizing the object of the epithet.

    So is a term like “monster” used to refer to Limbaugh. The right wing has no patent on using the convention of dehumanization to discredit the other side.

    If rational and respectful discourse has value…as I believe it does…it must apply to both sides. We must all stop calling each other sluts and pricks and monsters and fiends. IMO.

    Btw, I have also noticed the disfunction of the edit button.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Point well taken, Tidbits.

  • zephyr

    Let’s give the nuance, gentility and moral relativism a little break and remember who we’re talking about here. Rush Limbaugh has never shown any qualms about lying, hurting, and generating hate. He’s done this hours daily, twelve months a year for DECADES. What little comeuppance he has received has been earned and sowed a hundredfold. Think about the accumulated legacy of ugliness and division this man has devoted his career to. Think about the extent to which it has infected modern political discourse over the decades. We are talking about a long period of time and a lot of vitriolic influence. How carefully do you really want to tiptoe around the definition of the word monster in this context? Is the word cancer a little better? In either case I’ll save that sort of consideration for someone who actually deserves it, Rush Limbaugh doesn’t. Not even close.

  • Zypher,

    It isn’t about being nice to Limbaugh. We don’t owe it to him. We owe it to ourselves not to walk in his footsteps. To the extent we fail to contrain ourselves from dehumanizing others, those who profit from the propogation of hate have won; they will have turned us all into one of them.

    Just my view of things.


  • Opps. Sorry about the misspelling Zephyr. Can someone fix the edit function so typo-correction posts aren’t necessary.

  • ShannonLeee

    Tidbits… but he is all of those things… as I posted before, his former co-workers have attested to it. Sure they could be full of it, but I am not sure why they would bother many years after the fact.

    Sometimes terrible people… really are just terrible people.

  • adelinesdad

    Mr. Friend’s statement is no more sincere than Mr. Limbaugh’s. Ask yourself: Why would a company that cares about civil discourse have ever sponsored him in the first place? No, Mr Friend’s statement is just as self serving. The difference is that he was actually trying to sound sincere, whereas Rush was not.

    That’s the way I see it. Don’t give Rush advertisers a pass. They knew what they were doing just like Rush did.

  • bluebelle

    Kathy– I believe Rush had his legal advisors draft a statement that said just enough to stop the bleeding of his show’s sponsors in reaction to the sea of complaints they have been getting over the weekend.

    Pro Flowers suspended advertising on his show- BUT the suspension is just for a week–not good enough. Not sure about suspensions by his other sponsors.

    The only solution is to keep up the pressure. If we back down now, Limbaugh and his sponsors will be back in action after a brief cooling off period.

  • @BlueBell- thanks for the update about ProFlowers.

    And I agree about “suspensions” — what we need are “cancellations”

  • Dr. J

    Mr. Friend’s statement is no more sincere than Mr. Limbaugh’s. Ask yourself: Why would a company that cares about civil discourse have ever sponsored him in the first place?

    Quite right, AD. It’s another overstated, self-serving position, just like everyone else making headlines around this issue.

    “No one could possibly abide” some blowhard on the radio calling a political activist bad names? What hogwash. We regularly abide oppression and wars and even genocide in small doses.

    This case involved neither sticks nor stones. Those of us without a financial or political horse in the race have no trouble ignoring Rush’s comments on this and many other topics.

  • @Dr J: women can’t afford to “ignore” Rush’s comments. And anyone of who disagrees with his position or approach to rhetoric should not ignore him either.

    We should all re-read Sam Harris and substitute political extremists for religious extremists.

  • roro80

    Hi tidbits —

    The problem for many of us isn’t that the apology isn’t “sufficient” or “sincere”. It’s that it is not only an obvious lie, it also doesn’t address the real problem.

    First, it’s an obvious lie because he says that he didn’t mean his comments to be a personal attack on Fluke. It’s so obvious that it was not only meant to be a personal attack on Fluke (a misguided one, a poorly informed one, at that), but a personal attack on all women who dare to have sex or take hormonal birth control for other reasons.

    Which brings us to why women are really angry about this. It wasn’t his “language” that bothered many of us. Myself, anyway. As a comment on earlier threads would indicate, my thought is that at least he used offensive enough language to make it clear how offensive his ideas were. Many others use kinder or less offensive language to describe ideas that are exactly the same, and are just as ugly. Fundamentally, I personally am more offended by the idea that Rush gets to have a vote on my personal autonomy, my sexual decisions (even within the context of my own marriage), and my most personal family decisions, is the most offensive part of all this. He doesn’t get a vote.

    The guy’s a grade-A jerk and a panty-sniffing ass, with the power to make lots and lots of other people think that being a grade-A jerk and panty-sniffing is ok. Yeah, it’s going to take a lot more than a half-assed apology to make it ok.

  • Dr. J

    women can’t afford to “ignore” Rush’s comments.

    Honestly Kathy, that sounds like another overstated position. While I’m sure one could dream up slippery slope scenarios where a “sticks and stones” attitude toward Rush sparks the rise of a Catholic sharia in America, it seems quite a stretch. It’s hard to see much likely downside from ignoring the man.

    On the other hand, the potential upside of making as big a deal as possible of his remarks is clear. He’s had to apologize, his sponsors are pulling out, and Fluke’s cause is getting a ton of favorable press.

    It’s plain this issue is less about manners than about power, and there’s nothing improper about fighting for more influence on issues that matter to you. I believe rhetorical excesses on both sides just prolong the conflict, though.

  • Roro,

    I agree with your comment. Limbaguh’s behavior is rude, obnoxious and offensive. My only point is that folks who disagree with him do themselves no favor by emulating him.

    What bothers me is the attitude that “Limbaugh is such an ass that, in response, I want to be just like him and dehumanize him in return.” That makes him the winner because his detractors want to emulate him.

    That he is an ass is worth pointing out. Emulating him (whether out of spite or for whatever other reason)is not.


  • bluebelle

    Dr. J– sure there are much worse things going on in the world. If I could stop them, I would. This is something that I can do something about–Rush feeds misogyny 5 days a week.

    We are seeing the result in states all over the country — where legislators are passing laws that make it harder for women to protect themselves from violent predators, harder to
    have a legal procedure done, and now see states passing laws that makes the life of a zygote equal to a woman’s life.

    I hardly think this is the time to sit back and do nothing because there are worse things going on in the world.

  • Dr. J

    I hardly think this is the time to sit back and do nothing because there are worse things going on in the world.

    Fair enough, Bluebelle, and please note that nowhere did I suggest you should sit on your hands. If you want to press your advantage against Rush while you have this opening, go right ahead. But it’s an exaggeration to say you have no choice.

    I’m not sure what violent predator laws you’re referring to, so I can’t comment on that. But obviously the case against abortion is based on a lot more than Rush’s misogyny.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    to all, I sent a message to Tyrone about the (##$#@ edit button, hopefully it will be fixed soon

    archangel/ dr.e

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

    the edit button now works… thanks all for your patience.

    archangel/ dr.e

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