Limbaugh’s Attack on Student is Only the Latest in Hate Talk

When radio jock Rush Limbaugh called a Georgetown law school student a “slut” and a “prostitute” for testifying on Capital Hill regarding contraceptive insurance coverage, the national chorus of criticism that erupted hardly silenced him. He went on for another two days, suggesting that Sandra Fluke should also publicly post videotapes of herself having sex.

He only apologized when the worst thing that can happen to a radio personality started to unfold — scores of major advertisers deserted him. Even then, he sounded insincere and resentful, never spoke to Fluke personally, and ended up blaming “the left” and the media for whatever trouble he’d had.

The saga began on Feb. 29 when Limbaugh, who is heard on more than 600 stations, attacked Fluke for supporting a federal mandate that health insurance at religiously affiliated schools like hers cover the cost of contraception.

Sandra Fluke
Sandra Fluke
“What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke,” Limbaugh said, getting Fluke’s first name wrong, “who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? … It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.”

The resulting uproar set off speculation about the future of Limbaugh and even of right-wing hate radio in general. What was forgotten amid all the noise was that Limbaugh was hardly a newcomer to those kinds of ugly comments.

For years, Limbaugh has characterized women he didn’t like as “feminazis.” More recently, he has referred to female members of the Obama Cabinet as “sex-retaries” and to Hillary Clinton as the “Sex-retary of State.”

And women haven’t been his only targets. In 2007, Limbaugh tried to explain Obama’s appeal to voters by calling him the “magic negro.” He later played a song entitled “Barack the Magic Negro” and sung to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon.” Later, he referred to Kraft’s new Triple Double Oreo as the “Or-ba-meo.” Early in his career, he told a black caller, “Take that bone out of your nose and call me back,” according to Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting. In 1990, he asked, “Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?”

After his latest display, Limbaugh didn’t sound too contrite. “They thought they had me,” he sneered after delivering his half-hearted apology. “They thought I would be off the air by now. … There is also another rumor going around that I’m going to be suspended for a week. It is BS. I would have to suspend myself!”

Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh