Rush Limbaugh: Saved by Sandra Fluke?

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When Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" on his radio show Feb. 29, it sure seemed like the end of an era might be upon us.

Public outcry prompted sponsors to pull support from the show, leaving many to wonder whether the conservative stalwart would have much longer to lash out against liberals and ladies.

To be fair, Rush did damage control issue an apology, but many saw the mea culpa as meaningless -- worthy of all-out mocking.

But as bad as Rush's gaffe might be -- and to be clear, it is bad -- you have to wonder: could this bolster Limbaugh's languishing career?

Some reports indicate that Rush's ratings have remained strong -- maybe even up -- since the onset of the Sandra Fluke shitstorm.

An article in the Daily News points out that listeners have not stopped tuning in, though the incendiary remarks might drive permanently off-put advertisers. (Note: we know the News is a right-leaning publication, but that doesn't completely take away from some of the facts reported.)

Check it out: "Limbaugh's fans, including public figures like Sarah Palin, have circled the wagons and take the whole controversy as further evidence the hypocritical liberal media is out to get him: Rush is the victim," the paper notes.

Though Republicans might try and distance themselves from Limbaugh, G.O.P Presidential front-runner Mitt Romney has not come out in open criticism of him, suggesting he's still a powerful figure who conservatives don't want to upset, according to the paper.

Laurie Cantillo, who works as program director of all-news WTOP in Washington and Limbaugh's boss at WABC (770 AM), said the polemic might puff up his ratings right now, however, "it won't be worth the damage that's been caused in loss of revenue and advertiser confidence."

A new essay in The Daily Beast suggests that the left's reaction to Limbaugh might help his image as a conservative folk hero -- and give Republicans talking points about what they often decry as the left's alleged ideological vacuum.

"Attempts to advance a left-wing media agenda by destroying Rush Limbaugh's radio show will surely fail, just as efforts to advance a progressive economic agenda by punishing the nation's most productive corporations and individuals have always failed," begins Michael Medved.

Now, Medved is a conversative, but his argument suggests something that's hard for liberal-minded people to understand about the right -- how it feeds off the faux, us-versus-them mentality. For many, it's possible that the attacks on Limbaugh will be perceived as a Soviet-like attack on free speech.

"But attempts to create viable radio alternatives to Rush and other right wingers have never gained traction, so rather than continuing to compete in the open market place, lefties merely yearn to shut down the other side with sponsor boycotts, public pressure or, most obnoxiously, the so-called Fairness Doctrine...

The core concept of bureaucratically imposed "fairness" actually constitutes an oppressive, invidious authoritarian relic (removed by unanimous vote of the Federal Communications Commission in 1987) that would destroy the entire talk radio industry by preventing any station from establishing an ideological identity."

Even the Atlantic, which is a very far cry from a conservative mouthpiece, features uncertainty about some elements of the reaction:

Author Conor Friedersdorf voices disapproval of demands that he be banned from the airwaves. He writes:

"For years, I've warned conservatives about the bigoted rhetoric and dubious analysis that Rush Limbaugh offers on his radio program. There is no bigger critic of the man than me. I am nevertheless appalled by the prominent liberals who want the state to use its coercive power to silence him. Writing at CNN.com, Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem actually compare the talk radio host to Josef Goebbels before arguing that if Clear Channel won't drop him the FCC should throw him off the air because his broadcasts aren't in the public interest."

His final analysis, however, is most telling -- he argues that key members of the left have started playing as dirty as the right:

"The behavior of Allred, Steinem, Fonda, and Morgan in this case reminds me of what Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain were doing during the uproar over the so-called Ground Zero Mosque: shortsightedly urging government to intervene, on flimsy pretenses, where it doesn't belong. Private citizens are perfectly capable of registering their objections without government -- and have no right to demand assistance from government in stopping what merely offends them."

To say that Limbaugh will bounce back without consequence is a hasty conclusion, to say the least. Remember that Mike Huckabee will soon launch his own talk show, in Rush's much-coveted 12-3 p.m. spot.

Still, it's unclear how much controversy -- especially when it stems from woman-bashing -- can really damage the rep of members of the moral right.

(Rick Santorum, anyone?)

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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Djscrockett
Djscrockett

the dems and fems suffered at least 3 losses in march. bring on april

Jack Jersawitz
Jack Jersawitz

What all of you folk call left ain't so. How anybody can call, generally and mainly, supporters of the Democratic Party, i.e., main line supporters of capitalism, "left," is beyond me.

When Sean Hannity was a small time host here in Atlanta on a commercial station with some power, and I merely hosted a public access show limited to Atlanta cable, it happens Sean invited me to join him on his show. No doubt he thought he would amuse his right wing listeners by beating up on this Marxist. As it turned out his own audience were calling in saying I was right. You need to read and cite the literature. It was not enough to simply argue from an empty ideology. You need to cite and argue from material facts; from evidence, from history.

Lies, the common currency of every right wing talk show out there, don't cut it.

The deal was Hannity, in return, would join me on my cable TV show. After that session in his studio where he got his ass whipped, the deal was off.

There are plenty of leftists out here, Marxists with a far better memory for history and data then I, as would jump at a radio or TV slot. Like the manager of Hannity's station told me that afternoon when I put it to him, the stations don't believe there would be as much revenue as with the right wingers.

That of course is bull. With all that is going on in this world today, strikes, general strikes in Europe, "leftist" Social Democratic governments doing the IMF's and the EU's bidding helping to make the working class pay for the capitalist economic crisis, that is the periodic normal state of affairs of capitalist economy, and given that the working class is the largest part of society, they are dead wrong.

The capitalist owners of these stations fear something worse than poor ratings and hence lost money. They fear that given access to main line media and its system of distribution Marxist commentators would be in a position to destroy them; to make, by means of expropriation, all of media freely available to their natural enemies, the working class.

I would love to replace that piece of trash Limbaugh or have any other main line slot. Of course this kind of talk won't get it but then again the working class has its own means of communication, the very powerful labor union organizations the working class has established, not to mention that other piece of mass media we all carry in our pockets and has already proven in Egypt how valuable it is, the cell phone, and last and most important, revolutionary Marxist, Leninist, Trotskyist parties, like the Fourth International to be found at http://www.wrp.org.uk

The bourgeoisie, out of necessity, has created the working class whose surplus labor product they steal in order to become rich. On the other hand they have created other tools that will help in bringing them down, the cell, computers, small high speed lithographic printing presses, etc., that they cannot keep out of our hands and that are already proving extremely valuable in bringing them down.

Jack Jersawitz404-892-1238bigjackjj@yahoo.com 

Jrusso2_2011
Jrusso2_2011

Who is the victim here? Umbilical fueled terror reduced to what has no value. Looking for a Chinese box. Tonapah

Jrusso2_2011
Jrusso2_2011

The barbarism of modern times is enslavement to technology. Yous are all just muffin men.

Jrusso2_2011
Jrusso2_2011

This is crisis. Zen arcade. They want to see what you bleed. They'll be joining the blood march. Amarillo chapped Arse. I'm riding free with the buffalo. Tonapah

Jrusso2_2011
Jrusso2_2011

Rush Limbaugh is a member of P. E. N. I. S , as is frontal CY, sadly. This group is responsible for the burning of King James bibles. Some estimates are in the thousands. Tonapah does not take kindly book burnings. I leave the rest to yous. T

Daniel Wright
Daniel Wright

Yeahhhh it's a business so no sponsors means no money. Audience size doesn't matter. Ask Fox's Glenn Beck... oh wait.

Esszach
Esszach

This is bs. The only thing Rush did wrong was apologize. Sandra is a whore if she is too broke to pay for a five dollar box of condoms. And if she can't afford them, she shouldn't have sex.

Strelnikov
Strelnikov

I wish the Army would have drafted that fat lump of shit in the Sixties, but no, he had some sort of cyst.

I believe in the Fairness Doctrine; it was overturned by appointed right-wing flunkies in the FCC...it was the thin end of the wedge, and was followed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which screwed us up even more.

Doubting Thomas
Doubting Thomas

Limbaugh's appeal to sponsors is that he draws an audience of around 15 million.  His audience includes armies of small businessmen, convinced that ONLY conservatives have any grasp of small business.  And since business has been sour for the last four years, somebody must be blamed.  Rush has been there for them, supplying the necessary scapegoats: degenerate, socialist LIBERALS, who GIVE AWAY the businessman's hard-earned tax dollars to layabouts, community organizers, illegal immigrants and feminazi sex-fiends.

Well-paid clown though he may be, Rush serves the greater conservative cause by excusing the most elephantine drain on the economy (the military) and DEFLECTING ATTENTION from the moguls on Wall Street whose reckless greed and fraudulent speculative "products" have brought the economy to the brink of collapse.      

MissCabbage
MissCabbage

I would pay to have her spayed!  

That would spare the world of a litter of whiny sluts.

chris1616
chris1616

Limbaugh brags that he pays for his medical coverage out of pocket but he was arrested in 2006 with Viagra that was prescribed to his doctor. Did his doctor's insurance coverage pay for Limbaugh's Viagra? Nevertheless, it's illegal to do what Limbaugh did but he's so special he got a big fat pass. He considers his usage of Viagra in the Dominican Republic a private manner.

The Institute of Medicine recommended birth control be included as part of Women's Health in the Affordable Health Care Act. This information has been public since last summer. If Limbaugh has an issue of providing birth control coverage he should have had that agrument with members of the Institute of Medicine. As I type that sentence I realized how silly it sounds that Limbaugh is even capable of having an intelligent discussion.

William Albrecht
William Albrecht

 Gee Chris, what does Viagra have to do with this issue. Lets assume the man was a convicted felon...does that make what he says wrong? How about attacking the the ideas he put out instead of just spouting random useless information which is not pertinent to the discussion at hand.

Pamela Dunn
Pamela Dunn

Well, another bunch of liberal morons and sluts will comment here; How sad

Burton Wynne Jr.
Burton Wynne Jr.

I really don't think it is a 'free speech' issue if advertisers decide to stop supporting your program financially due to public outcry.  Mr. Limbaugh should be aloud to practice his freedom to the fullest.  It just appears that he might have to do it at his own expense!

Dennis
Dennis

Saved by Fluke? I thought he was going to be brought down by Fluke?

Thomas Mc
Thomas Mc

Anybody who actually listens to Rush Limbaugh's psychotic rants should probably receive a mental health evaluation themselves.

Weldon Berger
Weldon Berger

"[H]is argument suggests something that's hard for liberal-minded people to understand about the right -- how it feeds off the faux, us-versus-them mentality."

Hard to understand? Seriously? Paranoid victimhood is gold on the right. It's what they do. That, and sharing an apparently primal fear of having stuff shoved down their throats.

I ran across a story yesterday about Alan Grayson driving his car into a bus. The story was on a local TV station web site. There were people in the comments section--of the story on a TV station web site about Alan Grayson driving his car into a bus--predicting that the story would go unreported by the meeeedya because Grayson is a Democrat. And it wasn't just one person. 

Same thing here. Insurance coverage for birth control--which is routine already--is a plot to "redine" traditional marriage. It's a license to fuck! Because women never did that before birth control or Roe v Wade. Opponents don't want birth control covered; they just want women who get pregnant to submit to medical rape if they want an abortion; they want, apparently, their own insurance premiums to go up in order to protect insurance companies against the vastly greater expense of pre- and post-natal care, and pediatrics and so on. 

But by golly, they're the victims here!

FD Man
FD Man

I wonder what would happen if we call Rush Limbaugh a "slut" and a "prostitute". We should give him a taste of his own medicine. I just despise bullies, wherever they are.http://www.licensetobully5.com...

GizmosAmerica
GizmosAmerica

I believe it was determined a long time agothat yelling fire in a crowded theater was irresponsible, this fromWikipedia:

“"Shoutingfire in a crowded theatre" isa popular metaphor and frequent paraphrasing of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.'s opinion in the United States Supreme Court case Schenck v.United States in1919. The paraphrasing does not generally include the fact that falsely shoutingfire to highlight that speech which is merely dangerous and false which can bedistinguished from that which is truthful but also dangerous. The quote is usedas an example of speech which is claimed to serve no conceivable useful purposeand is extremely and imminently dangerous, such as distributing fliers inopposition to a military draft, so that resort to the courts or administrativeprocedures is not practical and expresses the permissible limitations on free speech consistent with the terms of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Mr. Limbaugh purports to bean entertainer, this is by his own description. It keep him free of anyreal responsibly for inciting the feeble minded.

Mr. Limbaugh is not an entertainer;people listen to his shouts of fire and run from the crowded airwaves totrample the freedoms of rational people and the very disturbed among them willhurt, maim, or kill.

Clear channel should removehim from the air and stop this controversy. 

Al Pine
Al Pine

I disagree with Limbaugh and his opposition to forcing health insurance companies pay for birth control.   We need to take this up a notch and force the money grubbing capitalistic pigs to pay  not only for birth control but they should be forced to pay for drinks, dinner, a movie and a motel room.

SHT
SHT

It might be cheaper just to spring for some Viagra and a few bucks in pocket money to give to some nameless Dominican child forced into prostitution.

William Maldonado
William Maldonado

Ur a racist dick,

SHT
SHT

And you don't have the mental capacity to recognize obvious satire.

chris1616
chris1616

The Institute of Medicine recommended that birth control be included as part of Women's Health Care in the Affordable Care Act. I can see why someone that worships Limbaugh does not understand or appreciate preventative medicine. Jay Leno, age 61, did push-ups with First Lady Obama do you think Limbaugh, age 61, could do one or two push-ups?

Box81a
Box81a

What Conor Friedersdorf fails to take into account is that the airwaves are owned by the public. This isn't a free speech issue - Rush is certainly free to flatulate his message as he sees fit, and as he has done for 20 years, but other views should be permitted equal time. We witnessed the power of broadcast propaganda in Germany and Japan in WWII - the Fairness doctrine was established to guarantee a variety of voices could be heard, irrespective of economic or other considerations. The Limbaugh drama is a prime example - should broadcast speech be regulated by advertisers? Does the listener need to have his/her information filtered by McDonald's, Ford and AOL? Should advertisers deem what is appropriate for me to hear? I agree with Fonda et al - we should return to the Fairness doctrine, that way all voices may be heard, even Rush Limbaugh's.

5thKolumnisto
5thKolumnisto

Thirty plus years of the private property fetish has pretty much caused everyone to forget who owns the broadcast spectrum. When Dittoheads were crying about what Bill Maher said in a comedy club, few Limbaugh opponents were even able to make this argument. Give it another generation or two and no one will question that McDonald's, Ford, and AOL own the air we breathe.

I've gotten to the point where I couldn't care less if one of these blowhards mooching off the public airwaves gets knocked off the air for not being "politically correct"--just to remind everyone that broadcast radio is not a newspaper, a pay TV channel, or a Disqus forum.

William Albrecht
William Albrecht

 Huh? Ever hear of Air America? This is exactly a free speech issue. No one is stopping liberals from broadcasting on the air. The government should not decide what I can and can not listen to.  What do you not understand about this?

5thKolumnisto
5thKolumnisto

Box81a: "What Conor Friedersdorf fails to take into account is that the airwaves are owned by the public."

What do you not understand about this, Albrecht? The government issues broadcast licenses (and has for almost 80 years). The government already decides who is allowed to broadcast on the AM radio spectrum.

bl1y
bl1y

So, a story about what the controversy will do to his ratings has ...no actual statistics about his ratings. Just a bunch of meaningless speculation.

And his "much-coveted" 12-3pm slot? That's one of the worst slots available. The much-coveted times are morning and evening rush hour. 12-3am is better than where Rush is now.

William Jenkins
William Jenkins

And where is evidence you can back up your claims with? 

Dumb liberals can't stand the fact that other people are still allowed to listen to Rush Limbaugh. Choosing to not tune in or turn the radio off isn't good enough for these pricks... they have to demand everyone else have their choice taken away from them. Ironic that they support abortion but most certainly aren't "pro choice" with anything that they don't like. 

loulai
loulai

Limbaugh doesn't bash women. He called out Fluke for her faux " help me and my helpless little women friends. who can't afford birth control shtick". I'm a woman and a feminist. Any woman who wants birth control can ge it cheaply at Walmart and other outlets as well as health departments and Planned Parenthood. The vile spectacle of a 30 year old law student at an elite university putting on this kind of act-as well as the phony "horror" of some left wing pundits who routinely put women down as C**ts etc- was the reason for his comments. There is no right wing movement to ban birth control. Abortion is an issue for many but it's also true that many conservative women fully support a woman's right to abortion.    

chris1616
chris1616

You don't have the facts because you take Limbaugh as the bearer of truth without checking if his "facts" are correct or lies. Dittoheads don't bother to do a little research to find out that not all birth control pills are the same. If a doctor is treating a medical condition and prescribed a particular birth control pill with a hormone balance for the proper treatment it could cost $90.00 a month. You are not an enlighten feminist if you feel that a woman who is paying premiums for a health insurance policy that includes prescription coverage should go to Walmart or Planned Parenthood and pay out of pocket for a generic birth control pill. Birth control pills require a doctors visit and a prescription.Have you not read about the  Personhood Bill? That's a bill that right-wingers are pushing. It was not voted on in Mississippi and Colorado. If it had been approved it would have banned most forms of birth control and IVF treatment.

GeoX
GeoX

You didn't listen to the testimony, did you?  Well, either that, or you're a big ol' liar.

A Daily Reader
A Daily Reader

Ah, it wasn't "testimony".  It was a PRESS CONFERENCE.  If they fooled you once, you might want to take a look and see what else they've put over on you.

Ian
Ian

So calling women sluts and prostitutes is not bashing them to you?

Go to the thinkprogress.com web site and watch their 5 minute video of Rush excerpts from last week. It is even worse than you imagine. 73 individual attacks on Sandra Fluke for wanting to testify as past-president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice.

Growlawoffice
Growlawoffice

While one may disagree with name calling. The pricipals are true. The woman wants some else to pay for sex. Its okay for the left to spew their poison. But the rest must remsin silent. The left wants to rename and redine marriage. Everone who wants to keep it in its traditional form is called a "homophobic" as if they were ill. What a joke.

chris1616
chris1616

Growlawiffuce: Ms. Fluke was discussing the exclusion of birth control coverage when  policies are purchased and premiums are paid. She was not asking for anything beyond what is normally covered in a health care policy that includes prescriptions drug coverage. The "some else to pay for sex" is the lie that Limbaugh ranted about to destroy Ms. Fluke's reputations. Her testimony was about a  friend that had an ovarian cyst and the complications because of the lack of coverage and the delay in coverage of the doctor prescribed birth control pills to treat the condition.As long as the likes of Limbaugh and Gingrich are the face of the GOP you lose the tradition form of marriage argument.

William Albrecht
William Albrecht

 From her testimony:“In the worst cases, women who need these medications for other medical conditions suffer very dire consequences.

“A friend of mine, for example, has polycystic ovarian syndrome, and she has to take prescription birth control to stop cysts from growing on her ovaries. Her prescription is technically covered by Georgetown’s insurance because it’s not intended to prevent pregnancy."

No he friends medication was covered Chris....Did you bother to read the transcripts?

SHT
SHT

Why did you stop there? She went on to say the following:

"In 65 percent of the cases at our school, our female students were interrogated by insurance representatives and university medical staff about why they needed prescriptions and whether they were lying about their symptoms. For my friend, and 20 percent of the women in her situation, she never got the insurance company to cover her prescription. Despite verification of her illness from her doctor, her claim was denied repeatedly on the assumption that she really wanted birth control to prevent pregnancy.  "

Oh, now I know why you stopped there, you disingenuous scumbag.

Horatius
Horatius

 You are a blithering moron. She's already paying for health insurance. If she gets pregnant, the insurance company will have to cover it and pay a whole lot more. You are a fucking imbecile to not see something so simple.

Box81a
Box81a

Why is Viagra covered? If the issue is about recreational sex why aren't you b*tching about that?

William Albrecht
William Albrecht

 Many of us conservatives believe Viagra should not be covered either...but, that is not the topic at hand, is it Box?

flobaeker
flobaeker

 "Liberals crying about Viagra being "covered" are lying. '

It's more likely that the "good ole boys" will be craying about the Viagra not being covered.

George Mitchell
George Mitchell

Kind of like how it's hard for Conservatives to stick to the facts? If you were honest then you would say that Rush's characterization of Fluke was wrong, and he was wrong in what she was talking about in the first place.

William Jenkins
William Jenkins

Liberals crying about Viagra being "covered" are lying. 

Viagra is not mandated by Obamacare and Viagra is not covered under many insurance policies. I know it is hard for idiot liberals to wrap their heads around facts.

SHT
SHT

You just made it the topic. Fluke never mentioned her own sex life in her testimony, and Georgetown students pay for private insurance.

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