Rush Limbaugh often refers to feminists as “feminazis,” but he simply appears to be projecting his own misogynist tendencies. Now Limbaugh is caught in another contradiction—and in an exposé of his sexual proclivities.
On March 2, 2012, Limbaugh used his radio talk show to launch another tirade. This time he targeted a Georgetown University law student, Sandra Fluke, who had attempted to speak before a House committee regarding a policy of the Obama administration. It would require employees of religious institutions to have access to health insurance coverage for birth control. The Republican-controlled committee turned down Democrats’ request that the student be allowed to testify.
Ms. Fluke was later able to speak to Congress but it was during a break when only a few Democratic supporters were in attendance. She explained that her own university’s student health plan failed to provide contraceptive coverage, which can cost a female student over $3,000 during her law school tenure. She also mentioned a friend whose ovary had to be removed because the birth-control prescription she needed to prevent the formation of cysts was not covered by her insurance.
Limbaugh angrily responded to the young woman’s suggestion that contraception be paid for. He launched what the Associated Press called “a lengthy and often savage verbal assault” on her.
“What does it say about the college coed . . . who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex?” Limbaugh asked. “It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.” He continued, addressing the student herself: “If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”
Now, Limbaugh’s question and reply beg for response in the same vein. If wanting coverage for contraceptives makes a woman a “prostitute,” then doesn’t visualizing and talking about her potential sexual activity on air mean he is engaging in, well, sex talk for pay? At the very least, Limbaugh has admitted his lascivious, voyeuristic tendencies, right?
The public outcry was immediate. Ms. Fluke was supported by faculty and administration at her Catholic university (Georgetown), as well as by congresspersons, women’s groups, and others. Cyberspace carried demands for sponsors of Limbaugh’s show to withdraw their ads, and, when several did, Limbaugh finally apologized—obviously motivated purely by money. Even so, however, he engaged in typical Limbaugh sneakiness, repeating his criticisms while regretting “the insulting word choices.” But it wasn’t just words that offended, Rush. As you know, there’s more than one way to be obscene.