They're coming, Rush!
The Sunday morning talk shows had a real Rush Limbaugh bash-fest this morning, and that’s fine: he earned it, with his ill-considered and vicious attack on Sandra Fluke for stating her opinion. This is a real career crisis for Limbaugh, I think, and he knows it. His initial reaction to the furious criticism of his offensive comments about the Georgetown Law student was to refuse to back down, as has been his response to controversies his entire remarkable career, and it has served him well. Then he realized that this controversy was different. He had crossed a line of decency, fairness and civility that the culture as a whole, not just political adversaries, would not tolerate. He apologized, saying.
“For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.
“I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.
“My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.”
Was it a “real” apology? I’m going to discuss the issue of apology ethics in the next post, but yes, it was as real as most apologies. If one’s definition of apology is ” a statement of contrition and regret freely and sincerely given,” the answer is no. Very few apologies meet that high standard, if only for the reason that few of us will apologize unless an apology benefits us in some way or is unavoidable. Rush’s reputation is based on daring, outrageousness and his refusal to back down from the ‘truth” despite assaults from the “drive-by” media and the politically correct; he, of all people, would never apologize for anything he said on his show if he had any choice in the matter. In this case, I assume that Limbaugh was hearing from his affiliates, his sponsors, other talk show hosts, and political figures that he was courting disaster if he didn’t back down. Continue reading