Rush Limbaugh

On Saturday, talk show host Rush Limbaugh apologized for calling a Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute.” A dozen advertisers have now ditched Limbaugh’s show in response to the comments, which came after Fluke testified before Congress in support of health coverage for contraception. We discuss the incident and assess Limbaugh’s cultural and political influence.

Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women
Jeff Lord, former Reagan White House political director and contributing editor for the American Spectator
Eric Boehlert, senior fellow at Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog group
Randall Bloomquist, veteran talk radio programmer and journalist who most recently served as program director of news/talk 640 WGST in Atlanta

  • SnarkyBark

    By Rush’s stated logic, which is rather communistic, any product or service that the public pays for, such as in his example sex acts by law students paid for in small part with contraception, should be made available for public use, including voyeurism and sideline judgements. Sounds pretty reasonable to me. Since Rush was surely educated in public schools, I’d like to see his grades, please, especially his SAT scores, and psychological tests if any. In addition, if he went to a public college or received a Perkins grant perhaps his transcripts should be scanned and posting on Flickr. And if his OxyContin and hydrocodone addictions were treated with public money, let’s have all the details please.

  • olive

    In one article on Monday, Slate’s William Saleten points out Rush’s focus on Fluke included a discussion about the responsibility of men. I cut text below from Slate website. I’m not a fan of Rush but to be fair, he asked some good questions. Now I wonder if he took time during his program to try to answer them!

    6. What responsibility should men bear? “Where are the guys here? Do they not have a role?” Limbaugh asked. “There are men involved, and that would mean there’s some responsibility on the part of the men. Do they not have condoms? … What about these deadbeat boyfriends? … Where’s their responsibility?”

    • Chrisco

      Men support female contraception! Men have condoms, too but they fail. There is no problem here.

  • Ayn Marx 666

    I wish my Democratic Party were clever enough to have manœuvred the Republicans into at least seeming to be against contraception, and in one prominent case definitely being so (Santorum says the states should decide, but just how he’d try to get them to decide is obvious, and his even questioning the right to control one’s own body in this way would formerly have been beyond the pale).

    Others wiser than I have pointed-out that the vaunted “soccer mom” could not devote the time she does to her children (and, often, a part-time job) without birth control.  The libertarian Republicans have no problem with it, and even the business Republicans who constitute the second leg of the party tripod like their employees’ not taking off a lot of time for (and raising insurance rates by) pregnancy and child-care.

    Were Mr Santorum more appealing to anyone who didn’t already agree with him, he might be able to move the Overton Window for contraception, but he seems distinctly unappealing outside his base, as his turning-out from the Senate in his own by his own demonstrated.

    (Next: getting all the persons who hate gay sex to admit that they’d also like to ban all non-procreative sex between straight people—a fair number of them do, but they’re oddly silent on the subject, perhaps [and this is but speculation] because they’re less willing to attack the beloved practices of 97% of the populace than those of what are, away from a few centres, a small minority.)

    • Ayn Marx 666

      (I forgot to say that I _wished_ my party had the smarts to have got the Republicans into this corner, but I think the G.O.P. may take all the credit therefor….)

  • Maria

    Why aren’t we hearing about a common form of birth control- Vasectomies? They are covered by most insurance plans, and I wonder if there is broad opposition to let employers cover this procedure.  Do the groups that oppose funding female contraception oppose vasectomies too?

  • Henry

    Limbaugh has been doing this for years, and it’s good to see him finally called out for it. But the Republican politicians are not likely to abandon their timorous fealty to Limbaugh, Grover Norquist, et al.

    Moreover, why are Limbaugh and these contemporary barbarians called “conservatives.” It’s an insult to the memory of Edmund Burke, among others. These are radical reactionaries. 

    • Ayn Marx 666

      A good conservative of the old type should face facts, and one of those facts is that the term has been appropriate by a rag-tag confederacy (term chosen carefully) of theocrats, Babbitts much more concerned with profit than culture or morals or preserving the physical commonwealth, and Classical Liberals who worship at the feet of Creative Destruction.

      She or he should take comfort that they are not alone in this dispossession:  Classical Liberals had ‘liberal’ taken away from them to mean instead ‘lukewarm quarter-arsed social democrat’, and had to steal the term ‘libertarian’ from the (usually left-wing) anarchists.  Communists had their term stolen from them by authoritarian Bolschewik State Capitalists.

      You have my sympathy—some days I feel more like a Red Tory than anything else—but this is how things are…Buckley said that the conservative should stand athwart history screaming ‘Stop’, but he never said it would really work….

      • Henry

         Thoughtful and interesting response. Thanks.

  • This guy’s drawing a false equivalency. Bill Maher bags on Palin because she is a public figure participating in the public slimefest, whereas Limbaugh attacked a “civillian” for participating in the civic process. That’s absurd.

  • Karen

    The Right and Limbaugh supporters continue to do what they’re good at… maligning those they don’t agree with and placing the blame onto others.  

    • Yes_hua

      Wait a minute? McCarthyism? Labeling anyone against the Iraq war ‘unpatriotic’ or worse? Drop the 1984 doublespeak about what the Right does all the time. Ever listen to Michael Savage? Divert the attention from heinous remarks by blaming the Left. I’m not calling for Rush’s head. But why do we confuse his form of entertainment w real insight?

  • Donna

    Who is this guy defending Rush? He is disgusting, it’s hard to listen to.

  • This guy is an excellent example of the Right continuously doing horrible things, then painting themselves as “victims” because their “rights” to be jerks are trampled on.

  • Someone needs to remind conservatives like Mr. Lord that free speech is only protected against restriction by the government under the first amendment. The Ms. O’Neill is encouraging private broadcasters and advertisers to decline to give Limbaugh a commercial platform, and that is not something he is entitled to under the first amendment. Conservatives have had engaged in similar public pushback against people on the left as well.

  • Annette

    Since Russ has his own issues he should run vidoes everytime he takes his “drugs”, both leagal and illegal.  We would then know when he’s ‘on fire’ with drugs.  These drugs are both pills and by looking at him, that would also include food. Everytime he ingests pills. sugar or fats, show us under full disclosure if it’s him or the drugs talking.

  • Kathleen31

    NOT a matter of stifling dissent. NOT a First Amendment issue. NOT a matter of Ed Shulz’ or Bill Maher’s comments. NOT a matter of unfairness to a private citizen vs. a public figure. PLEASE, Michael, do not let this apologist for Rush Limbaugh get away with trying to reframe the issue.

  • Eamonn

    Your right wing guest needs to read his constitution before he starts quoting the First Amendment and comparing the justified outrage about Limbaugh to the horrors of the French Revolution.  The first amendment only prevents government from silencing anyone.  As a private citizen I can still tell blowhards like Limbaugh to shut up, and asking advertisers to cut the flow of money to this woman-hating Taliban on the right is in itself an exercise of free speech.

  • Dsetter

    1 I question the inordinate power given to Rush as Limbaugh’s Arbitron Audience numbers have declined significantly when no using their traditional estimates based upon logs but using the more acvurate People Meter
    2 As Bain Capital is the owner of Clear Channel, broadcaster and employer of not only Rudh Limbaugh but Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck etc one must consider the fact that one of the Republican candidates has a horse in this race

  • Joe

    Why did he even apologize?  He’s made plenty of ad hominem attacks throughout his career, why is this any different?  

  • James

    Why don’t we hear about Rush’s opinion about Viagra? You can’t be against contraception and believe health insurance should pay for Viagra.

  • stevan

    The first amendment protect protects you from the government tacking action regarding your speech. It does not protect you from me criticizing your speech and it does not protect you from your employer. 

  • Mikatoga

    Amazing to hear Jeff Lord defend Limbaugh and to imply that ‘the left’ is hypocritical in criticizing him.  Backlash?  Absurd.  I foresee that these former sponsors will thrive in the wake of their prudent decisions to stop financing Limbaugh..

  • Mbettman

    Who is going after Rush?  Isn’t it his audience, or those who have had the misfortune of hearing him?  Aren’t THEY practicing free speech?  Society is dictating who lives on the air and who dies, this is  no “leftist conspiracy”.

  • Dgreggd

    The First Amendment protects a speaker against *government* restraint on speech. Nobody is suggesting the state censor–or even censure–Limbaugh. This is an issue of civility in the marketplace of ideas, and attacks on women’s sexuality are the same as the sexist and racist comments that removed Don Imas from the air–not by the government, but by the complaints and switching of decent people of all creeds. We who care about civility in discourse and respect for all people should continue to push extremists on both ends to the media margins, through our listening and buying choices.

  • Kek

    The issue here is not whether people should be taken off the air.  Please let Rush Limbaugh reveal on a daily basis what a horrible person that he is.  This whole “left” tactical argument is just ridiculous.  When you criticize the right, it turns into some fascist conspiracy, which is just ridiculous, and as long as we let this ridiculous argument  go on, we go nowhere.  Nowhere is, in my opinion, where the right wants to go.  And they are successful as long as we entertain their bigotry

  • James Ivey

    Just as I was about to turn the radio off to avoid the vile rhetoric of Mr. Lord, I’m happy to hear Mr. Boehlert come on and provide some reason and context.  

    I have conservative friends and family.  My parents are members of the Tea Party.  But Rush Limbaugh spews hate and venom constantly.  That’s not Right vs. Left; that’s just awful.  Rush wasn’t debating insurance for birth control; he was bullying one person who expressed a contrary opinion.  That’s not free speech.  That’s just wrong.

  • Lee Robinson

    I have listened to both sides and i agree that limbaugh making himself out to be the victim is deplorable. Apologizing for something you said and apologizing for your feelings over someting you said are two two different things. I have been listening to rush for years due to the concept “know thy enemy”. It time to stop the twists and turns of language to polarize a people.

  • Charleston Chu

    Don’t muzzle Rush…it’s better that the public at large gets to see the real face of the GOP. 

    Besides…Rush does not appear to be a healthy man, and he may well have outlived his usefulness to the GOP, after this election season…

  • Committed listener to Forum

    This show cannot be off the air soon enough.  Jeff Lord cannot see that he is doing exactly what he is the “left” media of doing.  Rather than responding directly to question asks,  he is deflecting and attacking based on statements made from 2009.  I rarely feel the need to turn off Forum, but today is one of those days.  I cannot stand hearing Mr. Lord’s hypocritical comments any longer.

  • Guest

    Rush’s comments constitute slander.  He published statements that were untrue, causing harm to the subject of his speech, and made no effort to investigate the veracity of his speech, and he made his statements with actual malice – meaning he intended to do Ms. Fluke harm.  This kind of speech is NOT protected by the First Amendment. 

  • Kathleen31

    Please stop catering to Mr. Lord!! You do not need to ask Media Matters if Rush has a Constitutional right to have a radio show, as if there are two sides here. No debate needed, this is NOT a First Amendment issue!!

  • Joe

    Ugh, too many “guests” on the phone talking quickly, loudly, and simultaneously.  

    The talking heads here are more interested in just trumpeting their talking points rather than having an actual discussion.  You can tell because they don’t let anyone finish a statement before starting up their own.    

    Remember when Forum used to be a program for reasonable dialogue?  Shame on the Forum producers.  Krasny needs to take more control over this discussion and keep it classy.

  • Jps

    Rush Limbaugh accused a college student of being a prostitute. That is not an opinion it is an accusation of a crime in a public forum. That is slander and is not protected by the 1st Amendment.  He should be prosecuted.

  • Julio E.

    I agree with one aspect of rightist Jeff Hord’s (?) comments:
    Rush Limbaugh should not be silenced. Let him blather on so that light shines on the creepy mind of a bigoted gasbag. It helps define the nature of the Republican base. 

  • james d.

    How specious of an argument is “well, someone else did it, so it must be okay?”  Whatever anyone else said is irrelevant to the fact that Rush did use his position abusively to effectively threaten any future similar testimony.  This limits the dialogue to name-calling; divisive and distracting from real issues.

  • Karen

    In the name of free speech, I’d like to hear what a professional would say about the state of Rush Limbaugh’s mindset as a hater, and, in turn, what effect that has upon those who listen to his radio program.  

  • Sooze

    Gender Hypocracy. Even If I agreed with the argument that “I don’t want to pay for these slut’s sex lives…” where is the equivalent argumet regarding males. Doesn’t a lot of insurance pay fro Viagra? for vasectomies? Those are primarily intended to allow men beyong breeding age to have sex, or men of breeding age to have sex withour breeding. Aren’t they asking us to pay for their “non-productive” sex?

  • Eric

    I have been a Republican for almost 30 years and the party and conservative movement in general has been taken over by religious fanatics no different than the Ayatollahs of Iran.  When they can even attempt to justify calling a young woman these vile names then they have completely lost touch. 

    I am changing parties after this election.

  • Sammy

    Dumping Rush is capitalism and democracy working. People don’t want to hear it and they don’t like his message so they are not listening to him or supporting his advertisers with with money. Rush should love it. It is capitalism. It is not an assault on his first amendment rights. He is allowed to have an opinion we just don’t want to hear it. First amendment doesn’t require people to buy his crap.

  • Jon

    The First Amendment guarantees free speech, not a job. 

  • GEP

    Rush has built a career, and repeatedly represents that which the world loathes about American culture.  Extremist, bigoted, and self-absorbed.  He’s a drug addicted, disgusting, narrow minded bully, a clanging gong ~ and I’m a Sacramento native (where he started) and from a family of Republicans.  It’s beyond time we all have the benefit of his silence!

    • Joe

      Eh, you can’t just call for someone to be silent because you don’t like what they’re saying.  What we need is reasonable discussion in the media and among the general population.  

      • Sam

        There is a reasonable discussion happing. It is on this show. KQED always has a full discussion. Rush and talk radio is almost always spewing hate

    • MT

      I’ve done a lot of travelling and ”
      Extremist, bigoted, and self-absorbed. ” can be found in every corner of the world, not just America, fact.

  • Annelise

    I appreciated David Frum’s commentary:


    Point 4:
    Most fundamentally, why the impulse to
    counter one outrageous stunt by rummaging through the archives in search
    of some supposedly offsetting outrageous stunt? Why not respond to an
    indecent act on its own terms, and then — if there’s another indecency
    later — react to that too, and on its own terms?

    Instead, public life is reduced to a revenge drama. Each offense is
    condoned by reference to some previous offense by some undefined “them”
    who supposedly once did something even worse, or anyway nearly as bad,
    at some point in the past.

  • Paula

    Bully. Plain and simple. Rush has gotten away with bullying people for years. We know a lot about bullying behavior. Sadly, people are drawn to bullies. That is no excuse to support or defend anyone such behavior? The fact that Rush is a charismatic entertainer with tremendous political influence makes his bullying all the more frighteningly effective. This is not a first amendment issue. Does the bully on the public school playground have the right to bully others? Arent we trying to teach our youth to find productive means of resolving conflicts with zero tolerance for bullying? Republicans are foolishly hiding behind the first amendment. They should embrace this moment to dump rush as their spokesperson. It’s about time this embarrassing era in broadcasting end.

  • Rick

    I agree with Mr. Lord, that Rush should not be forcibly pulled of the air, let the audiences do that. But everything else he says is non-sense. Rush Limbaugh has gone way over the line and as long as conservatives continue to brainlessly hammer away at the left without thoughtfulness, they will continue to loose people like me. Where are the Eisenhower conservatives?

  • Laura

    guests as well as many media outlets and politicians who have attempted to turn
    this into some political matter, misunderstand this issue.  The issue is
    not about contraception or the free expression of opinions or Republicans or
    Democrats or who should be President.  If that’s all this was, there would
    be no uproar. 


    Limbaugh used his radio show to attack one young woman, defaming and demeaning
    her with vile names and suggestions, which debase all women.  I am a
    strong advocate of freedom of speech, but his vile attack on a 22 year old
    female student crosses a line that is considerably beyond mere debate about any
    political subject.  As a mother of a 22
    year old college student myself, I am deeply offended and disturbed by his
    anti-women statements. 


    Jimmy Snyder on CBS made a racist comment, he was fired and no one tried to say
    he was debating a question about athletes.  When Dr. Laura did the same on
    her radio show, she was removed from the air.  It is unfathomable that anyone would defend
    Mr. Limbaugh in this situation and why he remains able to use the public
    airways to defame and attack one single young woman. 



  • tim

    can someone comment on social responsibility? The 1st amendment issue is irrelevant, we all have the right to say what we want. But like the classic example of yelling fire in a crowded room we need to exercise judgment and responsbility and could be subject to charges of public endangerment, libel, and in this case wihtdrawn sponsors. As a person talking to a friend i am responsible for my speech, if i teach a group of students i have a greater responsibility,if i am a national figure with an audience of millions, i have a greater responsiblity still.

  • Warner

    The left suppress free speech? What about the republican attack on the ACLU and the variety of free speech issues they advocate for? Seems to me I remember the republican rallying cry awhile back “a card carrying member of the ACLU” as an insult and attack against left leaning politicians.

  • Ershaffer

    Republicans and dissent? Puh-leez!  Remember sacking Dan Rather for telling the truth about W’s cowardly and fabricated military record?  Limbaugh is bullying women and hiding behind every distraction he can think of to avoid the ugly truth about his agenda, which includes unbridled and hateful attacks on people who do actually effectively express support for women’s rights.

  • Wallace

    Limbaugh is like an Internet troll. He behaves in a nasty, depraved
    manner as spews an unending stream of logical fallacies and outright

    But besides this colorful Tourette’s syndrome episodes he is no
    different than so-called “left” pundits like Schultz in his tactics.

    They are all pro-Establishment, pro-Pentagon, pro-Israel, pro-corporate, pro-religion liars.

  • Wayne

    The notion that a public boycott (as American as any other first amendment iaction) s tantamount to Robespierre’s guillotine is beyond the pale and just says it all about te hollowness of the Right’s histrionic position.

  • Jennifer

    Bullying is an issue we are trying to address with our children. By allowing such bigoted, sexist language to be spewed on our airwaves we’re basically telling them to “do as we say, not as we do”. Limbaugh is the biggest bully of them all, plain and simple.

  • Dennis Boyd

    I didn’t catch the name of the person on the NPR piece lst nigth that said she had some reservations speaking against Limbaugh not knowing if she would be targeted next. 

    Sounds like Joe McCarthy reincarnated. Get rid of this hate monger once and for all.

  • gregory slater

    i think we all know that limbaugh is a disgusting, right wing pig and hate monger.  that’s been his schtick for his entire career.  that’s how he made his fortune.  Of course he should be thrown off the air.  That should have happened decades ago.  But he is an incredibly valuable propagandist for right wing corporate and big money interests – demonizing the ‘left’ and getting out the mindless, tribal, hate-driven, fear-driven, cracker vote like nobody else.Is there anyone who didn’t already know this?  Seriously?However, he actually raises a point – should contraceptives (that is, the enormous fraction of contraceptives that are used for contraception, not the far lower usage prescribed to treat medical conditions) should contraceptives used purely for contraception be paid for by the government? Should my rubbers be paid for by taxpayers in general?  I actually think it’s a good idea.  But I can see that legitimate morally conservative Americans might have a problem with it.Can we talk about that?Thanks,- Greg Slater

  • Donaquijote

    Listening to this discussion makes crystal clear the lack of civility that reigns in this country today.
    Diana Robinson

    • Aneece

      Aren’t there much more important values than civility in public debate? We have “civil” political actors in this country who are corrupt and/or intellectually dishonest. I’d much rather a public debate that was uncivil but honest rather than David Brooks and Tom Friedman sipping tea at Davos and spewing B.S.

      • gregory slater

        you are confusing ‘civility’ with ‘non-adversarial’.  one could argue passionately and adversarially against government funding for contraceptives without gratuitous and ad hominem character assassination.  right?

        • The word “civil” is used imprecisely in American politics. It’s a red flag for BS, just as like the word “moderate”. I personally like people to behave with courtesy, but that’s preference, a taste. Honesty and good faith are non negotiable. Without them, the republic falls, yet all the pearl clutching in this country is over people being mean.

          Our political commentators beg for civility and “Bipartisanship”. Do you know what the greatest bi-partisan triumph of the past generation was? The Iraq War. I wish politicians had been less civil, and more “divisive” (another supposedly bad word) and denounced the war mongers. But then, would we have had enough smelling salts to recover from the scandal?

  • Jesset

    First off, Ed Schultz was put on one week PAID leave.  In what world is that really ‘punishment’?  Secondly, Rush has succeeded in steering the conversation from whether insurance should really cover contraception to some silly faux outrage.  As it stands, it’s a violation of the First Amendment, which is a losing issue for Democrats.  Contraception is widely available in a myriad of different forms and is inexpensive even without a prescription.

    • Bob Fry

       There is no 1st Amendment issue here as much as the far-right would like to say it.

    • Ayn Marx 666

      I, for one, don’t like Mr Schultz’ show—he seems to have retained many of the habits of speech and of mind he cultivated back when he was a Limbaugh ‘mini-me’, and I like them even less on my side than on the other.

  • Lolalabrea

    Rush Limbaugh’s comments were violent. You don’t have
    to be on the right or left to know this is simply wrong.

    This is not about freedom of speech this is about violent,
    insulting, disgusting language that insists rape. 

    It’s not about calling someone a slut and prostitute – it’s
    ALL the incredibly offensive things that came after that! Demanding to see the
    sex video is the kind of language that incites violence and has led to gang

    The words he used and demands he made are the same kind of
    things that were said to the 60 minutes reporter in Egypt right before she was
    attacked. These are the same kind of comments that were yelled at a peace corp
    worker in the Middle East right before she was violently raped and these are
    the same kinds of things that have been said to young women on college women
    right before they have gang rape. 

    This is not a political issue. This is a common decency

    Keeping him on the air is saying that it’s okay to say the
    things he did.

  • Bob Fry

    I’ve lived in Sacramento 30 years…when Rush began here long ago he *was* funny…but when he went national his head swelled to equal his body and he took himself seriously. I quit listening long ago to his angry monologues.

  • Chrisco

    “Rush is in freefall!” It’s a great day.

  • Dolphin

    Is this the only developed country which is still discussing whether to offer women the option of contraceptives? I didn’t hear any discussion about Viagra getting insurance coverage!  Are we going back in time in this country?

  • Lolalabrea

    Rush Limbaugh’s comments were violent. You don’t have
    to be on the right or left to know this is simply wrong. This is not about
    freedom of speech this is about violent, insulting, disgusting language that
    insists rape. This is not a political issue. This is a common decency
    issue. Keeping him on the air is saying that it’s okay to say the things he

  • Ayn Marx 666

    Maybe the conservatives have such a problem with our calling for the Market’s being influenced by these events is rooted in their silly relevance for it.  They take the Market as normative, because that way all its ‘decisions’ can be taken as best, not only in terms of Pareto optimisation (an abstruse concept) but morally as well—which frees-up one from any kind of moral responsibility for helping the unfortunate.

    That is to say, they are used to saying that the Market knows best…so the prospect of its voting ‘no’ on Mr Rush Hudson Limbaugh III were very distressing to them.  (When Bill Maher got dumped for what should have been an innocuous observation that even our enemies can be brave, albeit in a monstrous cause, and that we can be cowardly in a good, all but the stupidest of my side didn’t invoke the First Amendment, but just said, ‘Here’s our venal, craven, and regressive system misbehaving again…what else is new?’  Once you decide that even people who can’t earn enough money to eat shouldn’t starve, the Market’s glamour is broken.)

  • Katherine

    Rush Limbaugh’s behavior is no different than my 7 year old son’s when he does something he fully know’s is wrong and then throws out a quick and desperate “sorry” when he realizes there are consequences he doesn’t like in hopes that he will get off easy… and it is looking like Rush Limbaugh will get off easy.  

  • Daniel Danielson106

    To refer to the First Amendment is ridiculous. It is the same as to refer to the Second Amendment as if it justifies shooting in public and killing people even without premeditation.

    The comment of the Rush’s protector is ridiculous. A private citizen who testifies in the Congress is still a private citizen. She has not turned into a public politician or took an office, or was aspiring of any. On the other hand, Rush is not a private citizen but has millions audience. They are in way too different “weight categories”.

    What only the right are not capable of in their hate towards human freedoms and dignity.

  • Jafrydad

     If you feel that you can’t debate the issue on the merits of  issue itself, you’ve already lost the debate. Attack dialogue is the result of believing that your audience does not know better.

  • Tas05

    Taxpayers are not paying for her health care.  IT is a private health care insurer.  PLEASE DON’T LET THIS SLIDE.

  • Daniel Danielson106

    In all disgust of Rush, let us admit that he did a favor to the Democrats and to the nation by reminding one more time what the Republicans are REALLY about. He screwed up – for his party.

  • David

    There was no appology. He didn’t acknowledge the impact of his actions. Rather what I heard was a defense of the tactic because “the left” does the same thing. I think when you look at Ed Schultz you’d see the left doesn’t treat Rush the same. Why should my money that I pay to a sponsor for their products be turned around and given to support Rush’s hate speech? Mr Lord doesn’t seem to be furthering the conversation. What I hear is someone parroting Rush’s comments and point of view.

  • Agrosenthal

    This  fellow from Media Matters strikes me as a caricature of smug, left-wing intellectual superiority. And I probably agree with 90% of this guy’s politics. But his condescension and lecturing turns my stomach. It’s a cousin of John Kerry posing at NASCAR races and Barack Obama talking about people placing their faith in guns, etc…

    • Aneececolt

      You know, there’s a party ready to cater to your social resentments, and all they ask in return is permission to do everything in their power to make your life worse. Do we have a deal?

  • wda

    “Bully” the left’s latest power word.

    • Don

      Not really…. just an observation.

    • cageordie

      That’s all you’ve got? 

    • Chowza

      And what would you call Limbaugh’s language.

  • David

    I also have to say that Rush has cheapened his word by these cheap and disgusting attacks. How can he really be a counter-balance when he slanders people and lies. He reminds me of the late Andrew Breitbart who I keep hearing was a counterbalance but he created some many fabrications.

  • Don

    Rush attacked Sandra Fluke (and women in general) for advocating that their health plans cover birth control… according to his illogic this puts them into his category of “being payed for sex”. Huh? Yet, in typical myopic style he does not extend his own logic to MEN.  Many health plans already provide VIAGRA for men.  How is that different? 

  • Jps

    In response to Jeff Lord’s bizarre defense of Limbaugh’s direct accusation of Sandra Fluke as not accurate, here is the quote, “What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes
    before a congressional committee and says that she must be paid to have
    sex. What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a
    prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.” “It makes her a prostitute.” That is a direct and deliberate accusation.

  • lbuxman

    I generally like Forum but think that the quality of the guest Mr Lord to defend Rush is very poor, but perhaps it is because he has so few arguments to draw on.  

    His two arguments, that someone is trying to take away Rush’s 1st Amendment rights is laughable, as is his argument for a vast conspiracy by “THE LEFT” to silence dissent.

    There is no 1st Amendment right to have a talk show and receive money from sponsors.  If a company selling widgets is spending it’s profits backing a right wing (or left wing) mouthpiece, anyone has the right to tell that company that they won’t buy their products anymore.  This is why I don’t use AT&T anymore – I just want telecom services, not to make big donations to Rick Perry and the Tea Party.  My decision to avoid AT&T and recommend that course of action to others has nothing to do with taking away AT&T’s 1st Amendment rights.

    That “THE LEFT” is engaged is a vast conspiracy to silence dissent is just as silly.  Not only do sociology studies show that so-called lefties appreciate a variety of dissenting info sources, but also that conservatives like listening to what they already believe (aka Faux News).  Further, a Republican talking point is to trash the media, as seen as a key plank of Newt Gingrich’s campaign.  Would Mr Lord argue that Newt is trying to take away’s CNN’s right to ask about why Newt abandoned and cheated on his wife when she was diagnosed with MS?

    Lastly, assuming for a moment that this were a  goal of “THE LEFT” then their effectiveness has been very poor.  There is no equivalent to Fox News on TV, and you can pretty much count on the AM dial (except maybe one station here or there) being dominated by angry Right Wing talk show hosts or gold conspiracy theorists.  Compared to Rush, the AM dial and Fox, there are no similarly popular or effective outlets promoting the Left in the media today. 

    • cageordie

      Well said, saved me the trouble.

      But there really isn’t a left in this country. There’s right and far right. The right wing in the UK would be considered left wing here. The US is repeating the Dickensian period of British history. Next we get work houses and debtors prison. Scrouge is a Republican role model. 

      • Naiou1day


    • Curious what you thought about Eric Boehlert?
      While I agree that Lord was making insanely ridiculous statements, I was disappointed that Boehlert didn’t rise above it.  Listen to the program again and you’ll hear him yelling a lot as well, interrupting Krasny repeatedly.  Not a very gracious guest.

  • Aneececolt

    Where in the First Amendment does it guarantee the right to advertisers’ money on your radio show? Libertarian leaning conservatives always claim the free market is king. A boycott is just a group of free consumers, freely shifting there spending according to their free will. To my mind, this sounds like libertarian paradise.

    Coservatives, you either need to change your ideology, or suck it up and let the free market and personal resposibility work.

  • Kathleen31

    I’m so disappointed in this past hour. It turned into too much back and forth about whether or not “The Left” is or is not going after poor, poor Rush.

    • cageordie

      To give Jeff Lord his due, he did turn the conversation the way he wanted. Putting him on first set the tone for the whole program and basically gave him all he could have hoped for. He defined the discussion and diverted attention from what RL said. Best he could have hoped for.

  • guest

    Who needs al-Queda with folks like Rush?  He single handily launched the politics of hate that is destroying the fabric and health of our country. If we can’t get over this and find ways to disagree while maintaining basic respect for each other, and remembering in the end we are all American’s, we’re doomed.   I wonder which insurance plan paid for his years on prescription pain-killers, just sayin….. 

  • Patrick

    Here is the thing that gets me: The right keeps saying this is about religious freedom.  So if my employer believes that blood transfusion are verboten (as do Jehovah’s Witnesses) can they insist that any medical insurance they provide exclude blood transfusions from coverage?  Also would this mean any business run by a Christian Scientist be completely exempt from the Health Care Reform act?  If that is the case I see many business leaders converting to the Church of Christ, Scientist in the near future.

  • Disappointed Forum Listener

    Has Jeff Lord read the 1st Amendment?  He seems to be arguing that Rush has a constitutional right to get money from sponsors that disagree with his politics.

    Rush’s comments were calculated and reprehensible.  He deserves to have his sponsors bailout.  If a group like Media Matters wants to exercise it’s free speech rights pointing this out, there is no attempt by anyone to take away Rush’s constitutional rights.

  • Guest

    Doesn’t most insurance pay for vasectomies and for Viagra? Don’t these two things allow men to have sex, and in the case of vasectomies, sex without intent to procreate? By Rush’s reasoning, wouldn’t that make these men “prostitutes” because “we” pay for their sex?

  • Guest

    Thank you, Rush, for so ably demonstrating to young women (and those who care about them) the dangers lurking in the mind-set of the far-right, religiously extreme conservatives. They will twist these women’s words and demonize them in an attempt to redefine their thoughts and actions, control their lives, and curtail their freedoms.

    • Don

      Great point…and imagine the outcome of his vitriol if this were the age of witch trials!  Evolution is a very, very slow process…

      • Guest (again)

        Yes, but maybe this incident, in bringing Rush to the attention of many who knew they disliked his shtick but who pretty much ignored him, maybe this will speed the evolutionary process. When your survival is threatened, you must evolve. Or the ecosystem you want to survive in must change. Let’s work for that change, and perhaps speed the extinction of the Rushes of this world.

  • michael o

     Ignore him!!!  This is his, and other “shock jocks'” stock and trade.  He does not neccessarily even believe what he says.  If you talk about him it keeps him in business.  If you scratch the rash you spread it.  IGNORE HIM.  I wish the general media would.  Stop giving him your power!

    • Wallace

      Or as they say in forums, “Don’t feed the troll.”

    • Lbrmouse

       The problem is the vast number of people who do listen and will keep on listening and then quoting his bile and lies. If “free and open discourse” is the ultimate goal, then there needs to be some give-and-take in both directions when outrageous comments like Limbaugh’s are made. It’s a shame that there are people who believe what he says when he launches into “entertainer” mode.

  • chowza

    Limbaugh’s disgraceful extended commentary amply demonstrated to my daughter (21 years old0 that the battle for women’s rights and equality is not over.  To people like Limbaugh and his apologist Lord, women have no place in the public sphere and when they have the temerity to paricipate, they and their sexual habits (real or in this case imagined) are to be attacked in a  repulsive manner.  The trick is to attack their views by attacking them as a human being.
    As for First Amendment rights, there is no First Amendment right to defame someone.  Lord seemed to suggest that once someone agreed to appear in front of Congress, they became public property and can be attacked in completely vile ways.  What a debasement of democracy.

    Second, no-one is suggesting censoring Limbaugh or his ilk.  Rather, freedom of speech involves the right to respond vigorously and to go after his sponsors particularly  in a David and Goliath situation where Limbaugh has 15 hours per week to spew his views.  As for doing so being a left wing tactic, why then is it used by the right, for example when evangelical groups threaten and try to carry out boycotts of companies that offer employment benefits to same sex partners or support same sex marriage?  Think Disney, Starbucks, Microsoft.  The evangelicals tend to be in Mr. Lord’s camp.
    Because Limbaugh’s comments are indefensible, all Lord had was the old “best defence is a good offence” tactic:  somehow arguing that poor old Rush is now the victim.  I guess that is all he had and unfortunately for him, he did not do a particularly good job of it.  Must be tough attempting to pick up the poop of the de facto leader of the current version of the Republican party.

  • JVG

    The reason that Limbaugh’s comments are causing such a controversy this time is because they come at the end of a string of attacks on womens rights including culminating in trying to force vaginal probes on women who chose abortion.   Limbaugh embodies everything that is wrong with the GOP at this point in history.  From lies and misinformation (it’s not taxpayer money; birth control cost is not dependent on quantity of sex, etc.) on a variety of matters, we’ve reached a tipping point.  Enough is enough.  

  • Alameda Dan

    Does anyone else consider this entire discussion an act of misdirection? I am a conservative republican/independent and do not agree with most of Rush Limbaugh’s comments or stances on political issues, etc. I do find him to be ridiculously entertaining and I truly believe that he makes most of his controversial comments merely to draw attention to himself. I do not believe that his views are a reflection of the great majority of conservative citizens. It does seen sad that media attention to his words and actions are helping to keep Mr. Limbaugh In the public eye. While notable persons such as Michael Krasny are focusing on the inane musings of fringe madmen like Limbaugh real issues are going unnoticed. Such is the media slight of hand

    • JVG

      I don’t think important issues are “going unnoticed” especially at NPR.  And I find it hard to see how Limbaugh’s nasty, egocentric diatribes can be entertaining.  Limbaugh is significant because of one reason only and that is that the GOP is influenced by him.  They cater to him, grovel to him and fear crossing him.  Otherwise, he would be obnoxious but meaningless.  

  • In many rural parts of the country, Rush Limbaugh and a few other conservative talk networks are the only talk radio available over the airwaves.  I’d like to see more variety.  Internet radio and Iphone technology can improve that situation.  Now stations like KQED can be available, even in places like Harney County in Southeast Oregon.

  • claudia

    Jeffrey Lord claims that “the Left,” in its outcry over Limbaugh’s treatment of Ms. Fluke, is
    trying to silence anyone who disagrees with them.

    I am
    not a member of “the Left.”  But I do know that the Nazis used German
    democratic institutions and freedoms legally to incite hatred and
    destruction of everyone they viewed as their enemies – not just minorities but their political opponents.  They claimed that THEY, the
    patriotic National Socialists and their industrialist allies, were the  actual
    “victim” being discriminated against by everyone else. This is an old tactic
    and it worked very well for those monsters.

    Evil exists because good people are silent, writes Elie Wiesel.  It is fine to be tolerant and allow everyone free expression, including Limbaugh.  But when the line is crossed, as with Limbaugh’s latest obscene spew, it is plain for all to see. This is not what we should countenance as a decent country. That the question of allowing or disallowing such filth is even being debated worries me, suggesting how powerful and dangerous Limbaugh and his allies have become. Ordinary German people once found Hitler laughable.  Then they stopped laughing.

  • Anonymous

    Jeff Lord is virtually psychotic.  Rush Limbaugh is “extraordinarily well-known”?  So what!  He trashed a private citizen for 3 days.  3 DAYS!  Hardly an error or “misspeak.”  This was planned and executed.  Period.  No comparison, ever!

  • Beth

    Personally I think words like Rush Limbaugh, Bill Maher have used in regard to women are unacceptable and vulgar. 

    The bigger picture is the way this nation as a whole has gotten in the gutter, be it politicians, tv/radio show hosts, music artists.  And this happens when we the public allow it.

  • Nanette

    Mr. Lord was very wrong; the people fighting to take Rush off the air are doing it because he was vicious and completely in the wrong. They are not doing it because, as he says, they are part of the “left” and that is what the “left” does. They are fighting for what they believe in. Under the First Amendment, you have the right to free speech, but you cannot slander people’s reputations. That is exactly what Rush was doing, slandering the woman’s reputation.

  • Bradley

    Limbaugh has been an arrogant and self-righteous entertainer posing as proclaimed prophet of the republican party for many years. This doesn’t change my opinion of him much – it was already in the basement. Even so, I am concerned that his apparent self-righteous outrage over Sandra Fluke and the contraception debate is merely a purposeful and insincere distraction from the fact that there have been signs of economic improvement in recent weeks. The republican party needs to keep attention away from economic improvement to win the election and Limbaugh does what is expedient for the party.

  • progressivetruth

    i regret that i didn’t tune in on this earlier.  i didn’t read everyone’s comments, but during the segment that i did catch in the evening repeat broadcast, i didn’t hear anyone say how inequitable women are treated around issues regarding her sexuality and contraception while it’s ok for insurances to cover costs for viagra for men.  

  • Proud feminazi!

    3 men and 1 woman. That says it all. 

  • I was greatly dismayed by this program.  While I think Forum’s heart was
    in the right place when choosing to cover this issue, the discussion
    quickly descended into acrimony (of which both Boehlert and Lord were

    Within a few minutes it was clear that I was listening to the same
    hotheaded partisan talking points as from commercial news outlets. 

    Forum: I expect better from you and usually get it, though not in this
    case.  I hope the producers will do a better job of selecting their
    guests in the future and keep the political ideologues (from both sides)
    off the program. 

    Bloomquist and O’Neill were fine, by the way.

  • tomhoser

    In this and many other discussions of this issue it is telling to observe the immediate counter attack supersedes the real base question “Would you like your daughter, wife or sister addressed in this manner? From anybody? Under any circumstances?” Me thinks the right doth protest too much.

  • DBaty

    Friday 3/9/12:  Something no caller brought up is that the national airwaves are a national resource.  The ability to broadcast your views over public airwaves comes with responsibilities.  You can’t advocate violent overthrow of the government.  You can’t say blacks should be (re)enslaved.  And you can’t attack people personally, especially with vile words.  In the past Rush would have been banned by the FCC.  Apparently, a change in the law since I was a kid has stopped the FCC from being the airwave police (though I bet there are still 7 words you can’t say). 

    Because of his increasing vitriol, I suspect soon Rush will be banished from the national airwaves and wind up as a web broadcaster (where hate speach is tolerated a bit more).

    DB, Sacramento CA

  • Kghofsf

    Hey Michael & Company

    This whole episode suggest two other possible topics for interesting shows

    1.>  Libel & Slander laws in the US.   Are Rush’s comments actionable??  What protection do private citizens have against similar comments both over the air and On-Line

    and perhaps even more interesting

    As you may know, Clear Channel Communications, the company that is responsible for broadcasting Rush, was taken private in 2008 in a classic leveraged buyout headed up by none other than BAIN capital.  Recently Clear Channel paid BAIN $656 million dollar dividend a move which necessitated further loans and prompted several lawsuits.  Seems like a wonderful subject to base a show on Bain capital and what it does on

  • inquitude

    Jeff Lord’s defense of Limbaugh’s recent vituperative and scandalous comments about Ms Fluke is outrageous. It is an example that the far right is more interested in advancing their warped and confused ideology at all costs even when that ideology is used to attack a young woman for speaking out on an issue important to her. It is immaterial whether the issue being debated is an example of religious freedom, contraception, or based on the first amendment.  Clearly, Limbaugh crossed the line by calling her a slut and a prostitute. He ranted and raved against her for three days. THREE DAYS Mr. Lord!!  What sane person chooses to pick on one female student for three days merely for asserting her first amendment right to speak out on an issue?  One day just wasn’t enough for Limbaugh to express his opinion and disdain for Ms. Fluke. As I see it, he wanted to bully her, beat her up publicly and bloody her up, injure her and ruin her reputation because that’s what Limbaugh does day in and day out as he spews his hatred against anyone he chooses to make his target.
    Mr. Lord should know that the first amendment does not protect all speech. For example, no one can go into a theatre filled with people and yell “fire.” No one has a constitutionally protected first amendment right to spread lies about others; there is no constitutional protection to speak untruths about other people, there is no constitutional protection to defame, malign, disparage and spread false information about a company’s products. We have libel and slander laws to protect us against this behavior.
     Mr. Lord is blinded by his right wing ideology, an ideology that facilitates him to take the easy way out and accuse the liberal left media of attacking Limbaugh because, according to Lord, that’s what they always do.” The liberal left media did not put those words in Limbaugh’s mouth. The liberal left media did not encourage Limbaugh to go on a rampage against Ms Fluke and the liberal left media did not start this incident.
    .Limbaugh has adopted Joseph McCarthy’s maxim, “One should start kicking at the other person as fast as possible below the belt until the other person is rendered helpless.”  In the 1950s, Sen. Joe McCarthy’s was convinced that communists were running amuck in the Army and began public hearings to expose them. McCarthy was ruthless and behaved irresponsibly in his pursuit to purge communists in the Army and everywhere else he imagined them to exist. He was unmerciful, wielding and abusing his power as he attacked witnesses called to testify before his committee. Joseph Welch, an attorney was a member of McCarthy’s committee. Welch never spoke against McCarthy’s vicious tactics until one of his law assistants, Fred Fisher, was attacked by McCarthy for having been a member of the Lawyer’s Guild when he was a law student.  Welch resisted McCarthy’s attack on Fisher and stood up against McCarthy. Welch’s comments that day to McCarthy are well worth repeating today to Limbaugh and his supporters: ” Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty, or your recklessness. …. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

  • Adollwet

    You know….there are a lot of people, popular and not, who say stupid things and regret it later.  Chill out people and forgive the guy….he said sorry!!!

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