Rush Limbaugh has pulled the "but I was just joking card," charged it up with his Gambit powers, and hurled it at the national media, issuing an apology to Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke after calling her a "slut" and a "prostitute" in his lilting talk-radio falsetto. Here's Limbaugh's full statement:
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.
The apology came just as Limbaugh's radio show lost its third sponsor, Quicken Loans, in the wake of the firestorm that has followed the latest episode in the radio bombast's long history of on-air nastiness. As for Fluke, she remains undaunted by Limbaugh's paroxysm of misogyny, saying "What has been made clear is that women will not be silenced on this issue, and neither will the men who support them." Fluke joins some illustrious company on the list of people Limbaugh has attacked and subsequently sort of apologized to — Barack Obama, Michael J. Fox, Donovan McNabb, Sherrol Miller, Chelsea Clinton, and Amy Carter have all felt the radio host's ire and lukewarm contrition.
Maybe, though, Rush Limbaugh is truly contrite in this instance. Maybe, in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday morning, Limbaugh tossed restively in his bed, plagued by a nightmare in which global warming had finally taken effect, rendered the world a frigid wasteland, and forced everyone to wear earmuffs all the time so that radio became a totally obsolete medium of entertainment. Maybe this vision of a world senseless to his shouting unnerved him so much that he decided to make amends for unfairly attacking Sandra Fluke, realizing that he was wrong to cast so many aspersions on someone who was merely employing reason in an effort to change the tenor of the birth control debate. Or maybe Limbaugh is simply terrified that, as one sponsor after another abandons him, his little pulpit might finally be crumbling beneath him.
Limbaugh Apologizes to Law Student for Insult [WSJ]
Rush Limbaugh loses another sponsor over ‘slut' remark [Chicago Tribune]