Rush Limbaugh continues to lose advertisers (I believe we are now up to twenty with the number likely to increase further) and at least two radio stations over his attacks on Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, calling her a slut and prostitute after testifying before Congress regarding the cost of contraception. A response from Jon Stewart is above (video).
One the many lame attempts to defend Limbaugh on the right is to create a false equivalency between Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher (typically ignoring the amount of criticism Maher has received on the left for his misogynistic jokes about Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.
This attempt to create a false equivalency (a common tactic of right wing publications such as the Weekly Standard) fails as Maher might make an intermittent inappropriate joke (for which he often receives criticism from the left) while Limbaugh launched at least a three day sustained attack against someone who is not even a public figure. This is hardly analogous. Bill Maher has received a considerable amount of criticism on the left for his misogynistic jokes while the right has either lined up to defend him or their criticism has been very mild. Limbaugh has a long history of misogynistic rhetoric including his frequent chanting of “feminazis.”
Liberals criticized Maher for calling Sarah Palin a dumb twat and cunt. Why aren’t conservatives standing up to Limbaugh for calling someone who isn’t even a public figure a slut (especially as using birth control hardly means someone is a slut). Besides the total irrational attack line that using contraception makes her a slut or prostitute, he made additional attacks based upon the frequency of sex she has–appearing not to understand that the cost of contraception correlates poorly with frequency of sex–with zero correlation for some techniques such as oral contraception.
There might be a valid debate over what insurance should cover, but Limbaugh’s comments do not contribute rationally to that debate. It is meaningful that of all possible things covered by insurance, it is contraception where conservatives want to draw the line. Did others protest that insurance covers the cost of Rush Limbaugh’s Oxycontin, or his drug treatment?
There is also no comparison between a comedian such as Maher and someone like Limbaugh who is seen as a leader of the conservative movement and a major influence on the Republican Party. Limbaugh hardly comes off as a serious political leader when he calls on Fluke to post sex tapes on the internet.To a considerable degree Limbaugh is a show man who makes his money playing to the bigotries of the far right, but he shouldn’t be allowed to have it both ways. He is either a rodeo clown (as Glenn Beck has described himself in a rare moment of honesty) or he is a serious spokesmen for the conservative movement. Comments such as this show he cannot be both-unless his comments do actually represent the views of the right wing.
Update: The number of advertisers who are dropping Limbaugh continues to rapidly increase. Netflix makes it thirty.
Update II: Capital One makes it 32.
Update III: When the right wing makes a dumb argument, as expected Sarah Palin repeats it.