Thursday, March 1, 2012

Rush Limbaugh: "Funny" Man or Libelous?

Yep, I know, shock jocks and schlock jokes are supposed to be, well, shocking and schlocky, so you have to expect them to say outrageous things. It pays their bills, it keeps them employed. It makes them happy, even if a lot of other people don't end up happy.

So it was this week with Rush Limbaugh, who really outdid himself.  His comments seem to be making a much bigger stir than usual, as he's all over the blogosphere with this, and the outrage is hot enough to make the snow melt all the way to Minsk.
Rush Limbaugh does not seem to like
Sandra Fluke

Rush was talking about Sandra Fluke, that young woman who wanted  to testify before a Congressional committee run by Republicans on who should cover contraception through insurance plans and who need not.  She was not allowed to, outraging some Democrats and pleasing some Republicans.

Fine, or not fine, that's politics. I won't get into that contraception debate. It's too much work, frankly. But Limbaugh had this charming thing to say about the young woman in question:

"What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially 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. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. ... Ok, so she's not a slut. She's round-heeled."

What a comedian. Maybe Rush was just trying to mimic that old Saturday Night Live sketch fron the 1970s, You know, the one that goes "Jane, you ignorant slut."

Anyway, readers, when does one cross the line from being shocky and schlocky and being libelous?  Yes, Fluke did put herself in the spotlight, which makes it harder to pursue a libel charge, but whaddaya think, was Fluke libeled anyway?  I imagine if confronted, Rush would say he was joking, but there's also obviously no evidence that Fluke is a prostitute. Rush technically accused Fluke of doing something illegal. 

So what should Fluke do? Sue or let it go? Of course, I'd better be careful talking about this.  If Rush finds out I'm questioning his judgement, maybe he'll accuse me of having sex with a honey badger, or something.

In any event, feel free to offer your opinion. Just don't call anybody a slut if you do.  

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