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Why Should Rush Apologize?

(REUTERS/Micah Walter)

This may be an unpopular point of view, but why exactly was everyone clamoring for Rush Limbaugh to apologize? I don’t understand.

When he called Sandra Fluke, advocate of expanded access to birth control, a “slut” and a “prostitute” he got exactly what he wanted which was wall-to-wall media coverage. Both the “mainstream” and progressive media spheres gave him exactly what he craves.

Obviously, I completely agree with Fluke on the merits of her argument and do not with Limbaugh, to say the least. But look, guys, Limbaugh is a caricature of himself. He’s a loud, idiotic spouter of nonsense, conspiracy theory and general claptrap, who hasn’t been worth acknowledging for twenty years. His job is to say inflammatory things that stick it to all those he perceives as his enemies, so it’s not like he doesn’t know exactly what he’s doing when he says stuff like that. Sure, I’m glad that he’s losing sponsors, including Quicken Loans’ Dan Gilbert, the owner of my basketball team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they will be replaced and talk radio will march forward regardless.

Furthermore, we’ve got to get out of playing the umbrage game every time someone says something un-PC. Ann Coulter calls John Edwards a “faggot”. Trent Lott says segregationist Strom Thurmond should have been president. Barack Obama makes light of the “Special Olympics” on Leno. So what? None of this stuff is ever worth the column inches and talking head exasperation devoted to it. What would be better for everyone involved is if we started treating anti-intellectual squawking loons like Coulter and Limbaugh as the ghettoized weirdos they are. Instead of demanding apologies from people who don’t mean it, can’t we just let Stewart and Colbert take care of this?

Plus, I’m basically a free speech absolutist. Unlike, say, dumping money into a congressional race to protect the interests of your extractive industry, this is actually a case of free speech. Limbaugh has every right to say something that strange and incriminating. I mean, come on: if you think a thrice-divorced, balding, overweight, spittle-flecked, wealthy woman-hater like Limbaugh, who in his box of hyper-masculinity so clearly feels threatened by any woman who appears smarter than him (which is obviously many of them), hasn’t employed the services of an actual prostitute, I’ve got a talk radio show I want to sell you.