ProFlowers has withdrawn its ads from Rush Limbaugh’s political radio show, according to news reports, making it the seventh company to abandon the ultra-conservative talk show host.
Limbaugh’s intemperate screeds and fuzzy logic have peppered the airwaves for two decades, appealing largely to angry conservatives, conspiracy theorists, and anyone who despises Democrats.
The maverick host, who has an admitted addiction to oxycontin and worked out a plea deal in 2009 after being arrested on prescription fraud charges, appears to have difficulty understanding anyone’s predicaments other than his own.
Every show is an offend-o-rama, but Limbaugh dipped too deeply into his cesspool of aspersions when he blasted Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, who recently testified before a Democratic panel in favor of national health care policies that would require employers’ insurance plans to cover birth control for women.
Limbaugh charged that Fluke wanted others to pay for her to have sex, called her a “slut” and a “prostitute,” and went on to say “If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”
We note that Limbaugh’s pornographic mind went straight to the salacious, even though Fluke did not speak of sexual activity in her testimony, and noted that many women take birth control for medical reasons unrelated to preventing pregnancy.
Limbaugh’s provocative and mean-spirited charges sparked a firestorm that even he must have anticipated, leading Republican presidential hopefuls to walk the tightrope of trying to disavow Limbaugh’s hate speech without distancing themselves from the loquacious host’s legions of Republican followers.
A variety of organizations more supportive of human rights called for a boycott of advertisers on Limbaugh’s show, and various petition drives collected hundreds of thousands of signatures.
Finally feeling the pressure, Limbaugh offered a very unapologetic “apology,” saying that “For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity,” then admitted that he made poor word choices, and claimed “I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.”
Now there’s absurdity for you.
Advertisers who finally recognized their error in promoting such poisonous broadcasts include the mortgage company QuickenLoans, mattress companies Sleep Train and Sleep Number, data backup provider Carbonite, software maker Citrix Systems, and LegalZoom, a legal document service. It’s appropriate, I suppose, that ProFlowers would join the exodus: the kind of folks who love Limbaugh’s rants probably don’t send flowers very often.
What scares me most about America is that so many people find Limbaugh’s pernicious vitriol to be appealing. Let’s hope this latest debacle will drive at least some of his listeners to consider less venemous options.