As more advertisers announced they would no longer sponsor Limbaugh’s show, he abruptly reversed course on Saturday and issued an apology on his website. Some have questioned the sincerity of the apology since the brief statement also furthered his attacks on Fluke, suggesting she and other women’s health advocates wanted to testify before Congress regarding their “personal sexual recreational activities.”
A review of Limbaugh’s rhetoric, which is littered with misogynistic language, shows that there is reason to be skeptical of his remorse. For example, here’s an exchange from November 2007, when a caller reacts to Limbaugh commenting that “I’m like a woman when you get to numbers. I don’t follow them too easily”:
RUSH: I had a Barbie doll once, Cheryl, and you’d pull the string on the back, “Math class is tough.” You know the stereotype. I was just making a stereotypical joke.
CALLER: Oh, my goodness, I can’t believe you said that. I really can’t. We laugh at you all the time, but that was not funny. That was degrading to some women. […]
CALLER: Okay. Do you apologize to the women? (Laughing.)
RUSH: Well, you know, Cheryl, I have to tell you, Cheryl is one of my all-time top-ten female names, and I hope that I can salvage your loyalty here as an audience member. I’m not going to apologize. People in my position never apologize. But we just acknowledge that you were upset and offended by it. I’ll apologize you were offended.
RUSH: But I’m not going to apologize for saying it. I meant to say it. Why would I apologize for something I meant to say? It was a joke.
CALLER: Okay. I guess. Okay.
Some advertisers are also not convinced that, this time, Limbaugh is sincerely apologetic. After he announced his apology, two additional advertisers announced they were dropping their sponsorship.