Calling Women Sluts is nothing new for Rush Limbaugh: Why we need to widen our analysis for the Dump Rush Campaign
The recent remarks from Rush Limbaugh directed at Sandra Fluke, where the radio talk show host called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” are not the first time he has engaged in hateful and demeaning speech.
Limbaugh has for years attacked women and feminism on his radio program with a vengeance. Limbaugh coined the term “feminazi” to refer to women who dare to act confidently and challenge male dominance.
One of Limbaugh’s “undeniable truths” is that. “Feminism was established as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society. Some of these babes, I’m telling you, like the sexual harassment crowd. They’re out there protesting what they actually wish would happen to them sometimes.”
According to Rory O’Connor’s book Shock Jocks, Limbaugh used to have a sign posted on his office door that read, “Sexual harassment at this work station will not be reported. However, it will be graded!”
Women, however, are not the only demographic that Rush has a history of attacking. Racial minorities have also been a favorite target on his show. In a 2006 program, Rush referred to all Mexicans as a “renegade, potentially criminal element.”
African Americans have received the majority of Limbaugh’s racist rants. In his early years of radio broadcasting Limbaugh said he told a Black caller whom he disagreed with, “Take that bone out of your nose, and call me back.”
During a short stint as a football commentator Limbaugh once said, “The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons.” Demonizing Blacks as criminals and thugs is a common practice by Limbaugh. He once said, “Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?”
After Hurricane Katrina, Limbaugh went out of his way to racialize the rescue by saying, “Once the whites leave town, all you’ve got is overwhelming lawlessness…..it’s a proven, demonstrable fact.” The following February he said, “They oughta change Black History Month to Black Progress Month and start measuring it.”
Limbaugh also regularly attacks anyone or any group, which is critical of capitalism and the business community. Rush often refers to environmentalists and union members as “leftwing wackos” and recently condemned mainstream environmental groups such as the Sierra Club as extremists because they wanted to prevent oil companies from drilling off the coast of Alaska.
In addition to supporting Corporate America, Limbaugh has also been an apologist for US imperialism abroad, whether it has been in Iraq, Afghanistan or the ongoing US support for the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
It is important that the public recognized and was offended by the hate speech directed at Sandra Fluke, but if we want to build a campaign that can remove Limbaugh from the airwaves then we need to widen our analysis and invite other sectors of society that have suffered not only from Limbaugh’s words, but the social and cultural climate that he nurtures, which results in hate crimes and violence.
A great resource that looks at Limbaugh’s history of hate speech since 1994 is the Rush archive at Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting. Another useful resource is Rory O’Connor’s book, Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio.
We have also created a Dump Rush Campaign archive on the GRIID site, so you can easily find all postings about the campaign.
Lastly, just a reminder that there is a Dump Rush Protest on Friday, March 16, 1:00PM at 77 Monroe Center in downtown Grand Rapids.