Heather Michon

Heather Michon
June 25
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MARCH 5, 2012 11:32AM

Should Rush Limbaugh Be On the Armed Forces Network?

Rate: 13 Flag

rushlimbaughUntil his advertisers began departing in droves over the weekend, one imagines that Rush Limbaugh was having the time of his life.

His verbal attacks on Georgetown University law student and reproductive rights activist Sandra Fluke brought him the sort of attention he loves, the kind of outrage that allows him to rail anew against the supposed humorlessness or stupidity of his detractors and to pose as the victim of his cultural enemies.

Limbaugh may no longer do drugs, but he's still an addict. Consider how he escalated his attacks over the week: the more he was criticized, the more outrageous his comments became. Give him a hit of sweet, sweet controversy and he wants another, bigger hit.

At least until it started hitting him in the wallet. Over the past 72 hours, Limbaugh's show has lost at least seven major advertisers,including Quicken Loans, LegalZoom, Sleep Number, Carbonite, ProFlowers and Go To Meeting - companies who devote a major portion of their advertising dollars to talk radio.

In a rare attempt to act contrite and staunch the financial bleeding, Limbaugh released a statement on Sunday which at least used the words "I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke." It wasn't actually an apology, of course. In Rush's World, where he is never wrong, the national outcry was the fault of those who didn't *get* his art of illustrating "the absurd with absurdity." He allowed only that his "choice of words was not the best."

This may be enough to assuage some of his advertisers (although the CEO of Carbonite says it isn't), and if he can lower himself to show a little humility on his show this week, still others may return. It depends on the willingness of the public to keep up the pressure on advertisers and stations to hold him accountable for his words and actions.

One of Rush's biggest enablers has so far escaped attention: the Armed Forces Network. For years, Limbaugh's show has been beamed around the globe to service members, military support staff and families. Other attempts have been made to remove him from that network and have failed.

This is the time.

In his more customized attacks on Fluke, it's easy to overlook the fact that Limbaugh has a two-decade long track record of classifying women as inferior goods. This is the man who coined the term "Feminazi," who once stated that "feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream." In Rush World, most women are either babes, sluts or whores. They're cunning and manipulative or whiny and weak. There's not much middle ground.

Freedom of speech is not absolute. As a society, we've generally agreed that pornography, obscenity and hate speech has a limited place on the airwaves. Defining an entire gender by ancient (and usually pretty lewd) stereotypes as a way to keep them in lesser status is a form of hate speech.       

So the question becomes: does Limbaugh's brand of misogyny really have a place on government-funded airwaves? Particularly when it's beamed to a military where some 30% of American servicewomen are sexually assaulted by fellow soldiers at some point in their deployment? Does he foster a view of women and their role in society that allows our servicewomen to be seen by fellow soldiers as comrades and equals?


VoteVets, a coalition of veterens of Iraq and Afghanistan today released a statement calling on the Department of Defense to drop Limbaugh's show:

Rush Limbaugh has a freedom of speech and can say what he wants, but in light of his horribly misogynistic comments, American Forces Radio should no longer give him a platform. Our entire military depends on troops respecting each other – women and men. There simply can be no place on military airwaves for sentiments that would undermine that respect. When many of our female troops use birth control, for Limbaugh to say they are “sluts” and “prostitutes” is beyond the pale. It isn’t just disrespectful to our women serving our country, but it’s language that goes against everything that makes our military work. Again, we swore to uphold our Constitution, including the freedom of speech, and would not take that away from anyone – even Limbaugh. But that does not mean AFN should broadcast him. In fact, it shouldn’t.


 Our military deserves better than Rush Limbaugh's brand of "discourse." We all do.

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Won't fly Heather. As you know the military is the last bastion of mysogyny and anti-homosexualism (I don't use the misleading retarded neologism 'homophobia' since its literal meaning, from the Greek, is 'fear of man.' Such are the primitive depths of linguistic acumen these days...wink). As you pointed out, the majority of female service members are still routinely sexually harassed and 30% are sexually assaulted by their male comrades. Anti-homosexualism is also still the norm, and even after mandatory 'sensitivity training' classes a typical male hetero soldier's response is defiance and continuing sniggering comments about the 'fags' and queers.

The mid-level officer ranks are sympathetic to the anti-homosexualism stance (and they self police their own iffy members in the latrines, those who are apt to adopt a 'wide stance' whilst dissimulating defecation in the nefarious attempt to make contact with their camouflaged desperate gay brethren in an adjacent stall for purposes of a depraved, furtive 'homosexual coupling'...wink). Only the senior, executive, and public relations oriented, political generals make the politically correct obeisances to the homosexualist agenda. The Marine Corps is still proud of its fag bashery, all the way to higher command levels. Rush is still their hero. Obama hasn't the guts to screw around with this culture war when he will need full military co-operation for brinksmanship with Iran. Maybe after the election.
Hi Jejune - I agree it's pretty grim. But I also think we have to try and change things. All bastions fall....eventually.

I just added a statement from female veterans who belong to VoteVets, calling on the Dept of Defense to drop Limbaugh. They make a pretty compelling argument.
The Armed Forces aren't a democracy, and if senior leadership feels that way.... then that's their right, although, given the move to the Right among the military, one might want to tread carefully there so as to not create a backlash in his favor too, as he does like being the attackee.
Rated.Limbaugh is a vile sub-human misogynist, but in truth I think he's the best thing to have have happened to progressives in a long time. The GOP created him they can't find an off-switch even in times of emergency. He's obviously impotent and thus sex obsessed. He's exposed the GOP for exactly what they are, thus helping ensure a landslide for Obama. Do they not realize that women are 50% of the population (or more) and CAN VOTE? It's almost funny watching them self-destruct.

Can you imagine being a military family with teenage daughters and having them subjected to Rush's 3-day rant (with 53 separate insults) against Fluke for speaking up for women's health? Then knowing that your tax dollars are supporting this sub-human filth? Luckily, the radio, unlike Rush, has an "off" switch.

I've signed the petition and am passing it on. Good job!
An error I needed to correct: it's the Armed Forces Network that's run by DOD and broadcasts Limbaugh, NOT the Armed Forces Radio Network, which does not.
Fascists. Trying to silence those with whom you disagree. Is this the Soviet Union? Did you declare jihad on fat blowhard Ed Schultz when he called Laura Ingraham a slut? No, thought not.
He shouldn't be on any network.

Hopefully enough listeners and advertisers have rebelled.
Have any of you ever heard of the First Amendment? Thought not. " Free speech for me, not for thee." Fascists.
You have already created a backlash, as conservatives are boycotting businesses who have pulled their advertising. There are a lot more of us than there are left wing loons. Fascists.
cas47, probably an 'extra' of one of our right-wingers, has as its entire activity its two comments here. Obviously created just for that purpose.
Really excellent!

Cas47, the only time I see the word "fascist" thrown around is when a conservative bully can't think of anything intelligent to do, so they resort to namecalling. That seems to be a trend in the GOP.
@ Cas47 - This is NOT a First Amendment issue. Nobody is trying to stop The Slimeball from saying whatever he damn pleases whenever he damn pleases. It's the WHEREVER that is in question. There is nothing in the First Amendment that says you have the right to attack women (or anyone else) with vulgar language on the radio. Nor is there anything in the First Amendment that says a radio station or company or any other broadcast medium MUST give airtime to this gasbag. Nor is there anything in the First Amendment that says an advertiser MUST pay to have its products and services associated with a potty-mouth.

WE are all practicing OUR First Amendment rights by criticizing this unrepentant douchebag. WE are all practicing OUR First Amendment rights by telling advertisers we will not purchase anything from them. WE are all practicing OUR First Amendment rights by telling the networks to take him off the air.

There is nothing stopping il douche from speaking. He can't expect to say whatever he damn pleases AND get paid for it. Nobody else has that entitlement. The 1st Amendment guarantees NO ONE the right to have a radio show.
When il douche gets dragged off to jail by police in riot gear the way so many protesters have been, THEN your First Amendment claims will be justified. Until then, the claim holds no water.
The military is very right wing. Its whole culture is authoritarian and macho. Despite that, there is also a strong sense - or at least there was when I was in the Army - that there should be no politics in official messages, that the duty of the military is to defend our country and the rights outlined in the constitution. Still, the influence of conservatism is persistent and insidious. Despite the fact that less than 5% of the members of the military identify themselves as evangelical christians, 30% of the chaplains are. Many of these chaplains are individuals who would oppose birth control, homosexuality, and women in the military.
I say, if they don't make military uniforms in your size cause they'd run out of Xs, you don't get to make your disgusting comments on the Armed Forces Network.
We have a constitution? Maybe somebody should let our government representatives know that. I believe that they think it is just a word.
the men and women in the armed services are free to change the station or turn the radio off aren't they?
Isn't it funny how most of the people here are up in arms over Rush and something he says but let one of the left piggies say something and you never hear a word about it. For the question of should he be on the military radio it's like everything else. If people quit listening to him they will take him off. It's the same reason Air America went down the toilet. Nobody listened to it so they lost a ton of money.
On the one hand Limbaugh seems perfect for armed services radio, because whenever I hear his voice it puts me in a murderous frame of mind and I feel like killing people. I do manage to control that impulse, and it fades away within a minute of shutting off that poisonous droning windbag.

Certainly Rush's first amendment rights do not entitle him to a platform on armed services radio, and canceling that show based on it's quality and content would not be a violation of his rights, it would simply be intelligent.

I'd like to see Rush exercising his first amendment rights standing on a street corner wearing army surplus clothing and begging for change in some tiny rural town in a remote corner of Texas. That would really improve the quality of life for the vast majority of Americans if such a Limbaugh harm reduction program were implemented.

Our armed forces deserve to listen to something patriotic, not somebody who hates the majority of Americans, as Limbaugh does.
Sorry, if the guys and gals in the Army don't want to listen to him, they won't. If they are adult enough to die for you, they are adult enough to choose whether or not to listen to this or that.
Yes, the 30% rape of servicemen and women is true. The documentary " The Invisible War" tells about such. Panetta got to the podium and said this had to be stopped. He knew the documentary was coming out. The military attempts to hide all this sexual abuse so as to look as though nothing is going on. It prefers to cover up the sexual abuse so as not to look bad to the Public. Tells you what they are concerned about...so let's stay on the military and their problem. And yes, Rush needs to be kicked off the military airwaves..he's responsible for encouraging sexual violence by denigrating women. Sexual violence is the worst form of denigrating women, and it's more about the violence, the humiliation of the victims than the sex. The same for gay servicemen.
Boy Heather, I didn't realize that that blowhard ignoramus was piped in to the Armed Forces worldwide. That should have been stopped long ago; unless Rachel Maddow is getting equal time.
Ed Schultz comes on AFN radio at noon (PST) despite saying that Sarah Palin sets off a "bimbo alert" and that Laura Ingraham is a "right-wing slut" and a "talk slut". The left also cheers him on every night on MSNBC .

--Keith Olbermann said someone was a “mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick.” Olbermann receives great fan fare from the far left for his nightly talk show on Al Gore's TV network.

--Chris Matthews described Hillary Clinton as "witchy" and a "she-devil" due to her campaign against then Senator Barack Obama.

--Liberal radio host Mike Malloy called Michele Bachmann a "skank" and a "phony-ass broad".

It's tough to take Limbaugh's critics seriously about their stance when the same people were so lenient with the above examples. Is it okay for free speech to have bounds on the right, but not on the left?
Thanks, Heather. We need to take down the misogynists one at a time. (Note that, ThaiKen; We cannot go after them all at once. Worst ones first.)
"(Note that, ThaiKen; We cannot go after them all at once. Worst ones first.)"

---Your strategy would make sense if the critics would have went after the others BEFORE Limbaugh made his comments last week. Maybe they were busy for the twelve months between Bill Maher calling Palin a "dumb twat...cunt" and Rush's idiotic rant? Some sort of chronological order would make sense, but it seems that liberal men get a "Free to Be a Misogynist" card. Again, hard not be a skeptic of those who have been so offended in the past week.
Again, we swore to uphold our Constitution, including the freedom of speech, and would not take that away from anyone
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I signed the petition. I'm a supporter of free speech, but I am not a supporter racial or gender vilification and bullying. While Rush may have the right to spew his venom and vitriol, we have the right to express our outrage and condemnation and to inform those who support and sponsor such tripe that we will not only boycott the message but those who make such messages possible.
Well you stirred the muck up, Heather. Great. That's what we need to do about (dare I say) slime. Rush is on the way out! Finally.
How does that overweight addict sleep?
FCC: Bring back the Fairness Doctrine, the one the butt-head president Ronnie Reagan throttled in 1987--an act that has led to this avalanche of hateful right wing propaganda. If these outlets were forced to be objective and fair, Limbaugh would disappear in a few days. We can't depend on "personal responsibility" when airheads like Limbaugh are paid millions to disparage "the other side". We need some governance over a powerful medium of mass communication.

Didn't Hitler's radio propaganda broadcasts teach us anything?
I get AFN and have heard Rush since 1991? or there abouts, but you don't understand.
Nobody is paying for the programming. There are no commercials- go to YouTube and look for AFN Commercials. You see the programs are given free.

And, liberal radio is on, Ed Shultz...I think that's his name. I haven't listened to radio in two years.

If you were to watch the news channel you'd see everything- not just FoxNews.

Your article is uninformed- or slanted. And, just like you we can turn off the TV or radio when we do not wish to hear the crap.

I stopped listening to Rush about 10 years ago. I just could not contain my ire and disgust. However, you must know he is only here on the airwaves because of a loyal and dollared fan base. Many do listen to him.

I think our response to him should be what we'd do to an errant child. Ignore or isolate- everytime he is horrible. Only give attention when he's good.
You have to remember that AFR tries to be "all things to all people". Liberal, conservative, rock and roll, hip hop, country western. And there's going to be stuff that others don't like on it. I well remember that from programming on AFR years and years ago. But you listened because it's all there was. Generally I have a bit of a problem anytime someone advocates "prior restraint". The man has an audience. I don't agree with his message a single solitary iota. Let his advertisers and listeners (or lack of either) dictate the man's fate on the airwaves.
What I don't get about this whole contraception issue is this: contraception is important to men as well. The advantages are obvious. So why are men leading this ridiculous crusade? I just don't get it.

Great post, Heather.
"FCC: Bring back the Fairness Doctrine..."

We do have the fairness doctrine. It's called ratings and paid ads. Once the ratings drop so do the ads. When they disappear so will the programming. It's fair because people get to listen to what they want to hear. People don't listen, you lose your spot.
In addition to what he called Fluke, he completely lied about her testimony. He topped it off with a non-apology in which he blamed liberals and seemed only to take back the two words, nothing about his uber-creepy call to watch her have sex on videotape. Given that for many, Rush is the only source of news and he has yet to say that he was wrong about the nature of her testimony, it seems beyond inappropriate to have him broadcast on a military channel.
Calling someone a dumb twat is not the same as accusing a woman of buying contraception a slut and a prostitute and calling women "Feminazi's" and requiring them to videotape their sex acts. The conservative era is OVER. Conservative=HATE. Time to herald in the FREEDOM that our forefathers fought hard for to build this country. A country FREE of religious pressure and dictatorship!
I signed the petition, but I don't think it'll have much affect on the zeitgeist of our military until we change its demographics. I'm more concerned with the transmission of highly partisan (left or right), hate-filled messages to our mostly young, impressionable troops. Stupid urinations and Qur'an burnings aside, do you remember "Seven Days in May"?
Has anybody asked .... Does the Armed Forces Radio Network carry political commentators like Thom Hartmann, Ed Schultz, and Rachel Maddow, to balance Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck?

If so, what ratio of hours on the air, prime time access, etc.?

If not, why not? ... no, wait, If not, WHY THE HELL NOT?????
I listened to AFN radio and watched AFTV. It was a shock to find out that the pink slime was even on overseas. He should be yanked as of yesterday.
Right after Obama got elected, Limbaugh came right out and said he hoped the new president would fail. The DOD should have taken his show off right there, as he was speaking in direct opposition to the Commander in Chief. And for a new President who is trying to help the country get back on its feet after the economic and military disasters of the Bush years, how is it right to undermine the military's respect for him?

Through all of these years he has continued to disparage and disrespect the President. The Armed Forces Network is the LAST place Limbaugh should have had a platform for his vile opinions.