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Pat LaMarche Headshot

Rush Used Sandra Fluke, Which Was Far Worse Than Insulting Her

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As a talk radio host making about $30 million less each year than Rush Limbaugh's $30 million annual salary I'd like to congratulate him on his apology to Sandra Fluke. Man, he's awesome. His insults kept him on the front page for two full news cycles and just about the time the publicity died down, he apologizes and boom! Pops right back to the top of the news feed.

Rush doesn't care if his "slut" accusations were true. And Fluke's sexual proclivity doesn't matter. No, Rush saw Fluke as an attention grabber for his vitriol-filled show. Insulting Fluke was nothing more than a way to strap a verbal bull's-eye on his program that every self-respecting feminist would use for target practice. And then when politicos of every stripe weighed in on his comments he got even more attention. Heck, even his arch nemesis, President Obama, could be heard pronouncing Rush's name.

As the old mantra goes, "There's no such thing as bad press, just make sure they spell your name right."

And why the big backlash anyway? Rush Limbaugh insulting strangers is unremarkably typical. Remember back in the 1990's he perfected his defaming assaults on women when he coined the phrase "feminazi." And those of us who felt insulted when compared to heinous mass murderers simply because we wanted equal pay for equal work or the dominion over our own bodies were further dismissed when our -- let me say that more emphatically, OUR -- Congress made him an honorary member in 1994. Now that's a move for which I'm still awaiting an apology.

And let's face it, Rush is a neo-con tool. He's wielded with the precision of a scalpel when he cuts at an individual like Fluke and with the destructive force of a sledge hammer when he insults the migrant workers who harvest his food or the atmospheric scientists who warn humanity about climate change.

And the reason this tool is worth $30 million a year to mega media giant Clear Channel is because his ugly personal attacks wipe more important and what should be more shocking topics off front page.

Here are a few issues that should be getting the president's attention, should be demanding apology from broadcasters and lawmakers alike, and should be outraging the increasing marginalized citizenry.

At the very same time Fluke was getting disrespected about 20 million American women lived in poverty. According to the Center for American Progress, "Women are poorer than men in all racial and ethnic groups." Fifty percent more women in poverty are married with children than are single with children: making moot the slut theory.

While Rush was insulting Fluke, homeless women veterans continued to multiply in number: Between 2006 and 2010 they more then doubled.

Want to be outraged? Think about this. The number of women dying of breast cancer is declining, unless the women are poor. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, poor women are 9% more likely to die of regional breast cancer than their affluent counterparts.

Oh, and in the first three days that Rush gleaned publicity for his pigheaded remarks, 12 women died as a result of domestic violence.

By the way, agricultural workers in the U.S. have increased disease rates: disproportionately so the women. 85% of our nation's food supply is harvested by these workers. Rush clearly hasn't missed too many meals worrying about the plight of the worker who sends it on the way to his table.

Globally, gender discrepancies warrant front page attention. Trickleup.org statistics state that 70% of the world's poor are women. Violence against women ranges from ethnic cleansing to random attack.

Rush's ugly words toward one woman while below the belt and no doubt hurtful just give the mainstream media -- and Rush himself -- a chance to cash in on an individual example of an overall pandemic. Researching the plight of women proves that women are second class to men resulting in lower earnings, marginalization of their needs -- reproductive and otherwise -- and results in higher overall death rates based on gender.

In short, Rush's sexist insults will no doubt increase ratings for his show and eventually his personal income. While the resulting media and public obsession has done nothing to improve the lives of women or expose bias against women as it exists around the world.