NOW President Attacks Rush Limbaugh in Response to Bachmann-Fallon Issue

November 26th, 2011 11:10 PM

It appears the folks at the National Organization for Women can't defend a conservative woman without attacking Rush Limbaugh.

As Big Hollywood reported Thursday evening, NOW President Terry O'Neill finally responded to the offensive song Jimmy Fallon's band played as Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) walked onto the set of NBC's Late Night Monday:

I am heartened to see that conservatives are learning how hostility toward women in public life functions and and how it feels to be on the receiving end. However, I can’t help but wonder why their outrage is limited to those they condemn as liberals for taking shots at the Bachmanns and the Palins of the world. Rush Limbaugh and his ilk are infamous for using sexist, racist, classist, homophobic remarks against anyone who doesn’t march to his extremist drumbeat. NOW regularly calls out sexism directed at conservative women as well as feminists, and we often speak up to remind everyone, including our political allies, that these types of slurs are harmful to all women, and they need to stop. The Roots’ song choice for Bachmann’s entrance was disrespectful, degrading and juvenile, and the bandleader’s apology was weak. Thankfully, host Jimmy Fallon and NBC stepped up with more sincere apologies. Now, will the right wing start policing its own? I’m not holding my breath.

This is clearly a pattern at NOW. In June 2009, when CBS Late Show host David Letterman was repeatedly making sexist attacks on former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, NOW responded thusly:

The sexualization of girls and women in the media is reaching new lows these days -- it is exploitative and has a negative effect on how all women and girls are perceived and how they view themselves. Letterman also joked about what he called Palin's "slutty flight attendant look" -- yet another example of how the media love to focus on a woman politician's appearance, especially as it relates to her sexual appeal to men. Someone of Letterman's stature, who appears on what used to be known as "the Tiffany Network" (CBS), should be above wallowing in the juvenile, sexist mud that other comedians and broadcasters seem to prefer.

On that point, it's important to note that when Chelsea Clinton was 13 years old she was the target of numerous insults based on her appearance. Rush Limbaugh even referred to her as the "White House dog." NOW hopes that all the conservatives who are fired up about sexism in the media lately will join us in calling out sexism when it is directed at women who aren't professed conservatives.


As NewsBusters reported at the time, Limbaugh never referred to Chelsea as the White House dog. Here's how the Lying Liar website explained what really happened back then:

On his TV show in 1992, a few days after the Presidential election, Rush Limbaugh was reviewing In/Out lists (a popular fad at the time):

In today’s New York Daily News right here… it’s the obligatory in-out list. Every time there’s a massive change somewhere, people are in, people are out. I’m now out. It says about me on here, Rush Limbaugh, loud-mouthed conservative and Bush favorite. He’s out.

Rush commented that most of the other things on the days’ list were not funny, but that “one of them in particular” was. Rush quoted from the David Hinckley article

“In: A cute kid in the White House. Out: Cute dog in the White House.”

Could– could we see the cute kid? Let’s take a look at– see who is the cute kid in the White House.

A picture of the “cute dog” (Millie) appeared on the screen instead of the “cute kid” (Chelsea).

Rush immediately said

No, no, no. That’s not the kid.

Then a picture of Chelsea Clinton came on the screen and Rush said

That’s– that’s the kid.

Rush apologized several times and told a story about how he had learned early in his career the importance of not making fun of someone’s appearance. He then apologized again and said

I’m– I hope you will forgive me. I’m fatigued. I’m tired…

Before breaking to a commercial, Rush asked the audience what he could do to make amends for the incident and, in an odd, spontaneous joke, proceeded to spank himself. [...]

Rush has always maintained the incident was an accident. On his show four days later, Rush offered an explanation to his audience. First, the show played, “Who’s sorry now” in the background and Limbaugh pointed to himself. Then he said:

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m sorry. Let me tell you very quickly what happened last Friday night. There was a new in list and new out list that was published in the newspaper. The writer said in, cute kid in the White House; out, cute dog in the White House. Could we show the cute dog in the White House who’s out, and they put up a picture of Chelsea Clinton back in the crew. And many of you people think that we did it on purpose to make a cheap comment on her appearance. And I’m terribly sorry. I don’t–look, that takes no talent whatsoever and I have a lot of talent. I don’t need to get laughs by commenting on people’s looks, especially a young child who’s done nothing wrong. I mean, she can’t control the way she looks. And we really–we do not–we do not do that on this kind of show. So put a picture up of her now and so we can square this.

They then showed the picture of Chelsea Clinton. She had a displeased look on her face, as if to show that she was not too happy with the mistake.

Rush continued:

All right. We’re sorry. We didn’t intend to hurt her feelings. We’ll be back with our final segment right after this. Don’t go away.

With this in mind, will NOW ever be able to defend a conservative woman without attacking Limbaugh?