Since the controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Sandra Fluke began, there have been whispers among Limbaugh critics that this might be his “Imus moment” — a reference to another shock jock host, Don Imus, whose 2007 insults of the Rutgers women’s basketball team led to his ouster. It’s still unlikely that Limbaugh’s comments about Fluke will leave him jobless, but that didn’t stop Rush from taking a cue from Imus Monday: Limbaugh, like Imus before him, claimed he was subjected to a double standard when stacked up against rappers.
Imus — and his defenders — pushed this line hard back in 2007 after he was called out for referring to the Rutgers players “nappy-headed hos”. His critics were undeterred, and Imus was eventually fired from MSNBC.
Nevertheless, Limbaugh picked up on this line of reasoning today as he reiterated his apology to Fluke from the weekend amid continued criticism — including from Republicans — and advertisers canceling sponsorships of his show.
“Talk about a double standard,” Limbaugh said on air Monday, according to Dylan Stableford. “Rappers can say anything they want about women [and] it’s called art. And they win awards.”
The line is strikingly similar to what Imus’s attempt to deflect the blame for his comments. From a 2007 AP report:
Fighting in vain to keep his job, radio host Don Imus said that rappers routinely “defame and demean black women” and call them “worse names than I ever did.”
It’s worth noting here that Imus has emerged as one of Limbaugh’s toughest critics following the Fluke incident. On his new Fox Business Network show Monday, Imus called Limbaugh’s apology “lame” and urged him to apologize to Fluke in person, a step Imus ultimately took with members of the Rutgers team.
“He’s an insincere pig,” Imus said.
Here’s audio of Limbaugh explaining why he issued his rare apology to Fluke on his show Monday: