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Rush Limbaugh and the Georgetown coed—just the facts

March 7, 2012

The bigger the headline, the more obvious it is that the left controls the media.  The old expression about putting lipstick on a pig doesn’t discourage liberals one little bit and this week’s Rush Limbaugh vs. Sandra Fluke media conflagration is proof.  Democrats have smeared lipstick all over this pig and convinced people they’re looking at a princess.

Not that I’m calling Ms. Fluke a pig.  God forbid!  The pig is a metaphor, okay?

Warning: this is a factual summary of events requiring some trashy, insulting words.  I won’t be censoring the bad words, replacing letters with asterisks and pound signs, or deploying other niceties to disguise the rudeness.  My own sensibilities are somewhat calloused because I spent a year living in a fraternity house and attended a Democrat Party dinner once but, if your sensibilities are more delicate, don’t read further.

On the other hand, if you enjoyed reading all about the Anthony Weiner flame-out, you’ll probably be okay here.

The controversy started when Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, tried to trick Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by waiting until the last minute—4:30 PM on February 15th—to propose Barry Lynn and Sandra Fluke as expert witnesses for a February 16th hearing on the issue of Obama’s contraceptive mandate.  Since the Democrats were allotted one invitation, not two, and the Republicans didn’t know who Fluke was or what her credentials might be, nor did they have sufficient time to research the matter, they invited Barry Lynn.

The Democrats cancelled Lynn and then proceeded to howl about Fluke’s exclusion.

Not only was the lack of invitation for Fluke an invented controversy, apparently intended to distract the public from the subject of the hearings, but Democrats immediately compounded the dishonesty by claiming no women whatsoever were slated to testify.  “What I want to know is, where are the women?” asked Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) theatrically, a great sound-bite on all the evening news shows, none of which bothered to mention that women did, in fact, testify that day: Dr. Allison Garrett of Oklahoma Christian University and Dr. Laura Champion of Calvin College Health Services.  They were on the schedule.  Rep. Maloney knew they were on the schedule.  She and the other Democrat women walked out before the hearings began, in protest at the lack of women, knowing women were going to testify.

The Democrat disruption of the original hearing was the first stroke of lipstick on the pig and the credulous mainstream media immediately visualized a princess.  Fluke attended the hearing as a spectator, listened to one witness, then walked out in protest, too.  Theatrically, of course.

Democrats held their own private gathering on February 23, to which Republicans were not invited, at which Sandra Fluke was the only witness.  They stage-managed this phony event by holding a meeting of their “Steering Committee” and filming it in a manner which made it look like an official hearing.  The evening news shows fell for the scam, of course... the second stroke of lipstick on the pig.

Sandra Fluke was billed as a 23-year-old student at Georgetown by MSNBC and other media outlets.  She is actually 30 years old.  When she started reading her statement, she said:
“My name is Sandra Fluke, and I’m a third-year student at Georgetown Law School.”
That’s not quite the whole truth.  This is where the pig started applying the lipstick herself.  (Still a metaphor, people, I swear.)  In truth, she’s a feminist radical with a 2003 B.S. (never have those letters been more appropriate) in “Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies” who spent the five years between undergrad and law school working for the city of New York on gender and women’s issues.

In Sandra Fluke’s defense, she did not enroll at Georgetown specifically because the student health insurance doesn’t cover contraceptives and she wanted to make it an issue.  Conservative websites across the Internet have been repeating that incorrect claim, originally made by a website called “Jammie Wearing Fools” (JWF):
“In one of her first interviews she is quoted as talking about how she reviewed Georgetown’s insurance policy prior to committing to attend, and seeing that it didn’t cover contraceptive services, she decided to attend with the express purpose of battling this policy.”
That’s incorrect paraphrasing of what she said in the interview in question (with the Washington Post).  Sometimes conservatives get things twisted, too, and if the Internet has one glaring fault it’s a tendency to repeat false information ad nauseum.  What Fluke actually said in that interview was that she knew about the Georgetown policy about contraception but didn’t let it stop her from attending the university she wanted to attend:
“I decided I was absolutely not willing to compromise the quality of my education in exchange for my health care.”
Attending Georgetown in spite of the policy is very different from attending Georgetown because of the policy, as JWF asserts and many conservative websites are mindlessly repeating.

Nevertheless, she did enroll at Georgetown knowing that contraception was not covered by student health insurance and she was admittedly intent upon challenging the Catholic university’s policies against birth control.  In other words, she enrolled in Georgetown’s law school looking for a fight.  She’s also trying to force Georgetown into paying for transgendered students’ sex change surgeries.  Calling this agenda-laden professional malcontent an expert witness, as Democrats did, is like electing a community organizer to be president... which, gee whiz, Democrats also did.

The part of her February 23 statement at Pelosi’s faux hearing that eventually caused all the commotion was the part about how much birth control costs:
“Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school.  For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that’s practically an entire summer’s salary.  40% of the female students at Georgetown Law reported to us that they struggle financially as a result of this policy.”
The 40% nonsense doesn’t come from any formal poll by anybody on Planet Earth.  It’s apparently nothing more than a number Fluke pulled out of her... imagination.  But that’s not the big problem in that paragraph.

It’s the dollar amount that became the bone of contention.  The claim that birth control costs $3,000 for three years is so preposterously inflated that liberals spent the next two weeks desperately trying to spin her words into a statement about the cost of surgery to remove ovaries, but obviously that’s not what she said.  She mentions such a surgery but not until fifteen paragraphs later—you can see for yourself in the transcript here.

The Weekly Standard sent reporter John McCormack to a Target store near the Georgetown campus where he learned that birth control pills are available for nine dollars a month.  The same price can be found at Wal-Mart.  That would be $324 over the course of three years, not $3,000.  CNSNews, in an article that used the words "sex-crazed co-eds" in the headline, pointed out that condoms at CVS Pharmacy are only one dollar, therefore to spend $3,000 in three years Fluke is talking about having sex almost three times a day:
“Assuming it’s not a leap year, that’s 1,000 divided by 365—or having sex 2.74 times a day, every day, for three straight years.”
It’s an absurd conclusion but absurd conclusions are what you get when Nancy Pelosi invites phony “experts” to blatantly lie in front of congresscritters, passes the charade off as “testimony,” and releases the video to evening news shows who lap it up with the gullibility of Golden Retriever puppies.

The CNSNews story is where Rush Limbaugh became involved.  Referring to the sex frequency of 2.74 times a day and the "sex-crazed co-eds," Rush said this on February 29:
“What does it say about the college coed Susan [Rush got her first name wrong] Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee, and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex?  What does that make her?  It makes her a slut, right?  It makes her a prostitute.  She wants to be paid to have sex.  She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraceptives.  She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.  What does that make us?  Pimps?  Johns!  That’s right, we would be the johns...  Pimp’s not the right word.  Okay, so she’s not a slut, she’s round-heeled, I take it back.”
Limbaugh was simply trying to illustrate the absurdity of Fluke’s claims but his word choice was regrettable.  Conservatives don’t need to talk like liberals to make a point.  Limbaugh has since apologized but, just for the sake of accuracy, let’s look at the definition of the two words under indictment:
slut—noun—an immoral or dissolute woman; prostitute

prostitute—noun—a woman who engages in sexual intercourse for money
So, according to the dictionary, a slut is a prostitute and a prostitute is a woman who gets paid for having sex.  And according to Sandra Fluke’s statement, she or somebody she knows must be having sex nearly three times every day and she wants them to receive money as a consequence.  The definitions are germane because liberals are encouraging Fluke to sue Limbaugh for slander, but in the legal system truth is what they call an “absolute defense” against charges of slander.  Based on dictionary definitions of the words used, rude and ungentlemanly as they may be, Sandra Fluke described herself, or her friends—whoever she was referring to—as women who should receive money for having sex.  There is no viable lawsuit here because even if you ignore Limbaugh’s humorous intent, he spoke the truth.

Fluke read her statement to the faux committee hearing on Thursday, February 23.  CNSNews published its analysis on Monday, February 27.  Rush made his rude comments on Wednesday, February 29.  Two days later, on Friday, March 2, President Obama telephoned Fluke to offer his sympathy and moral support.  Interestingly, and ironically, in the middle of these events, on the evening of the very day Fluke gave her faux testimony, Bill Maher announced that he was giving one million dollars to Obama for his reelection campaign.  This is interesting and ironic because:
Bill Maher has called Sarah Palin a “MILF,” which stands for “Mother I’d Like To Fuck.”

Bill Maher has called Sarah Palin a “dumb twat.”

Bill Maher has called Sarah Palin a “cunt.”

Bill Maher suggested that Sarah Palin’s retarded son, Trig, is the result of Palin having sex with John Edwards.
That’s just a sampling of Maher’s comments about Sarah Palin—if I tried to list every profane insult he ever uttered about conservative women, I’d die of old age before finishing.

The notion of Obama waxing sympathetic about obscene word choices while rushing to the bank to cash Maher’s million dollar check nearly destroys the adequacy of the word “hypocrisy.”  We need to get busy inventing a new word, something that expresses more punch and amazement.  How about “hypochristalmighty.”

Obama himself is no saint when it comes to filthy insults.  In Jonathan Alter’s “The Promise: President Obama, Year One,” he quotes the president calling Tea Party members “tea-baggers.”  Tea bagging, for those who don’t know, is the act of dangling one’s testicles in another person’s face.  (I will need to scrub my brain with detergent by the time I’m done with this column.)  It’s highly unlikely that any previous president used this term so give Obama credit for breaking new ground.

The president has no shame but neither does Sandra Fluke.  She started a brand new Twitter account to take advantage of her brand new celebrity and the second person she “followed” on Twitter was MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, the man who less than a year ago called conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham a... slut.

Apparently Fluke is okay with liberals using the word but Limbaugh she wants off the air.

Rush Limbaugh, spurred by hysterical liberal boycott organizers, faces a growing list of advertisers who are pulling their accounts and at least two radio stations taking him off the air.  Meanwhile, Bill Maher and Ed Schultz are broadcasting merrily, immune to the standards applied to conservatives.

Days could be spent listing the foul insults uttered by liberal broadcasters.  Black conservatives get racist insults, female conservatives are called sluts and whores, even daughters of conservatives are called sluts.  I remember almost driving off the road when I heard an Air America talk show host apply that word to President Bush’s daughters.  But conservatives don’t need to act like liberals to make a point and that’s what Rush Limbaugh said on Monday, March 5, talking about his written apology of March 3:
“I want to explain why I apologized to Sandra Fluke in the statement that was released on Saturday.  I've read all the theories from all sides, and, frankly, they are all wrong. I don't expect -- and I know you don't, either -- morality or intellectual honesty from the left.  They've demonstrated over and over a willingness to say or do anything to advance their agenda.  It's what they do.  It's what we fight against here every day.  But this is the mistake I made: in fighting them on this issue last week, I became like them.  Against my own instincts, against my own knowledge, against everything I know to be right and wrong I descended to their level when I used those two words to describe Sandra Fluke.  That was my error.  I became like them, and I feel very badly about that.”
He’s right.  But I share the frustration he feels with liberal dishonesty.  The Fluke statement at the faux hearing was dishonesty on a level unimaginable from conservatives—from the false storyline about why Fluke couldn’t testify at the hearing, to the claim that no women testified that day, to the stage-management of a partisan meeting designed to look like a hearing, to almost every word that came out of Sandra Fluke’s mouth.  After introducing herself, the very first paragraph of her statement was a lie:
“We, as Georgetown LSRJ, are here today because we’re so grateful that this regulation implements the non-partisan medical advice of the Institute of Medicine.”
She’s “grateful” because Obama mandated coverage of birth control in health insurance plans but that mandate does not apply to student health care plans so in her first sentence she’s already either ignorant—which would be odd for an “expert” witness reading a prepared statement—or she’s a liar.

Later she bemoans the fate of a friend who had her ovaries removed because the student health insurance wouldn’t cover birth control pills... but shortly before telling that story, Fluke admits that Georgetown’s student health insurance does cover birth control pills for people with health conditions like her friend’s:
“A friend of mine, for example, has polycystic ovarian syndrome, and she has to take prescription birth control to stop cysts from growing on her ovaries.  Her prescription is technically covered by Georgetown’s insurance because it’s not intended to prevent pregnancy.”
WTF?  So then why did the friend stop taking the pills?  Confusing, isn’t it?  If this incident is real (rather than invented as we all suspect), the friend’s inability to get birth control pills sounds like a communication problem, not a health insurance problem.  It certainly has nothing whatsoever to do with the president’s mandate that religious people who don’t believe in birth control must pay for it.

Fluke’s stories became even weirder by the end of her statement.  She claimed to know somebody who got raped but didn’t go to the emergency room (or report the crime to the police apparently) because she thought it wouldn’t be covered by the Georgetown health insurance plan... because, as we all know, those doggone Jesuits and their boss the Pope are big supporters of rape.


The magnitude of the dishonesty on display by Sandra Fluke is ludicrous.  She’s like a kid inventing ghost stories to scare a younger sister at bedtime.

Or a pig wearing lipstick.  (Not a metaphor this time.)

From Reno, Nevada, USA       

March 28, 2012 - I think this got lost in the email. A few weeks back, at your request, I posted the comments below on your website but they never showed up. So I'm trying again. You invited me to be specific, so here goes: I agree completely that the cost of birth control caused all the commotion and gave Limbaugh license to slander Fluke. However, Limbaugh's use of math--and yours and that of the Weekly Standard and CNSNews--shows a WILLFUL IGNORANCE of how birth control works. All of you could have looked it up online or asked a woman, "Do you have to take a birth control pill every time you have sex? If you only have sex once a month, how many birth control pills do you have to take?" But if any of you had bothered to check it out, there would be no basis for calling Fluke a slut who wants to be paid to have sex 2.74 times a day every day. Now, starting from the top:
[1.] Your take on the Democrats playing a trick is based on right-wing accounts but, to be honest, the MSM may have not covered it for their own reasons.
[2.] Fluke's "theatrical" walk-out needs a citation.
[3.] Not clear what the MSM's mistaking Fluke's age has to do with it, except to insinuate dishonesty.
[4.] How is "My name is Sandra Fluke, and I'm a third-year student at Georgetown Law School" not quite the whole truth? She left out her shoe size? Her being a feminist radical has nothing to do with her testimony. And the transcript says she followed that quote immediately with " I'm also a past-president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice or LSRJ."
[5.] Her undergraduate degree and government work need citations.
[6.] I'm glad you identified the falsehood about her deliberately attending Georgetown in order to start trouble, but then you go right on to say "she enrolled in Georgetown's law school looking for a fight." This needs either more explanation or a citation or both.
[7.] The claim that she wants Georgetown to pay for sex change surgery needs a citation.
[8.] Watch out for denigrating labels. Everyone who testified at Issa's hearing was "agenda laden." And why is "professional malcontent" an accusation? I'm a professional malcontent and so are you. If you weren't you wouldn't have this website.
[9.] She WAS an expert witness. Unlike anyone else, she testified about what being a woman at a religious-run school was like.
[10.] That 40% figure may have come from Flukes' being a member and past-president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice or LSRJ. You should have called them.
[11.] The claim that "liberals spent the next two weeks desperately trying to spin her words into a statement about the cost of surgery" needs citations.
[12.] "Limbaugh was simply trying to illustrate the absurdity of Fluke's claims." Without first checking to see whether they might be true?
[13.] "according to Sandra Fluke's statement, she or somebody she knows must be having sex nearly three times every day." She didn't say that. Limbaugh said it and the Weekly Standard said it and CNS said it and now you're saying it, but she did not say it.
[14.] Like Limbaugh, Maher has some serious issues with women. Unlike Limbaugh, he tends to do his homework and he knows exactly who Palin is, but that's still no excuse for using women's body parts as insults.
[15.] I gather Obama did not use the term "tea-baggers" on radio or television, or there would be a video of it. But if the term in its vulgar meaning was around at the time, I'm sure every president used it. Maybe not Carter, but certainly Kennedy and Nixon.
[16.] Go back to the link you provide and re-read Fluke about taking Limbaugh off the air. She never said she wants it. She used every lawyerly dodge she could come up with in order to avoid saying it, specifically to keep us from putting words in her mouth.
[17.] I can't find anything in Fluke's statement about why she didn't testify at Issa's hearing, or whether any women did testify that day or whether the Pelosi hearing was stage managed.
[18.] The claim that "the mandate does not apply to student health care plans," needs citations.
[19] Cherry-picking quotes: You quoted Fluke on her friend's polycycstic ovarian syndrome, but you left out a lot of information. Her statement says immediately after, "Unfortunately, under many religious institutions and insurance plans, it wouldn't be. There would be no exception for other medical needs. And under Sen. Blunt's amendment, Sen. Rubio's bill or Rep. Fortenberry's bill there's no requirement that such an exception be made for these medical needs."
[20.] So, you ask, why did the friend stop taking the pills? This is what Fluke said, in the transcript you yourself linked to: "For my friend and 20% of the women in her situation, she never got the insurance company to cover her prescription. Despite verifications of her illness from her doctor, her claim was denied repeatedly on the assumption that she really wanted birth control to prevent pregnancy...After months paying over $100 out-of-pocket, she just couldn't afford her medication anymore, and she had to stop taking it." Having read this, you still feel justified in calling this "a made up incident" because there was no explanation of why the friend stopped taking the pills?
[21.] "as we all know, those doggone Jesuits and their boss the Pope are big supporters of rape." Please tell me you didn't write this. - Judith D., New York

March 9, 2012 - This article is not as crazed as Limbaugh, but it is just as dishonest, undocumented and confusing. Jack Webb would be appalled. - Chrigid, New York
J.P. replies: If you'd been specific about what you felt was dishonest we could have had a discussion. As it is, I can only point out that the copy is sprinkled with links to documentation where I thought people might be interested.  Maybe you didn't notice.  If you need additional documentation, let me know—unlike the New York Times, I check facts before publishing.

March 9, 2012 - INTERESTING: O’Reilly traces Sandra Fluke to Former White House Advisor. What do you think of this news? - Amy, Reno
J.P. replies: Doesn't surprise me.  She was obviously a Dem plant from the beginning, designed to change the subject away from the Obama mandate.  That's why they tried to sneak her on to the hearing schedule at the last minute.

March 6, 2012 - Liberals have completely fabricated this and the media framed the narrative, with Rush and other media falling into the trap. Perhaps you can help Rush and FOX undo this mess, as you are the only one smart enough to outline the facts so well? - Todd L., Texas

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