Susan Bartell: Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut over the contraception debate—I guess bullying & name calling don’t end in adulthood?
Liz Kase: It’s a very disturbing story no matter your political leanings. Bad taste, bad judgment…but not illegal conduct.
SB: I agree! As adults we need to be able to show respect & tolerance for each other & be role models for young people.
LK: It’s amazing that more media coverage seems to focus on which corporate sponsors pull out, than on the real issues here.
SB: That’s true too—it’s a pity that, as a society, we are more driven by the power of the media than by "doing the right thing."
LK: But, where does this vitriol come from?
SB: People may lash out at others because they don’t feel secure enough to communicate their point without putting others down. I wonder, does Fluke have recourse?
LK: This may seem like a case of slander and defamation of character. But testifying before Congress has made her a public figure—and not in a protected class anymore.
SB: I wonder if she knew before testifying that she’d become vulnerable to such an onslaught of hatred. I’d guess not, & that now she is overwhelmed by all the attention.
LK: And I bet she didn’t realize that becoming a "public figure" means that now some of Limbaugh’s speech is protected by the First Amendment.
SB: So does that mean he can say whatever he wants?
LK: The use of the word prostitute is egregious because she’s never been arrested for prostitution and is not known as one in her community, but the word slut is
more of an opinion and is likely protected.
SB: Amazing that he calls her a slut with no recourse! It’s like a bully who suffers no consequence—it’s just wrong! I’m glad the sponsors have power to judge.
LK: But what are the long term effects on a young woman who had the guts to speak out?
SB: I bet this experience will empower her & give her confidence & clarity to do great things in the world. She could be a leader for her generation!