Saturday, March 03, 2012
Rush Limbaugh & Sandra Fluke:
How is this not slander?
- [Fluke is] "essentially says that she must be paid to have sex". [ref]
- [Fluke is] "a slut". [ref]
- [Fluke is] "a a prostitute". [ref]
- [Fluke is] "wants to be paid to have sex". [ref]
- [Fluke is] "having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception". [ref]
- [Fluke is] "having so much sex ... that she can’t afford it". [ref]
- [Fluke is frequently having sex]. [ref]
- [Fluke] "was having so much sex it’s amazing she could still walk". [ref]
- [Someone bought Fluke] "condoms [when she was in] in the sixth grade". [ref]
It's slander, which differs from libel only in regard to the form of publication. Rush's statements are considered transitory defamation, because they took the form of spoken words. Defamation in this instance is hard to prove, because the burden of proof lies with the person being slandered. They have to prove the statements were false, that they caused harm, and that the defendant made no effort to determine the truthfulness of the statements.
How does a woman go about proving she's not a slut? (I don't believe Fluke is a slut.) Rush might try to hide behind an opinion defense, that his comments weren't meant to be taken literally. But the Supreme Court has ruled that even opinions can be defamatory.
They were spoken, but then Limbaugh put the transcript on his website, so they were published (in a way).
I think some of those statements can be shown to be false (e.g. Fluke is a prostitute.)
My guess is that Limbaugh's apology today was the result of a phone call from his lawyer.