The whole dustup surrounding Rush Limbaugh is decidedly not rated G.
Slut this. Prostitute that.
So when confronted by a critic, the station that airs the Limbaugh show locally understandably attempted to point to something even worse than a talk show host that calls a Georgetown law student a "slut" on air.
What could be worse?
In the opinion of Bob Petitt, the general manager of WCBM 680 AM, it might be 98 Rock's "Jugs for Plugs" feature, where women eagerly volunteer to flash themselves before the morning disc jockeys in exchange for air time to promote their businesses.
How did this even come up? Like this:
Upset about Limbaugh's comments, Maria Allwine, who ran as the Green Party's candidate for governor in 2010, wrote Petitt a letter, demanding he immediately pull Limbaugh from the air.
"His slanderous, outrageous, vile, sickening characterization of Sandra Fluke as a 'slut' and a 'prostitute' are far beyond the bounds of decency, un-American, and just plain vicious.... Are you not outraged on behalf of your own wife and daughters – are all of you at WCBM just fine with Mr. Limbaugh calling an advocate, a concerned citizen – a slut and a prostitute? Surely, unless you have sunk to the same level as Mr. Limbaugh, you are outraged."
Petitt wasn't exactly outraged. He replied:
"It is clear that you are not a fan of Rush Limbaugh or you would have heard his remarks in the context of the show and would understand his sense of humor.
"I too have two daughters and can appreciate your indignation based on what the networks and democrats are putting out."
He continued -- working his way to "Jugs for Plugs":
"You should understand that Rush is first and foremost, an 'entertainer'. He represents a political point of view that you and I may not agree with, however in my opinion, he brings balance to the message dominated by the liberal media who promote same sex marriage, Maryland State tuition discounts for illegal aliens and raising the taxes on the top 5% of working people who currently pay 50% of the cost of running our country.
"Rush has a loyal following of mostly mature adult conservatives. According to the radio ratings, our daughters are more likely listening to stations like 98 Rock that feature "jugs for plugs" Fridays where they bring women into the studio to take off their tops and show the boys their breasts in exchange for free advertising on their station. But don't call that "prostitution" I don't have to mention the music lyrics on the "rap" stations or the Howard Stern want-a-bees. Have you watched any comedy TV lately? Two and a Half Men, Two Broke Girls? If we are really concerned about "decency" maybe we should all take a look around."
Over at 98 Rock, where exposed private parts and potty humor are all in a day's work -- even they aren't thrilled to be mentioned in the same breath as Limbaugh.
Program director Dave Hill said the station has being doing the "Jugs for Plugs" shtick for at least five years, with no complaints. Women willingly volunteer to come to the studio and then de-shirt and de-bra in order to get free advertising time for their businesses -- businesses that have nothing to do with adult entertainment, Hill points out.
"Basically it's jugs for plugs," he says. "That's the bit."
They can do that, Hill says, because they're a silly morning drive show. If they didn't do stuff like that, people would probably check their dial, lest they accidentally turned to NPR.
He thinks Limbaugh listeners, though, expect something more.
"What we're doing is a comedy show. What Rush is doing is a politicially fueled talk show," Hill says. "You have to realize what audience you're speaking to. If Mickey and Mmelia were doing a political talk show, i could understand why Jugs for Plugs would be offensive."
Anyway. Allwine replied to Petitt that, perhaps not surprisingly, she'd never heard of Jugs for Plugs. And yet, as "sad and pathetic" as it might be, it seems more justifiable to her than Limbaugh.
"I am thankfully not exposed by choice to the garbage that our 'culture' has become. What you describe on other stations is highly offensive to me, but it seems from what you say (without my knowing since I don't listen) that no one is personally attacking anyone else or deliberately twisting a situation to be able to engage in the kind of vicious attack as Mr. Limbaugh has done. Your description here indicates choice and humor, even though I find just your description not humorous, but sad and pathetic. Sad and pathetic are protected under the First Amendment, slander is not. Also no one powerful personality is eviscerating another person, as Mr. Limbaugh did, for being an concerned citizen on an issue that affects over 50% of this country's population. And certainly no one is slandering anyone as Mr. Limbaugh did so clearly and outrageously to Ms. Fluke."