November 20, 2013
Martin Bashir in 2007 (Nick Ut/Associated Press)
Martin Bashir in 2007 (Nick Ut/Associated Press)

Rush Limbaugh yesterday took issue with Martin Bashir’s apology lag. It was last Friday when Bashir, the lefty MSNBC afternoon host, disgraced his network by suggesting that Sarah Palin be punished for her remarks comparing public debt to slavery. The particular punishment proposed by Bashir was so cruel that we’ll merely link to an explanation, rather than repeat it.

At the top of Bashir’s next broadcast, on Monday, he banged out a strong apology devoid of caveats and excuses. Limbaugh found some fault there: “So the whole weekend goes by, he doesn’t apologize ’til Monday, and nobody over there at that network apparently had a problem with it to let it go on and on that long, and then for that to just be mitigated with an apology.”

Now let us examine how long it took Limbaugh himself to apologize for slandering Sandra Fluke. Three days, according to this timeline. It was Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, when Limbaugh first came out and declared that Fluke was a “slut” and a “prostitute” for demanding that contraception be included in health insurance plans. It was Saturday, March 3 when he posted a statement online stating, among other things, “I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.” Again, that was a statement posted online, not an on-air mea culpa.

Reasonable people — and many, many unreasonable people — may debate the relative immorality of Limbaugh’s and Bashir’s transgressions. For the sake of this post, let’s just say that they’re both highly apologizable utterances.

Bashir’s heinous remarks have opened him — with good reason — to a full-on backlash from conservative critics. At least one of them, however, needs to include a disclaimer or two before whacking him.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.