NBC Brings on Sandra Fluke to Blast Limbaugh, The Right's 'Deafening Silence' Denouncing Him

Following condemnation of Rush Limbaugh's "crude tirade" against left-wing activist Sandra Fluke on Thursday's NBC Nightly News, on Friday's Today, co-host Matt Lauer gave Fluke a platform to slam the conservative radio host and urged her to denounce "what seems to be a deafening silence coming from the right in standing up for you." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Fluke followed Lauer's lead as she broadly attacked conservative commentators:

I do want to make sure everyone understands that this wasn't just one man who said these things. There was actually many conservative commentators on several major broadcast networks who did make these types of comments. And I would really encourage people to look into that. Because I think it's a very important thing for us to think about, that in our society, in certain sectors, this is evidently still acceptable. And that's just very problematic.

In a prior question to Fluke, Lauer teed her up perfectly to attack Limbaugh: "These comments that were made by Rush Limbaugh about you, certainly derogatory. What was your first reaction when you heard the comments?" Fluke declared that she was "stunned" and "outraged" at the fact "that, again, on, you know, the first day of women's history month, on that day, a woman is being called these names in an attempt to silence me, to silence all of us from speaking about the health care that we need."

Lauer proceeded to offer his own contemptuous commentary on Limbaugh: "...this is Rush Limbaugh, and this is what he does for a living. He makes comments, in my opinion, that he hopes will get more people to talk about him, more people to listen to his radio show or buy his books. This is kind of his business model."

Making sure to avoid any challenging questions to Fluke, Lauer lobbed this softball: "This issue has – has been described in different ways. It's been described as an issue of religious freedom, of women's health, of government intervention. How do you define it?" Fluke announced:

I think this is about women's health. That's what it's always been about for me. And that's what it's about for the many, many Americans who are e-mailing me constantly, telling me how important it is to them. For them and for me, this is about accessible, affordable access to a basic health care service that prevents medical disasters and unplanned pregnancies.    

In reality, a Cybercast News Service documentary video clearly demonstrates just how widely accessible and affordable contraceptives actually are in the neighborhood immediately surrounding Georgetown Law School.  

Limbaugh's initial comments regarding Fluke were based on a CNS News report: "Now, here's the story that started all this.  It's by a guy name Craig Bannister at Cybercast News Service: "A Georgetown co-ed told Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s hearing that the women in her law school program are having so much sex that they’re going broke, so you and I should pay for their birth control...."

At one point in her congressional testimony, Fluke asserted that the providing free contraception was somehow part of Georgetown's Catholic Jesuit mission. In fact, the ObamaCare Health and Human Services mandate specifically does not extend to the health insurance universities provide to students.

Lauer didn't bother to hold Fluke to account on any of these facts.


Here is a full transcript of the March 2 interview:

7:13AM ET

MATT LAUER: Sandra Fluke is with us now exclusively. Ms. Fluke, good morning to you. Thanks for joining us.

SANDRA FLUKE [GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LAW STUDENT]: Good morning. I used to be one of those people outside the studio screaming with my mom, so it's interesting to be on this side of the camera.        

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Contraception Controversy; Activist Criticized By Rush Limbaugh Speaks Out]

LAUER: It's nice to have you here in this capacity. You didn't start this debate but you lent your voice to it as you spoke publically about this issue. Before I get to the specifics of what's happened in the last day or so, do you feel you've gotten more than you bargained for?

FLUKE: Well, it's – yeah. It's certainly been a good bit, yes.

LAUER: These comments that were made by Rush Limbaugh about you, certainly derogatory. What was your first reaction when you heard the comments?

FLUKE: Well, I think my reaction was the reaction that a lot of women have had when historically they've been called these types of names – and that really I think a lot of women across America have had to this – and that was initially to be – to be stunned by it, but then to quickly feel outraged and very upset that, again, on, you know, the first day of women's history month, on that day, a woman is being called these names in an attempt to silence me, to silence all of us from speaking about the health care that we need.

LAUER: He made the first comments about you a couple days ago. And when given an opportunity, I guess, to backtrack or apologize for them yesterday, instead he doubled down. Having said this, this is Rush Limbaugh, and this is what he does for a living. He makes comments, in my opinion, that he hopes will get more people to talk about him, more people to listen to his radio show or buy his books. This is kind of his business model. But having said that, are you surprised at what seems to be a deafening silence coming from the right in standing up for you?

FLUKE: Well, I do want to make sure everyone understands that this wasn't just one man who said these things. There was actually many conservative commentators on several major broadcast networks who did make these types of comments. And I would really encourage people to look into that. Because I think it's a very important thing for us to think about, that in our society, in certain sectors, this is evidently still acceptable. And that's just very problematic.

LAUER: This issue has – has been described in different ways. It's been described as an issue of religious freedom, of women's health, of government intervention. How do you define it?

FLUKE: I think this is about women's health. That's what it's always been about for me. And that's what it's about for the many, many Americans who are e-mailing me constantly, telling me how important it is to them. For them and for me, this is about accessible, affordable access to a basic health care service that prevents medical disasters and unplanned pregnancies.

LAUER: As you know, the Senate rejected the Blunt Amendment on Thursday. Where do you see this issue going?

FLUKE: Well, it is fantastic that the Blunt Amendment was defeated. Unfortunately there are still bills being discussed in both the House and the Senate, as well as in the legislatures of many, many states to restrict women's access to this important health care need. So unfortunately it doesn't seem like this is an argument that is over.

LAUER: Sandra Fluke. Sandra, thank you again for your time this morning. It was nice to have you on the show.

FLUKE: Thank you for having me.

LAUER: And by the way, David Gregory will have more on the battle over birth control and the Super Tuesday races on Meet the Press this coming Sunday. His guests, GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich, House Republican leader Eric Cantor, and DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC