Good Morning America's Dan Harris on Tuesday highlighted liberal hopes to turn Rush Limbaugh's "slut" comments into a "Don Imus moment." The March 6 segment brings the total number of ABC stories on the subject to eight in just four and a half days.
Harris played two nasty clips, one showing Jon Stewart mocking the conservative host as a "terrible person." Harris excitedly related, "This morning, liberal groups are going all out. They're mounting an aggressive online campaign to get Limbaugh's sponsors to pull their ads. They are hoping this is Rush Limbaugh's Don Imus moment."
He then played a clip of Stewart excoriating, "I don't get too worked up about the things Rush Limbaugh says, because he is, and has been for many years, a terrible person."
A snippet of Stephen Colbert followed: "And, remember, he only apologized to keep his advertisers. Proving rush will do anything with his mouth for cash."
Harris ended by admitting, "It is even possible, some experts say, that this controversy could actually help Limbaugh draw a larger audience."
Guest host Elizabeth Vargas had a sour look on her face as she replied, "Really?"
ABC offered two stories on Friday, one on GMA and one on World News. Saturday was the same. Sunday featured an anchor brief on GMA. On Monday, the network produced another two. Tuesday, thus far, saw an additional report.
On Monday, ABC's reporters berated the GOP presidential candidates for "equivocating" and not condemning Limbaugh harshly enough.
A transcript of the March 6 segment, which aired at 7:10am EST, follows:
ELIZABETH VARGAS: Let's turn now to Rush Limbaugh. He's on the defensive, even after apologizing for a second time for calling a law student a, quote, "slut and prostitute" on his radio show. But, the attacks on him just keep coming, despite the apologies, ABC's Dan Harris has the latest on the backlash. More advertisers backing out of his show and two stations dropping him.
DAN HARRIS: Yeah. Absolutely. Hi there. Good morning to you. This morning, liberal groups are going all out. They're mounting an aggressive online campaign to get Limbaugh's sponsors to pull their ads. They are hoping this is Rush Limbaugh's Don Imus moment. Overnight, the late night comics had the proverbial field day with Rush Limbaugh's contrition mission.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: But the apology was heart felt. The apology was sincere.
JON STEWART: I don't get too worked up about the things Rush Limbaugh says, because he is, and has been for many years, a terrible person.
STEPHEN COLBERT: And, remember, he only apologized to keep his advertisers. Proving rush will do anything with his mouth for cash.
HARRIS: Meanwhile, more sponsors are pulling out. The latest, Allstate and AOL, bringing the total to at least ten. Even the musician Peter Gabriel got in on the act, telling Limbaugh he can no longer use the song Sledgehammer, which was playing in the background last week as Limbaugh mercilessly mocked Sandra Fluke.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute.
HARRIS: A 30-year-old law student who testified before Congress in support of forcing insurers to cover birth control costs.
LIMBAUGH: And I, again, sincerely apologize for using those two words to describe her.
HARRIS: Fluke appeared on ABC's The View, Monday morning and I caught up with her backstage. You don't seem displeased by the pressure he's under right now.
SANDRA FLUKE: I don't think it's going be a bad thing for the women of America if we don't hear this type of rhetoric again.
HARRIS: And yet, Limbaugh, himself, doesn't seem so nervous.
LIMBAUGH: Those advertisers that no longer want your business, fine.
HARRIS: As for Sandra Fluke, she's making it pretty clear she's not about to forgive the man who called her a slut, even if he reaches out to her personally.
FLUKE: The attacks he made against me personally on the air were enough personal contact for a lifetime.
HARRIS: As much as it may frustrate some of the left to hear this, Limbaugh probably is not going anywhere any time soon. He's got 15 million listeners on nearly 600 stations, although at least two of them have dropped him. It is even possible, some experts say, that this controversy could actually help Limbaugh draw a larger audience.
VARGAS: Okay, Dan, thanks so much.