Bill Maher defends Rush Limbaugh against critical ‘fatwa’

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Limbaugh has remained at the center of a campaign this week by Democrats and liberal groups pushing advertisers to drop his show because last week he called Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke, who testified in favor of the administration's contraceptive mandate, a “slut” and a “prostitute.” Limbaugh apologized last weekend for his word choice.

Maher, along with commentators Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews, have been cited by some as examples of commentators on the other side of the aisle who get away with making derogatory comments. Maher specifically became an example for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who wrote on her Facebook page this week: “Pres. Obama says he called Sandra Fluke because of his daughters. For the sake of everyone's daughter, why doesn't his super PAC return the
$1 million he got from a rabid misogynist?”

Maher, who insulted Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign using an anatomical reference, publicly donated a million-dollar check to the super-PAC that supports President Obama’s reelection campaign. Obama, who has given the group, Priorities USA, his blessing to fundraise on his behalf, also weighed in on the Fluke controversy by personally calling the student to express his support.

Maher, who now hosts a show on HBO, did see his ABC show “Politically Incorrect” canceled after he suggested the Sept. 11 hijackers were brave.

Earlier this week, Maher tweeted that he hates “intimidation by sponsor pullout.”

Fluke said Monday on ABC’s “The View” that Limbaugh’s apology didn’t fix his “attempt to silence” her views, and suggested Americans would decide whether Limbaugh should remain on the air based on whether he expressed their values.

And although the women of “The View” made a very sympathetic audience for Fluke’s story, co-host Barbara Walters also argued against putting pressure on advertisers to drop Limbaugh in protest.

“No, advertisers should not drop out, if they like Rush Limbaugh in general,” she said. “I’m speaking for this show. We say things on this show that people do not like. And that is one of the important parts of the show. It’s one of the reasons that I have been so proud of it, is that we have different opinions and advertisers do not drop us.”

Limbaugh has maintained that his apology was sincere, and denied on Wednesday that he is losing any money in the wake of the controversy.

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