Political Pundits’ Most Notorious Gaffes

Political Pundits’ Most Notorious Gaffes

It’s been an intense week for conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who came under fire for calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, 30, a “slut” and a “prostitute” after Fluke testified before Congress in favor of health insurance coverage for birth control prescriptions. Of course, Limbaugh isn’t the only political pundit to enrage the masses in recent memory. Check out these books by Limbaugh and other contemporary political thinkers whose provocative words have landed them in hot water.

The Center of the Storm
The Sandra Fluke scandal isn’t Limbaugh’s first dance with widespread public anger. Limbaugh, who became a bestselling author with “The Way Things Ought to Be” (1992) and “See, I Told You So” (1993), accused actor Michael J. Fox of exaggerating his Parkinsons symptoms in a 2006 ad in favor of stem cell research. He has repeatedly referred to feminists as “feminazis” and in a 2007 radio broadcast referred to soldiers critical of the war as “phony soldiers.”

The Queen of Outrage
Frequent TV commentator Ann Coulter regularly raises the ire of media-watchers with her tough judgments on, for instance, former Senator John Edwards (a “faggot”) or 9/11 widows critical of President George W. Bush (“I have never seen people enjoying their husbands’ deaths so much.”) Coulter’s memorably-named “How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter” pulls no punches in illustrating the author’s disdain for all things left.

The MSNBC Mouth
Rush Limbaugh isn’t the only pundit to draw the ire of women around the nation for dropping the “s” bomb. MSNBC’s Ed Schultz, author of “Killer Politics: How Big Money and Bad Politics Are Destroying the Great American Middle Class,” called radio talk show host Laura Ingraham a “slut” on his nationally syndicated radio show. As a result, his TV bosses suspended him for a week without pay.

The Fox Firebrand
“The O’Reilly Factor” host Bill O’Reilly has kicked up a furor over remarks on religion, 9/11 charities, and Kansas-based abortion provider George Tiller, M.D., whom O’Reilly called “Tiller the baby killer.” (Tiller was later murdered by an antiabortion activist.) But in perhaps the most surprising O’Reilly controversy, the TV star attracted the disapproval of none other than the National Parks Service when he and Martin Dugard published “Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever,” a bestselling fictionalized account of the events leading up to the murder of President Abraham Lincoln by actor John Wilkes Booth. Due to multiple historians’ objections to inaccuracies in the text, the Parks Service refused to stock the book in the gift shop at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Politically Incorrect
“Politically Incorrect” host Bill Maher was the center of a huge kerfuffle over his September 2001 comments disagreeing with President George W. Bush’s characterization of the 9/11 hijackers as “cowards.” As a result, several advertisers withdrew from his show, which was soon cancelled. It was not the first time Maher had gotten in trouble for speaking frankly—earlier that same year, he compared his dogs to ”retarded children,” saying, ”They’re sweet. They’re loving. They’re kind. But they don’t mentally advance at all.” He later apologized for that comment. Maher, who went on to author “The New New Rules: A Funny Look at How Everybody But Me Has Their Head Up Their Ass,” weathered these and other storms to emerge as a popular mainstay on HBO.

Savage Critic
Michael Savage isn’t just a popular talk radio host—he’s also written thrillers (“Abuse of Power”), guides to herbalism and homeopathy (as Michael Weiner) and several other books. He angered some Catholic activists in 2006 by referring to members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy as “pigs” and criticizing priests’ support for illegal immigrants from Mexico. He has earned rebukes from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination (GLAAD) for comments like his 2006 rant on MSNBC’s “Savage Nation” when he said to a caller, “Oh, you’re one of the sodomites. You should only get AIDS and die, you pig. How’s that? Why don’t you see if you can sue me, you pig.” MSNBC canceled the show, and Savage later apologized for his remarks.

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