Don’t Rush

17 Apr

Business communication requires a fair amount of planning.  You must think everything out and edit it for content. Today, you must consider everything before you write or say it, and without this careful planning a simple statement can be taken as offensive.

So what happens when you don’t get a chance to plan?  We call this impromptu.  You have to come up with things off the top of your head, hoping they are appropriate.  Usually what you say after some thought is okay, but a prime example of what not to do comes from conservative radio show host Rush Limbaugh.


On February 29, 2012, a law student named Sandra Fluke asked that women receive free birth control to treat a variety of reproductive health issues, such as ovarian cysts.  Her reasoning was that many women can’t afford these medicines, but they are essential to health.  She mentioned nothing about the use of birth control pills as contraception.

Rush’s Reaction

When Rush Limbaugh heard about this, he went on the air calling Fluke a prostitute and a slut saying, by giving women free birth control, we were paying them to have sex.  He publicly disrespected Fluke on national radio, and made jokes about her private sex life, when she wasn’t even asking for the pills for herself.

What’s Wrong Here?

There are obviously many things wrong with this situation.  Rush Limbaugh verbally attacked a woman on air.  He said many inappropriate things, and lost the respect of many viewers.  He lost many of his network sponsorships because of those statements.  What he said are thoughts that you keep to yourself; you don’t broadcast over the air.  He may have disagreed with what Fluke said; however, there are better ways to demonstrate disagreement. 

Simply put, Rush rushed.  Because he felt so strongly about the subject, he should have let himself cool off and think before he said anything offensive.  The moral of the story: Think before you speak.

by Rebecca Berels



2 Responses to “Don’t Rush”

  1. Max Witt April 19, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

    Interesting post. In the Rush Limbaugh example, it is obvious that he behaved rashly and poorly, but perhaps other situations are not so cut and dry. With the growing necessity of social media in business, I see a contradiction where businesses are able to reach masses easily and quickly, but are also communicating directly. The importance of proofreading posts and tweets can’t be understated, but I think it is more challenging to monitor social media as opposed to traditional forms of business communication such as press releases. Rush Limbaugh was unbelievably inappropriate, but a subtle grammatical error in a tweet could undermine the credibility and professionalism of a business. How much time should we spend editing social media? Should we as the public be more forgiving of such errors? Interesting topic. Thanks.

  2. Valerie Huang April 22, 2012 at 2:55 am #

    Rush Limbaugh’s inappropriate remarks warn us to be especially careful while offering different opinions. When we disagree with others, we tend to use more defensive and even aggressive language. The media often uses this tactic in interviews and press conferences, hoping to get some “interesting” responses to difficult questions. On the other hand, disagreement in group meetings can cause big problems if not communicated wisely. There is nothing wrong to disagree, but we should always be respectful and watch our tone.

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