By Rebekah Denn
The Seattle Times • March 7, 2012
Most of the attention around Rush Limbaugh this week has centered on contraception and a 30-year-old law student. Now the debate is expanding to food and a 35-year-old journalist whose new book, as Fast Food Nation’s Eric Schlosser put it, “explores the lives of those at the bottom of our food system.”
Forbes.com described the controversy this way:
“Limbaugh spent the entire first hour of his program today discussing “The American Way of Eating,” a new book by journalist Tracie McMillan, who logged almost a year working low-paying jobs at Wal-Mart, Applebee’s and other places to learn about the food industry. Despite the backlash he’s faced for branding law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute,” Limbaugh didn’t shy away from the matter of McMillan’s sex. On the contrary, he referred to her as an “authorette” and attempted to tie her to a broader trend of “all these young single white women” who are threatening Americans’ freedoms.”
“Who me? A “Food justice slut”? Well, I never!” McMillan tweeted after hearing about the show, which included Limbaugh asking “What is it with all of these young single white women, overeducated — doesn’t mean intelligent.” She tweeted directly to Limbaugh, using the hashtag “Overeducated,” that “I’m proud to have put myself through college to get my BA. Five jobs at once was rough, but it was worth it.”
And she told the Detroit Free Press that “”It’s fairly bizarre that someone would criticize my work simply because I’m female. And it’s not like I’m from some fancy background.”
Limbaugh said in the show that “Food is the next front in the left-wing war on the private sector” and that the goal of work like McMillan’s is ” to take over the distribution of food by the federal government,” according to the show’s transcript.
“This is about the expansion of government. It is not about whether or not the food at Walmart or Applebee’s is any good. They have to malign these places. It’s part and parcel of the scheme,” he said.
For McMillan, talking to the Free Press, “It’s a real shame that instead of debating the real topic of my book, which is how we get American families to get access to good healthy food in their neighborhoods, instead we’re talking about me.”