This is a clarification on my views on the Rush Limbaugh controversy. I know my views have been contrary to many of my good friends on Twitter and Facebook. All I ask is that you understand where I am coming from.
First, I have NOT gone over to the dark side. I am the same Obama-loving, beyond liberal leftie I have always been and shall continue to be,
Second, what Rush Limbaugh said to Sandra Fluke crossed the line. It was appalling in its condescension. The apology that Limbaugh gave was weak and should have been placed on the air first.
Six years ago, NBC aired a series called Book of Daniel. To make a long story short, A group called the American Family Association wanted the show cancelled simply because of its portrayal of people of faith. What they did was threaten companies that advertised on that show with a boycott if they didn’t pull their spots from the show. And though they swore up and down that they were not practising censorship, that’s exactly what they did: censorship by blackmail.
Now eventually, Book of Daniel WAS cancelled, but because of bad ratings. But the AFA took the “credit,” and (if you have read my posts for the past six years you know) I have been fighting them ever since.
Now its us on the left who are censors.
Limbaugh has apologized to Fluke twice. Once on his website and again on his show. It may not have been the falling-on-your-sword type of apology, but he said he was sincere. Fluke, for her part, has rejected both apologies. That would be between the two of them.
This, though, has not calmed down the army of progressive Tweeters (at least in name) who have been calling for anyone who has run a spot on that show either intentionally or as a run-of-schedule spot that could be placed anywhere to pull those commercials from the show, in a mistaken notion that the sponsors support the show. In most cases, they are only supporting the station...this ain’t NPR.
Now here’s a partial list of sponsors who have headed for the exits: GEICO, AOL, ProFlowers, LegalZoom, Citrix, Select Comfort, and Quiken Loans. Now what do these fine companies have in common? They also sponsor PROGRESSIVE TALKERS like Randi Rhodes (who works for the same program distributor as Limbaugh), Stephanie Miller and Bill Press.
What that means is that all any CONSERVATIVE group can do is organize its own tweet campaign and pressure these same companies pull their spots from PROGRESSIVE hosts. And chances are they can pull it off.
So what we potentially have here is censorship via blackmail, with progressives and conservatives making like Tony Soprano to make sure their view is the only one available. Whether they realize it or not.
And it doesn’t stop there. Tasting blood, the StopRush contingent is now going after stations to pull Limbaugh’s show. Two already have as of this writing. However, one is in Hilo, HI...and the other is in a market in the East so small it can’t be found on a Hubble telescope.
Meanwhile, KFI in Los Angeles, WLS in Chicago, WABC in New York, and 500+ stations nationwide are still on the EIB Network.
I have tried to want to join the StopRush movement. The man is boorish, a pain in the ass, insulting, and...though I don’t believe he is racist...highly racially and sexually insenitive and ignorant. So are the TWENTY MILLION listeners he has every week. TWENTY MILLION.
But what stops me is the principle. Censorship is wrong. It is always wrong, even for what we think are the wrong reasons. Fluke does have the option to sue for slander and libel, and she may have a case. But censorship by any means is not and never is the answer.
I could go on, but there is one person who, as he usually does, succinctly sums it all up in 140 characters or less:
“Hate to defend #RushLimbaugh but he apologized, liberals looking bad not accepting. Also hate intimidation by sponsor pullout”-Bill Maher on Twitter
Finally, a personal note. I have developed many friends on Twitter. And some people actually have notice what I say, for which I am extremly greatful. I understand the passion. But my belief that the free exchange of ideas, even ideas I find abhorrent, such as Limbaugh’s statements to Ms. Fluke, is what sets this country apart from the others. On this one issue, I respectfully disagree. I hope this does not affect any friendships, and I know we will be on the same side again soon.