Deplorable Calls for Censorship and Double Standards For Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh’s recent dishonest and disgusting comments on Sandra Fluke, an unpaid citizen-activist who (despite Limbaugh’s lies) never asked for taxpayer money nor said anything about her own sexual needs or behavior, have caused an unsurprising firestorm in Democratic circles. Unfortunately, we are also seeing no small amount of double-standard behavior from Democratic politicians and left-leaning commenters; it appears that many of them cannot bring themselves to hold their own heroes such as Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann to the same standards.

Warning: the following enlightening video contains considerable potty mouth quotations from TV shock jock and liberal darling Bill Maher:

We are also seeing deplorable efforts to have Limbaugh censored by the government, which should not be supported by anyone, liberal or conservative, who supports the 1st amendment. The answer to hate speech is more speech, not censorship.

The fact that some three dozen companies have now pulled sponsorship from Limbaugh is utterly appropriate, but no one who cares about the 1st amendment should support using government power to punish him with fines, or worse, outright censorship. The 1st amendment protects everybody, including those who indulge in odious trash-speech like Bill Maher and Rush Limbaugh.

And Democrats should be forthright in condemning and refusing to accept money from people who unapologetically behave like Bill Maher. The President’s supporters should be called upon to refuse campaign donations from people like Maher until they clean up their act. If we want to clean up political discourse even a little in this country, we need to start by cleaning our own houses. If conservative stalwarts like George Will and Peggy Noonan can exhibit the right attitude here, so too can people on the political left.

Stop defending the indefensible just because it’s from someone you like or generally agree with. Stop trying to use government-imposed sanctions and censorship to get what you want; the cure for despicable speech is more speech. And Democrats now gleefully taking advantage of Limbaugh’s contemptible misbehavior should, without any mealy-mouthing or weasel-wording, call out people on their own side when they act viciously. Ed Schultz gave an honorable example just last year; most people, left right or center, should take note.

Free tips for everybody:

1) Don’t change the subject
2) Don’t play tit-for-tat
3) Don’t make excuses
4) Make keeping your own house clean your first priority

Rush Limbaugh deserves every bit of criticism he’s getting. There are very legitimate ways criticize Sandra Fluke’s position, and reasonable ways to respond to such criticisms, without descending to the gutter. Rush Limbaugh’s sponsors have every right to refuse to be associated with him any longer. But censorship is not the answer, and neither are double standards.

(This item cross-posted to The Moderate Voice.)

*Update*: For those who claim there are no liberals attempting censorship, The Inactive Activist will set you straight. It apparently isn’t enough to censure Limbaugh; for some, it is necessary to censor him. I have to ask, is turning Rush Limbaugh into a martyr for Free Speech really the best plan?

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  • Celia Farber


    To your point:

    I just came upon what I think may be the most eye popping, shocking thing I’ve read in years. Have you read this?

  • Dean Esmay

    Good to see you C.!

    No, I hadn’t read that. It’s a good article, although some of Matt Philbin’s examples are much weaker than others and that dilutes his point a little. (Calling someone “crazy” or “a martian” really does not even belong in this discussion I don’t think.)

    That said, over on The Moderate Voice we actually have people defending using the FCC to fine Rush Limbaugh “like Howard Stern,” and even defenses of a project to try to get the government to take him off the air by force. It all makes me think of this classic song:

    Always happy to be stuck in the middle with the likes of you. 😉

  • Dishman

    I’ll note that apparently Bill Maher is kinda siding with Rush Limbaugh in all this.

    Is Inactiveactivist serious, or sarcastic?
    Poe’s Law may apply.

  • jaymaster

    Dean, it’s good to see that you are, in fact, still defending the traditional liberal tradition!

    I gave up on the Moderate Voice when it became another left of center echo chamber. Joe was still OK, but most everybody else, well, jeez….

    Maybe I need to start checking out again.

    Now if I can just get you to be a TRUE First Amendment supporter who supports the the right to burn an American flag…. :)

  • Dean Esmay

    I did notice a startlingly leftish tilt to TMV recently. I’ve been out of the loop in blogdom for a long time, am only re-emerging, but if anyone wants to recommend a strong and thoughtful and talented libertarianoid or rightish blogger needing/wanting exposure, I can pass it on to Joe, he’ll listen to me.

    Burning flags is a 1st amendment right so far as I can see. I mean, you’ll probably seriously piss me off if you do it, but since I’ll know that’s your purpose I probably just snort at you like I snort at Klansmen.

    But does anyone even do that anymore? It seems so ’90s…

  • Dean Esmay

    Dish: Had some back-and-forth with Inactive Activist. S/he appears quite serious. Or way too cleverly subtle for me. It was “liberals” who gave us “hate speech” codes and “hate crime” laws to begin with by using the same logic, though, so I’m inclined to believe him.

    Never heard of Poe’s Law before. Excellent!

  • John Eddy

    Poe’s Law Seems a neat partner to the now apocryphal Godwin’s Law.

  • jaymaster

    And not to go too far off track…..

    But did you know that this guy was the man behind Stealers Wheel?

  • Dean Esmay

    Yeah I did. :-)