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?