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. (Click here for examples.)

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 own 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 (link) and Peggy Noonan (link) can exhibit the right attitude here, so too can those on the political left be expected to clean their own house.

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 Dean’s World.)

*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?

The copyrighted cartoon by RJ Matson, The St. Louis Post Dispatch, is licensed to run on TMV. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

  

Author: DEAN ESMAY, Guest Voice Columnist

Dean Esmay is a long-time associate of Joe Gandelman and The Moderate Voice. He is Managing Editor of A Voice for Men. He also blogs on a variety of issues at Dean's World, one of the world's first blogs and one of the few that was archived as Historically Significant by the Library of Congress for the 2004 elections. You can also follow Dean via Twitter here.

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54 Comments

  1. “So if Rush was on Sirus you wouldn’t have a word of complaint?”

    EEllis, by all means go back and read the comments I’ve made. I do not support an FCC investigation, and I complain a lot about Maher. I was trying to explain to you other people’s comments. Those who call for an FCC investigation into Rush would not have the same grounds or motivation to do so for Maher because he is on private TV. Those same people may or may not “complain” about Maher, but there’s a difference between denouncing someone and thinking that there should be some sort of criminal consequences to his actions.

    “I was refering to, when the subject of Maher also being hateful, a commentor mentioned a list of others that he seemed to believe canceled out Maher. As if it were about scoring points in a game. It makes the outrage expressed by some seem a little fake when “Points” are more important than anything else.”

    The only reason Maher is being talked about in the first place is that Rush supporters brought him up as a (false) equivalent to Rush. He’s only involved at all because the right did exactly what you’re saying you don’t like. Once the “your side does it too” game was started by the right, the left was suppose to just accept that Maher is just as bad (he’s not, for reasons explained above), forgive Rush, and not volley back? C’mon.

  2. Dabb says:
    March 8, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    I always find it interesting in situations like this that, when someone on one side does something horrible, the other side has to counter with someone else that did something horrible.

    Of course, the first side uses the previous misdeeds of the second side to excuse their own. And the the second side tries to use the current controversy to distract from their own misdeeds. After all, its not like one side is any better than the other and, ironically, the long term effect of this is to allow both parties to get away with the unacceptable (enabling each other in a wierd synergistic way).

    What is the difference between partisans and those who actually care about principle? The article addresses this. You don’t excuse either side based on the misdeeds of the other, but neither are you blind to the other side attempts to ignore and distract from their own. You just remember that things that are unacceptable and you clean your own house before you try and clean someone else’s.

  3. The only reason Maher is being talked about in the first place is that Rush supporters brought him up as a (false) equivalent to Rush. He’s only involved at all because the right did exactly what you’re saying you don’t like. Once the “your side does it too” game was started by the right, the left was suppose to just accept that Maher is just as bad (he’s not, for reasons explained above), forgive Rush, and not volley back? C’mon.

    BS. Dean is bringing this up because he’s a Rush supporter? I haven’t listened to Rush for more than 30 sec in ten years and have already condemned his statements he made about Fluke. I mentioned Maher because I believe much of the outrage against Rush is contrived. Real outrage is fine but a majority seems to be about hitting someone people view as a political “opponent” rather than real concern. So be it I barely care to be honest but using an issue for political gain is a sure way to turn some off and lose them later. But hey you slightly hurt Rush!!!

  4. Whatever, EEllis. You just want to argue with yourself here if you won’t admit that Maher has done nothing of note since Palin was running for veep, and his name has only come up as a false equivalency to Rush. You’re doing exactly what you condemn. So you go on and have fun with your hypocrisy. I’m not interested in being your sounding board for that one.

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