Selective Outrage

This entry is part 1 of 47 in the series Blog1

March 9, 2012

A couple days after Rush’s “slut” attack on Sandra Fluke it seemed obvious that the Democrat’s had scored a big win. Rush’s every word had been under intense scrutiny by the Left for many years and after sifting through many millions of words delivered for three hours a day over the past 24 years they have found numerous politically incorrect statements but nothing so outrageous to even cause a dent in his armor.

Finally, it appeared that Rush had crossed the line that they had been anticipating over all these years. He picked on a seemingly innocent college student whose only wish was to lobby the government to force insurance companies to pay for her contraceptives that cost her and her friends around $1000.00 a year per individual.

Assuming this was the magic bullet they had been waiting for, Democrats unleashed all they had. The next day Nancy Pelosi and Shelia Jackson Lee led an attack against him from the halls of Congress.  This was followed by a media blitz composed of anyone who leaned even slightly to the left. Next came intense pressure placed on prominent Republicans in an attempt to get them to renounce Rush.  They didn’t renounce him with the vigor of the Democrats but most either condemned him or admitted his remarks were not appropriate.

While all this was happening an army of Rush haters turned their attention on Rush’s advertisers and mounted a campaign to intimidating them into withdrawing their ads from his show. This was met with some success and by the weekend Rush issued the following written apology:

“I always tried to maintain a very high degree of integrity and independence on this program. Nevertheless, those two words were inappropriate, they were uncalled for, they distracted from the point that I was actually trying to make, and I again sincerely apologize to Miss Fluke for using those two words to describe her,” the conservative radio host said. “I do not think she is either of those two words.”

Critics maintain that he only issued an apology because a number of advertisers were offended and withdrew from his program which affected Rush’s income. It is quite possible that money was an influence in his contrition but nevertheless, it should be acknowledged that he did indeed apologize so we can forgive and forget and move on… Right?

Not quite. There was immediate rejection from Sandra Fluke herself who said:

“I don’t think that a statement like this issued, saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything…”

How about other Democrats?  Are any of them willing to forgive and forget?

Not likely.  Gloria Allred seems to set the tone by combing through Florida’s laws in search of a means of not forgiving him, but prosecuting him for his free speech. She found an obscure law written back in the puritanical days of 1883 which makes it a misdemeanor to question a woman’s chastity.

With this newfound interest in enforcing old laws perhaps she should take a look at another old law from Florida, S. 775.083.  This makes it illegal to have sex outside of marriage. Since Sandra Fluke is not married and spends $1000 a year on birth control then by her own admission she is breaking this law.

If Gloria is to be fair minded then if she seeks to prosecute Rush she should also prosecute Ms Fluke. I’m sure there is an old law like Florida’s wherever she lives.

Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem are also not ready to accept Rush’s apology. In an op-ed for CNN’s website they write:

“He promotes language that deliberately dehumanizes his targets. Like the sophisticated propagandist Josef Goebbels, he creates rhetorical frames — and the bigger the lie, the more effective — inciting listeners to view people they disagree with as sub-humans…

“If Clear Channel won’t clean up its airways, then surely it’s time for the public to ask the FCC a basic question: Are the stations carrying Limbaugh’s show in fact using their licenses ‘in the public interest?’”

They then make the case that since Rush Limbaugh’s show is not in the public interest he should be taken off the air.  They then commenced a campaign to accomplish this by admonishing readers to complain to the FCC, referring them to FCC’s complaint website.

Yes, it seems all the Left are outraged about Rush to the point of wanting him prosecuted and taken off the air, except for one.  Ironically, he just may be the most vocal liberal spokesman of them all…

His name is Bill Maher.

After Rush’s apology which no Democrats were accepting Maher Tweeted:

“Hate to defend Rush Limbaugh but he apologized, liberals looking bad not accepting. Also hate intimidation by sponsor pullout.”

Why is it that this staunch critic of all things conservative is sympathetic to Rush?

Two reasons:

First, one of the reasons his previous show, “Politically Incorrect” was taken off the air was because advertisers took offense at him calling the 9/11 hijackers courageous. Advertisers dropped like flies and his show was cancelled.

Bill is smart enough to know that if conservatives can be drummed off the air through intimidation of advertisers then so can his favorite liberals.

Secondly, and most important, he knows that he has a history of even more outrageous remarks against women than Rush does and an attack on Rush’s words will just raise a red flag to draw attention to himself.

Unfortunately for Maher, his liberal friends did not heed his warning and conservatives responded with a counter attack against the abusive language of liberals with Maher as the prime target. Previous to the liberal attack on Rush the conservatives pretty much ignored Maher.  They didn’t like what he said but figured he had a right to be outrageous. BUT – if their icon Rush couldn’t be outrageous as well then, in their minds, a counter attack was in order.

As of this writing attacks from both sides are in full swing.  Are both sides justified in being so offended? Let us take a look:

Here was Sandra Fluke’s original statement that caught Rush’s attention made to a panel of Democrats:

When I look around my campus, I see the faces of the women affected by this lack of contraceptive coverage. And especially in the last week, I have heard more and more of their stories. On a daily basis, I hear from yet another woman from Georgetown or from another school or who works for a religiously affiliated employer, and they tell me that they have suffered financially, emotionally and medically, because of this lack of coverage. And so I’m here today to share their voices, and I want to thank you for allowing them — them, not me — to be heard.

Without insurance coverage, contraception, as you know, can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school (three years). For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that’s practically an entire summer’s salary. Forty percent of the female students at Georgetown Law reported to us that they’ve struggled financially as a result of this policy.

To this Rush responded:

What does it say about the college co-ed Susan (Sandra) Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex. What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex…

OK, she’s not a slut, she’s round-heeled”  (a colloquialism for a woman easy to bed)

Rush half-heartedly withdrew his slut comment but added “round-healed” and kept the prostitute accusation. Unlike many insults he did express some reasoning which was this:  If Fluke insisted on others paying money so she can have sex then one could loosely associate her with a prostitute who demand payment for sex.

Now let us look at some of Bill Maher’s comments which were below the radar, but no longer so.

Perhaps his most outrageous remark occurred a while back during a comedy show in Dallas.  There he called Sarah the C-Word then adding, “There’s just no other word for her.” Later on his HBO show he called her a “dumb twat” and the week after he called both Palin and Bachmann “bimbos.” Continuing his attack on these two he said liberals do not like them “not because they have breasts. It’s because they are boobs….Because they’re crazy people.” Then he calls Palin and Bachmann MILFs which stands for “Mothers I would Love to F*ck.”

Concerning Sarah’s daughter Bristol he said she  “has to admit that the reason she f**ked Levi over and over until a baby fell out is because she liked it.”

Now I religiously watch Maher’s show and listen to Rush so any judgment made is from my own observations, not made from what others say about the shows.

In making a judgment one must observe that these attacks by Maher are just a few available on two Republican women and their families. He has similarly attacked many others he did not like.  That said, should people be more offended at Rush than Maher?

There are several differences between the two and the first I list is one I haven’t seen pointed out by anyone else.

(1) Rush gave a reason why his accusation is true and Maher did not.  Rush made the point that a prostitute is a woman who performs sex for money and since Fluke was requesting money for contraceptives so she could have sex then in a round about way she is comparable to a prostitute according to his controversial logic.

Now most people (including myself) feel it was wrong to use prostitute or slut as a name-calling device no matter what, but we do have to acknowledge Rush’s reasoning here.

On the other hand, when Maher called Palin names such as the C-Word, twat, or boob he was using pure name calling with no actual reason why the words applied, for there is no cause to apply them to any female who is not the confirmed antichrist.

Out of respect to my readers I use “C-Word” instead of the actual word because the word itself, applied to a female, is meant only for attack purposes whereas prostitute is a real word that communicates something specific.

(2) This brings us to the second difference.  In his attacks Maher often uses attack words that cannot be quoted for a general mixed audience whereas Rush’s insults do not have to be bleeped out.

(3) Maher defenders claim that he has license to use offending attack words because he is a comedian and they have more latitude than political commentators.

But… just as Rush is a political commentator first and an entertainer second even so is Bill Maher a political commentator first and an entertainer second.  Anyone watching his show has to realize that it is built around political discussion with a little humor thrown in for spice.  Bill’s inflammatory language should be judged by the same criteria as Rush’s.

Then too, even pure comedy has its limits. We recall the incident of Michael Richards (Kramer from Seinfeld) performing as a regular comedian when he used the N-Word.  All hell broke loose and the guy lost a lot of prestige with his fans and Hollywood.

More recently comedian Tracy Morgan made fun of gays and the mentally disabled and received all kinds of grief and criticism. He had to apologize profusely if he ever wanted to work again.

I’d say that calling a female the C-Word is as bad as anything Morgan or Richards did and because Maher is a serious political commentator he cannot use his comedian status as an excuse to escape the same criticism Rush has received.

(4) Rush has made a formal written and verbal apology and Maher has not. He apparently does not see the need for he said he could not understand why many women would be offended at his remarks toward one woman – Sara Palin. That’s like saying only the blacks in Richard’s audience should have been offended by the N-Word.  He should still be cool for all other blacks.

(5) The level of outrage is different. We wouldn’t even be talking about Bill Maher’s offenses if the Left had not so aggressively attacked Rush. A lot of conservatives were offended by Maher’s statements but moved their attention to other things until their own icons were attacked.  Then they justifiably felt that the same rules should apply to both sides and pointed out Maher and others as examples of bad behavior that should offend as much or more.

One of the reasons many think the Democrats seemed to overreact in outrage toward Rush was to hurt the Republican party and thus enhance their chances to elect Obama and Congress in November.  If this is the case the goal seems to be backfiring. According to a New York Times/CBS poll released March 13 Obama’s approval ratings have dropped like a stone since February from 50% to an all time low of 41%.  If they thought that highlighting Sandra Fluke and attacking Rush was going to help them then it looks like they were sadly mistaken.

(6) The Left thinks their outrage justifies them attempting to get Rush and other conservatives off the airwaves and limit their free speech.  They were successful in their attack on Glenn Beck who uses the vocabulary of a boy scout.  He lost advertisers and lost his position on Fox News.

On the other hand, most conservatives do not attempt to silence Maher and other liberals.  This is a curious situation when one considers that they are often portrayed as the intolerant ones.

Summary: So, how would majority opinion view this situation?  I think the majority would like to see more civil discourse.  Instead of calling our political enemies sluts, prostitutes, the C-word, bimbos, twats, or just plain stupid we can air our differences with civil language. I think they would also like to see us be more forgiving and accept sincere apologies.  We should also honor the First Amendment and allow disagreeable speech realizing that if enough people are offended they will lose interest in listening.

A good entertaining yet civil commentator/comedian on the Left is Jon Stewart. On the right, Sean Hannity similarly tries to articulate his views without name-calling.  These two and others illustrate the fact that we can disagree yet be civil.  Let both sides have their say and the people will decide whether they will maintain an audience.

Copyright 2012 by J J Dewey

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