Call off the attacks

Instead of trying to muzzle others, try acting more civil

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Under other circumstances, Gloria Allred would probably find it patronizing and condescending toward women – the fact that an antiquated Florida law makes it a crime to question a woman’s chastity.


But in this case, the celebrity lawyer wants to use the hopelessly out-of-date and unconstitutional statute as a bludgeon to punish and perhaps silence conservative talker Rush Limbaugh.

Allred knows, or should know, that the state law is highly questionable constitutionally. She also knows, or should know, that Limbaugh’s ill-considered opinion that a Georgetown University contraception activist was a slut or prostitute – since apologized for – was commentary protected by the First Amendment.

She also knows, or should know, that what Limbaugh said, however shameful, pales in comparison to what liberal commentator Bill Maher and comedian Louis C.K. have said about Sarah Palin.

Since folks such as Allred and fellow liberals Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem – the latter two of which want Limbaugh silenced – have now made this a First Amendment issue, you should know what Louis C.K. said about Palin’s reproductive anatomy – that it is a “(bleeping) retard-making ----,” using a profanity for “woman” that is so vile we won’t even feed you the first letter.

So how does Limbaugh’s speech rate so much more dire consequences? Because it comes from a certain political perspective that the cool kids in the mainstream media don’t agree with.

So they want it silenced.

They want advertisers to do it, or radio networks or the Federal Communications Commission or the Palm Beach, Fla., prosecutor’s office. They’re trying it all.

Any educated citizen, much less an attorney, should know that can’t be allowed to happen under the First Amendment.

“I despise Rush Limbaugh,” First Amendment lawyer Marc J. Randazza writes at CNN.com, in an article headlined, “It’s un-American to silence Limbaugh.”

“I despise almost everything I have ever heard him say. I wish that he were no longer on the air. That is why I write today to defend him against those who call for him to be silenced.

“Far too frequently, Americans find offense in another’s art, music or other expression, and then they call for censorship. This is intolerable.”

Good for him.

How dangerous for the republic to have people such as Allred, Fonda and Steinem seeking to silence speech they find offensive.

Here’s a thought: Instead of trying to silence each other, why don’t we first stop attacking each other?

Limbaugh and others conservatives ought to lead the way and set a more civil standard.

It’s a quaint notion these days, certainly. But it’s also true: One need not demonize a political or cultural opponent in order to disagree with him or her.

Limbaugh was guilty of doing that. So are people on the other end of the political spectrum.

We needn’t try to silence each other. Rather, let’s just have it out in the marketplace of ideas and let viewers and listeners and readers decide for themselves who is right.

Limbaugh’s incivility was punished, swiftly and surely. He lost advertisers, and likely a few listeners, and felt obliged to apologize. What if other cases of rank incivility were met with similar repercussions – regardless of one’s political persuasion?

Instead, in some cases the incivility gets rewarded. Louis C.K., until the Limbaugh incident brought attention to his obscene hatred, was scheduled to be the headliner at the Radio & TV Correspondents’ Association dinner. He withdrew after a call by Fox talker Greta Van Susteren to boycott the dinner.

This free speech thing is hard. It’s a whole lot harder when we act like children.

Comments (24) Add comment
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faithson
6661
Points
faithson 03/14/12 - 12:02 am
6
2
whooooooa.... wait a minute

whooooooa.... wait a minute here. Rush OPENED this can of worms. You may call it a tempest in a tea pot, but ole Rush is going to have to pay his dues in full on this one. When you upset intelligent working women in America by disrespecting them, you have scorned women... and everyone knows to get out of the way of a scorned women, missive apology or not.

KSL
186417
Points
KSL 03/14/12 - 12:43 am
2
6
I'm a woman who never had the

I'm a woman who never had the my birth control. paid for. I made it through alll of those years without whining. There are a lot of us who were not promiscuous as well. If you choose to be giving it up freely to you male friends, why should they not participate in the cost, or is that just pretraining for single mom subsidies.

itsanotherday1
58333
Points
itsanotherday1 03/14/12 - 12:29 am
1
4
^5 KSL, it is called PERSONAL

^5 KSL, it is called PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!! Cyber hugs to you!!

KSL
186417
Points
KSL 03/14/12 - 12:45 am
2
1
I could use a big ole hug.

I could use a big ole hug. Thank you.

Jon Lester
2480
Points
Jon Lester 03/14/12 - 06:23 am
6
2
Gloria Allred never actually
Unpublished

Gloria Allred never actually files in court when she becomes someone's celebrity representative amid every current high-profile story in the news, and the best work she does in the courts is done so very quietly and with no hype whatsoever. Having said all that, how you feel about her is immaterial. Faithson is right; Rush's hateful ways have finally caught up with him, and American business has decided that their best interests are simply not being served by advertising with EIB. Rush's fitness to compete in the arena of ideas will never be what it once was, and it's no one else's fault but his own.

Riverman1
120515
Points
Riverman1 03/14/12 - 07:48 am
2
4
Rush is the most listened to

Rush is the most listened to political commentator in the history of this country. His ratings dwarf any other radio or TV political program. He represents mainstream, bill paying, America is the truth of the matter. He speaks for three hours a day and it gets kind of frustrating to him when he hears one gimme, anticapitalist after another whinning. He let the S word slip and apologized. On the other hand, liberals make it a regular event to slam conservatives, especially women in obscene ways. Rush's ratings have increased greatly after this Fluke flack.

seenitB4
128350
Points
seenitB4 03/14/12 - 07:53 am
6
1
I'm sorry River....ya know I

I'm sorry River....ya know I luvs ya...but ole Rush can stick a sock in IT!
I'm a woman....I really don't like the words he used.....he has aright to blow off steam..heck he probably needs to blow off...heh

But he WAS NASTY imo....we females don't like called hookers & such......believe it or not!

Riverman1
120515
Points
Riverman1 03/14/12 - 08:03 am
2
5
Rush's comments were wrong,

Rush's comments were wrong, but liberals consistently defame conservative women. I mean it's absolutely enough to make you puke on your TV some of the things said about them and their children.

Retired Army
17513
Points
Retired Army 03/14/12 - 08:45 am
6
2
It's amazing what will happen

It's amazing what will happen when it's your ox being gored.

That being said, how many of us have been silenced right here in River City, when our passion has offended someone on these boards?

Please don't jump me Sean. Just pointing out a fact and I have never called anyone a profane name here.

It's not the language of Rush that so irritates many of us. it is the mangling of truth to create fear and divisiveness that he so masterfully uses that causes the reactions he engenders.

How many of us can honestly remember the polite and civil public discourse that existed in America before Limbaugh? The question is, is it Limbaugh's creation entirely or has he simply tapped into a coursness, hate and fear that already existed?

It's a sad commentary to say that the latter thought is true. It's an even sadder thought that our local news source supports this kind of human being at any level, if he is agreeable to their point of view.

By definition that's true hypocrisy.

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 03/14/12 - 08:48 am
1
5
Sorry Ms. Allred, but freedom

Sorry Ms. Allred, but freedom of speech doesn't only apply to speech you agree with.This law was put on the books in 1883. I would question Ms. Allred as to why she wants to drag us back to those days.

Michael Ryan
1098
Points
Michael Ryan 03/14/12 - 08:50 am
2
0
Faithson, Limbaugh didn't

Faithson, Limbaugh didn't start the incivility in this country, but we acknowledged his role in it -- not just in this editorial, but in a previous one. We appreciate you asking about it!

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 03/14/12 - 08:59 am
1
0
The concept of "polite, civil

The concept of "polite, civil discourse" in American politics is revisionist fantasy. In 1884 Grover Cleveland's opponents started a rumor that he had fathered an illegitimate child. When Woodrow Wilson's wife died there were rumors that he killed her in order to marry his second wife. There were rumors that Warren G. Harding participated in orgies. Abe Lincoln was rumored to be (gasp) Catholic. I could go on but you should get my point.

shrimp for breakfast
5783
Points
shrimp for breakfast 03/14/12 - 09:03 am
2
1
AC editors there is one huge

AC editors there is one huge difference between Limbaugh and Maher.
Limbaugh is on the "Free" airwaves whereas you must purchase HBO knowing that Bill Maher is part of the package.
I'm not defending either man. I personally think Limbaugh is a pompous , arrogant, hippocrite. I think Maher while hiding behind the veil of comedy is a hack. We must assume these clowns put their big floppy shoes in their mouths in the name of ratings.

shrimp for breakfast
5783
Points
shrimp for breakfast 03/14/12 - 09:08 am
4
2
By the way as an historian I

By the way as an historian I believe Sarah Palin is one dumb human being on the history of this nation.

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 03/14/12 - 09:58 am
5
1
The first amendment just

The first amendment just protects individuals from the government silencing you. Want something to be really upset about? Congress just passed, and Obama just signed, a bill officially making it a federal offense to cause a disturbance at certain political events — essentially criminalizing protest in the States. That is a first amendment issue. Being disgusted and not supporting Rush is not a first amendment issue.

Rush and others can continue to say whatever they want- but others don't have listen or support him. The government is not trying to silence Rush, as much as people thought scary Obama would shut down right wing radio (Another wrong fearful prediction, just like the fear Obama is going to take our guns). Private citizens and corporations have decided on their own to not support Rush and pull ads. That's the free market.

"Limbaugh and others conservatives ought to lead the way and set a more civil standard."

Everyone should be more civil, but the right is not going to lead the way. Just like the left is not going to lead the way. Ted Nugent has said horrible things and Fox news still calls him a friend. You know, I'm not going into all of the horrible things people have said- few have a leg to stand on.

Point is- this is not a first amendment right.

Oh, and about Rush's apology. You should compare the apology he made to Fluke to the apology he made to his advertisers. One was heartless and fake, the other was a sincere money begging apology.

Riverman1
120515
Points
Riverman1 03/14/12 - 10:15 am
4
3
You have to understand Rush's

You have to understand Rush's ratings are astronomical. He makes hundreds of millions. At least one advertizer has asked to get back on Rush's show, but he told them to stick it. He has the upper hand as always with his ratings.

Rhetor
1183
Points
Rhetor 03/14/12 - 10:27 am
6
2
The ACES itself has published

The ACES itself has published several editorials full of name-calling. "Frothy lapdogs" and the like seem to be favorite expressions. If you good people favor civility, you could do your readers, and your cause, a favor by addressing issues rather than personalities. Not that I can defend Louis C.K.--I can't--but Rush Limbaugh is without peer for combining influence with viciousness. That anyone takes him seriously is shocking to the conscience.

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 03/14/12 - 10:37 am
3
2
Riverman1: I can post the

Riverman1: I can post the video where you can hear Rush begging his advertisers to come back, how he'll be better. When you have lots of national ads leaving, and local stations cutting him- he is losing money. I'm sure he'll be fine in the end and still better than 99% of the radio hosts out there- but the ads leaving are having an effect.

Riverman1
120515
Points
Riverman1 03/14/12 - 10:45 am
0
2
TP, not sure what you saw,

TP, not sure what you saw, but Rush told Sleep Train, a former advertizer who wanted to get back on after initially cancelling, to get lost. Really, he has the highest ratings by far of any political radio or TV show. He calls the shots. Do you think he is going to leave the air or something? Ha. Do you think his ratings have increased?

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 03/14/12 - 12:05 pm
1
0
Allred is wanting to use the

Allred is wanting to use the force of law, albeit from the 1800's, to silence Limbaugh. That is what makes it a first amendment issue.

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 03/14/12 - 12:24 pm
0
0
Riverman: Below will be a

Riverman: Below will be a youtube link of Rush begging his sponsors to return. Although the video is clean and safe, some youtube comments are nasty. Just a heads up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8LU-5dB4BZc

Riverman1
120515
Points
Riverman1 03/14/12 - 12:50 pm
0
0
Tparty, well, thanks for the

Tparty, well, thanks for the link, but that was directed at the affiliate stations, not sponsors. Plus, his theme was not to let the "pettiness" distract them. That was not begging sponsors. I encourage you to listen to YOUR link again.

TParty
6004
Points
TParty 03/14/12 - 01:08 pm
1
0
It reeks of begging. Listen

It reeks of begging. Listen to that vs. his 'apology' to Sandra for calling her- and every woman who wants birth control- nasty names, with the suggestion they should put their intimate activities online for his viewing pleasure. So... yeah- there is a big difference.

Riverman1
120515
Points
Riverman1 03/14/12 - 01:13 pm
0
0
TP, I heard the same thing

TP, I heard the same thing you did and didn't think of it as begging at all. He told the affiliate stations not to be distracted by those wanting to make trouble with him over pettiness. Do you really think Limbaugh would do something unappealing like begging? No way, Jose.

Little Lamb
56774
Points
Little Lamb 03/14/12 - 01:51 pm
0
1
Just a few minutes ago Rush

Just a few minutes ago Rush told his listeners that he has to record ads for five new sponsors this week.

fedex227
11192
Points
fedex227 03/14/12 - 06:57 pm
1
0
Once again the ACES tries to
Unpublished

Once again the ACES tries to lump different issues into one editorial and ends up muddying the point it is trying to make. The idea that the government should impede first amendment rights vice the ability of Americans to take action against speech that they find offensive are two entirely different topics. Very few people would agree with Gloria Allred’s attempts to silence anyone’s right to speak their mind but that cannot be equated to citizens exercising their constitutional right to speak out against speech with which they disagree – sorry ACES, even Jane Fonda has that right in this country.

…”Any educated citizen, much less an attorney, should know that can’t be allowed to happen under the First Amendment.”

Gloria Allred aside, any educated citizen should know that it is their right to speak out; be it through their vocal condemnation, working through the legislature, and yes, even their pocketbooks. Americans are not powerless lemmings who have to sit back and say, “well, I guess no one complained when Bill Maher said xxxx, …. no one said anything when Louis C.K. said xxxx, so I guess if Limbaugh said xxxx I guess I have to just accept it.”

You don’t have to accept it, not in this country. Call the venues that promote Louis C.K. if you have a problem with what he says; call the radio station and sponsors of the Rush Limbaugh program if you think he should be taken off the air. You can boycott a restaurant because of a bad experience (you can even encourage others to do so as well). You can make a sign and picket a business (within the confines of the law).
It's not a contest between left and right, conservative and liberal.

There is no official ‘book of consequences’ that you can go to when someone makes at particular statement- the consequences are whatever the actions people take as a result of those statements.

The lesson is not …. “We needn’t try to silence each other. Rather, let’s just have it out in the marketplace of ideas and let viewers and listeners…” The lesson should be directed to those that spew hateful comments that you find offensive, and that is… “think before you speak and be willing to accept the consequences of what you say, whatever form they may take.”

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 03/14/12 - 08:34 pm
0
1
The lesson that most should

The lesson that most should get from this is that some people like Allred and her supporters are only for free speech if it is saying something they agree with. If not, dredge up an old statute from the 1800's and attempt to prosecute them.

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