Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bum's Rush

CNN posted and op-ed today from the Women's Media Center co-authored by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem. They want the FCC to take legal action against the toxic gasbag Limbaugh since his bosses won't do it.
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?"
I'm afraid revoking the licenses of the stations over one show is a bridge to far for me to cross. In the first place, I don't want the government to be in the business of adjudicating which speech is allowed. In the second, this line of reasoning only reinforces the con's censorship defense of Limbaugh which is taking root in Greater Wingnuttia. Exhibit A: Doug M at OTB pleads, "don't make me defend Rush" on just those grounds.

His argument is, of course, bogus and selective. He's very concerned about the concerted effort of the lefty hoi polloi to get Rush fired. Because, you know, the right would never do that. I don't know he was even blogging then, but as I said in comments there, I wonder what Scott Beauchamp thinks about this. Or that kid working for minimum wage at Walmart who got fired because he wasn’t properly deferential to the words “Merry Christmas.” Or that kid working the phones at whatever station who made the joke about the X briefly appearing over Cheney’s face and got fired? Or the photographer who took the pictures of Cheney’s estate, with his permission? Or Graeme Frost?

And no, Bill Maher and Keith O and every liberal politician who ever made an offensive reference to Palin or Bachmann is not analogous. If there was any major liberal voice who defended their ugly remarks, I didn't see it and neither did I see anyone disputing their suspensions for going over the line of civil discourse. Neither have I ever seen any leading Democrats hastening to ask their forgiveness on bended knee for disagreeing with their wrongful speech.

In any event, I'll support the vile Limbaugh's First Amendment right to spew his hateful tripe on the air. I don't think it's the FCC's place to shut him down. Especially not when it would shut down other useful voices in order to take away his soapbox.

Let Limbaugh alone be judged in the court of public opinion. And his vile imitators too. It appears to be working quite well.

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Blogger ed waldo (Hart Williams) said...

I love ya, Libby, but this "First Amendment" hogwash is just that: hogwash.


Because Limbaugh's statements on commercial radio over the public airwaves are NOT First Amendment speech. They are Commercial Speech, which has different standards.

i.e. you can't knowingly make false representations about products, etc.

Or, have Limbaugh say the "seven dirty words" and see how "First Amendment" the FCC holds it and how little traction it gets in Federal Court. The Supreme Court has been very clear about commercial speech as DIFFERENT from First Amendment speech.

Commercial Speech: Limbaugh slanders a young private citizen on the airwaves for three days.

First Amendment (protected) Speech: Limbaugh tells people what he thinks of women in the unemployment line or at the bus stop.

Otherwise, we're tilting at imaginary windmills, defending a "right" that doesn't -- in this context -- exist.

7:57:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Not sure you're right about that Hart. My old law firm defended a half dozen strip clubs right to operate based partly on the F.A. rights of the dancers to free expression. That would clearly fall under commercial speech so I think there are applications in that arena.

But I'm not arguing against the strategy based on the legal aspects so much as the optics and the effect it would have on the narrative. If the government intervenes and shuts down the stations, it would certainly hurt innocent people and it make Rushblo a martyr in the eyes of his dittoheads, merely reinforcing the whole govt is bad and PC politicians run the world.

Also, I'm really not keen on the govt interfering in public speech. The ACLU motto applies. The remedy is not less speech, it's more and better speech. Which again, seems to be working.

12:10:00 PM  

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