Wednesday, March 07, 2012

On Rush Limbaugh and the Freedom of Speech and Stuff

Yesterday I glibly responded to something blogger, Erica Joyposted about Netflix. Perhaps I should have taken time to give a more thoughtful response.

People online weren't simply demanding Rush Limbaugh apologize—they were demanding he be silenced and removed from the airwaves. They cheered as advertisers fell one by one. I don't believe anybody's speech should be silenced, even if you disagree with them. Period. I was also troubled by the double standard since Rush isn't the only man who has used those terms on air. Those terms are used all the time in the entertainment world, and there are other misogynistic messages out there as well, especially in movies found on Netflix. A simple search came up with movies like Teeth and Sizzle Beach, USA (starring Kevin Costner) where women are reduced to sexual objects for men's gratification. These are only the tip of the gratuitous nudity iceberg found on that service. Yet Netflix is cheered instead when they announce they won't advertise on Rush's show. Yeah, they're such a bunch of saints.

Folks, if gender specific insults are intolerable, then they should be intolerable at all times, not just when conservative pundits use them. When you give liberal pundits or comedians a pass, or fail to clamor for their voice to be silenced as well, you expose yourself as biased and politically motivated. It makes a mockery of your message. It is as if you say "Free speech for me, but not for thee." As a father of four daughters I am troubled by the casual use of any gender specific insult on air, but I feel strongly that silencing a voice is *not* the way to encourage civil discourse, especially when that voice apologizes.

Please consider these liberal insights regarding this controversy:

Bill Maher: “Hate to defend #RushLimbaugh but he apologized, liberals looking bad not accepting. Also hate intimidation by sponsor pullout”

Kirsten Powers: Rush Limbaugh Isn’t the Only Media Misogynist

Double Standard on Media's Attack on Rush - Excellent discussion between Megyn Kelly and Kirsten Powers

Please prove you are more civil than Rush Limbaugh. Accept his apology and stop intimidation via sponsor pullout. Freedom of Speech can be ugly, but it is vital we protect it. It's not just there to bash conservatives. At the same time, lend your voice to discourage all incidents of gender specific insults. Civil discourse requires balance from all sides.