The progressive movement is really squeezing every last drop out mock outrage out of this increasingly-stale controversy:
Rush Limbaugh’s opponents are starting a radio campaign against him Thursday, seizing upon the radio star’s attack of a Georgetown law student as a “slut” to make a long-term effort aimed at weakening his business. …
Media Matters is spending at least $100,000 for two advertisements that will run in eight cities.
The ads use Limbaugh’s own words about student Sandra Fluke, who told congressional Democrats that contraception should be paid for in health plans. Limbaugh, on his radio programs, suggested Fluke wanted to be paid to have sex, which made her a “slut” and a “prostitute.” In return for the money, he said Fluke should post videos of herself having sex. Under sharp criticism, Limbaugh later apologized.
In one of the anti-Limbaugh ads, listeners are urged to call the local station that carries Limbaugh to say “we don’t talk to women like that” in our city.
Media Matters is placing the radio ads in cities with strong progressive activist networks and place where it believes Rush Limbaugh is particularly vulnerable. The group says it’s modeling this after its “Stop Beck” campaign, but that’s a little misleading. While Media Matters did target Glenn Beck’s advertisers, the main reason he was dropped from Fox News was because of his plummeting ratings. That had more to do with conservatives tuning out than anything Media Matters orchestrated.
And Media Matters also risks overreaching with the anti-Rush campaign. Not all liberals are comfortable with the idea of trying to push Limbaugh off the air. In the New York Times today, Bill Maher writes:
The answer to whenever another human being annoys you is not “make them go away forever.” We need to learn to coexist, and it’s actually pretty easy to do. For example, I find Rush Limbaugh obnoxious, but I’ve been able to coexist comfortably with him for 20 years by using this simple method: I never listen to his program. The only time I hear him is when I’m at a stoplight next to a pickup truck.
When the lady at Costco gives you a free sample of its new ham pudding and you don’t like it, you spit it into a napkin and keep shopping. You don’t declare a holy war on ham.
I don’t want to live in a country where no one ever says anything that offends anyone. That’s why we have Canada.
Maher makes good points, though he also places far more emphasis on the fake outrage from conservatives than he does on the fake outrage coming from liberals. Sure, conservatives overreact to comments and demand apologies from their political opponents all the time, welcome to politics. But the major campaign to shut down a talk show host for disagreeable language is being orchestrated and funded by the left. Maher should at least have the guts to call out Media Matters by name.
As an aside, would it even matter anymore if Media Matters somehow managed to get Rush kicked off the air (an extremely unlikely possibility at this point)? Sure, it would be a symbolic victory for the left and set a disastrous precedent for entertainers. But Rush has a massive, devoted audience and could probably maintain similar ratings on an online-only platform. The biggest loser in that scenario would be radio, which needs hosts like Rush far more than he needs the medium.