The But…

Published: March 7, 2012

By Jim Lichtman
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Anytime anyone makes a statement followed by “But,” you can throw all sincerity from the preceding statement out the window!

After Rush Limbaugh apologized to Sandra Fluke for using “inappropriate words” to describe her, it didn’t take long for El Rushbo to fall back on the “B” word:

“But all of the other leftists that call me and other conservatives the most rude and explicit names, never an apology. In fact, they get patted on the back. Don’t expect apologies. They are never going to apologize to you or me or any of us. That’s the difference between them and us…”

Limbaugh also had some choice words for the exodus of advertisers from his radio program as a result of his comments about the Georgetown law student who testified before a Democratic committee on Capitol Hill regarding the need to have contraceptives made available through health insurance.

“…the media,” Limbaugh said, “are giddy that some advertisers have said they’re leaving the program. And I’m sorry to see ’em go. They have profited handsomely from you. These advertisers who have split the scene have done very well due to their access to you, my audience, from this program… They’ve decided they don’t want you or your business anymore.”

The New York Times reported that “One local radio distributor of The Rush Limbaugh Show, KPUA in Hilo, Hawaii, said Monday that it had canceled the show because Mr. Limbaugh ‘crossed the line of decency… ‘While much of the national debate regarding this issue is now being framed in political terms, the decision for us is one of decency and responsibility,’ Chris Leonard, the president and general manager of New West Broadcasting said in a statement. ‘Regardless of one’s political views on the issue being discussed, we feel the delivery was degrading and the continued comments over several days to be egregious.’ ”

AOL and Tax Resolution Services are the latest to suspend their sponsorship. In a statement posted on FacebookAOL said, “…one of our core values is that we act with integrity. We have monitored the unfolding events and have determined that Mr. Limbaugh’s comments are not in line with our values. As a result we have made the decision to suspend advertising on The Rush Limbaugh Radio show.”

Tax Resolution Services stated on Twitter, “We have decided to join other advertisers and suspend our sponsorship of The Rush Limbaugh Show.”

Limbaugh’s response: “So be it… we’ll replace them.”

Then, like a long set-up from an Abbott and Costello routine, Limbaugh added:

“For me, this program is always about you… This show is about you. It’s not about the advertisers… My success has come from you. My focus has always been, and always will be, on you.”

Clearly, Limbaugh’s success has come from his audience, but his program is not about “you” the listener, it has always been about one person and one person only: Rush Limbaugh, “the All-Knowing, All-Sensing, All-Everything Maha Rushie” – all names Limbaugh uses to describe himself.

In my book, SHAMELESS, I talk about the reaction conservative Republican and former speech writer for George W. Bush, David Frum, said regarding Limbaugh’s comment that he hoped Obama would “fail” as president.

“Notice,” Frum said, “that Limbaugh did not say: ‘I hope the administration’s liberal plans fail.’ Or (better): ‘I know the administration’s liberal plans will fail.’ Or (best): ‘I fear that this administration’s liberal plans will fail, as liberal plans usually do.’… But then, if it had been phrased that way, nobody would have quoted his words at all—and as Limbaugh himself said, being ‘headlined’ was the point of the exercise… He phrased his hope in a way that drew maximum attention to himself, offered maximum benefit to the administration and did maximum harm to the party he claims to support.”

Last May, MSNBC suspended talk-show host Ed Schultz for one week without pay for calling conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham a “right-wing slut.” MSNBC said, “Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

After Limbaugh apologized, Premiere Networks, which syndicates Limbaugh’s show, said “We respect the right of Mr. Limbaugh as well as the rights of those who disagree with him, to express those opinions.”

When issues like this come up regarding Limbaugh – and they come up repeatedly – management consistently invokes, “…we respect the right…”

But, this isn’t about rights and Limbaugh isn’t about respect. It’s about hate speech and Limbaugh’s lack of responsibility, decency or civility.

If this were a first time offense, I would be inclined to accept Limbaugh’s apology and move on. However, he does this time and again with impunity, and he will continue to do so in the future.

In my book, SHAMELESS, I put forth an ethical report card based on a number of outrageous statements and factual errors Limbaugh has made.

Trustworthiness: F – For someone who bills himself as “America’s Truth Detector,” there’s more hype than truth behind Limbaugh. According to and basic resources, he is rarely accurate and far less straightforward. He deliberately misleads his listeners with suggestions such as “environmentalist whackos” may have sabotaged the BP oil rig in the gulf.

While it would seem that Limbaugh considers himself a loyal American, he frequently demonstrates that his own agenda comes before any objective, independent judgments.

Respect: F – Limbaugh’s mockery of women, individuals who have been medically diagnosed with a disabling disease as well as his disparaging of Mexicans, and his statement that Obama “…wouldn’t have been voted president if he weren’t black,” clearly demonstrate a lack of courtesy and decency.

Responsibility: F – His reckless statements range from the perverse – as when he remarked about wanting the president to fail and claiming that Obama’s economic policies are “purposeful disaster” – to the demented in declaring that “There is only one way to get rid of nuclear weapons, use them.” Statements like these not only fly in the face of self-discipline but clearly expose Limbaugh’s win-at-any-cost attitude.

Citizenship: F – I considered adding a “+” inasmuch as Limbaugh believes that he’s acting in the best interest of the country by pointing out waste, fraud and abuse. In fact, his relentless use of misinformation and self-serving assertions, as conservative David Frum points out, actually do a disservice to the party he claims to support. Limbaugh’s self-interest clearly and consistently comes before any national interest.

Sharing opinions like Limbaugh’s at a public gathering would be careless. Speaking to millions through the media five days a week is gross negligence considering the potential to influence those millions who believe him and vote on issues that affect us all.

“We must remember,” Franklin Roosevelt once said, “that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.”

It’s time to tell both Premiere Networks and Limbaugh, “Your fifteen minutes are up! It’s time to go get a real job!”




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