EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Silencing the Right
Last week, Rush Limbaugh suggested Sandra Fluke was a slut. The left immediately began calling for boycotts of his advertisers. He apologized on Saturday. Fluke refused to accept his apology claiming he did it under duress and the pressure has kept up.
It is organized and it has nothing to do with Limbaugh referring to Sandra Fluke as the same thing Ed Schultz referred to Laura Ingraham as. It has to do with a well executed PR strategy to frame a debate on mandating Americans subsidize the sexual habits of women as a war on women by the GOP. The media, which leans left already on social issues, would much rather focus on Rush Limbaugh than on the left’s PR strategy and Sandra Fluke’s own testimony.
What is happening here is an organized campaign by the left to shut down opposing views from the right. Much of this has to do with the right’s overall success in the past several decades. As more Americans consider themselves pro-life, even California constitutionally banned gay marriage, and most Americans agree with the right on mandates and global warming, the left has resorted to a new tactic — dialing up the outrage to shut up the right.
Many on the left and right, myself included, have said things we should not have said. The difference is that the left seizes on the statements made by the right as excuses to demand they never be heard from again and are unqualified to speak on any topic. They harass advertisers. They harass networks. They harass the conservative who said what it was as well. Any unforced error is seized to shut down the right in a way that does not apply to the left. If at first they are not successful, they will work to compound the story, manufacture outrage, and seize on statements and twist words to build a case against the conservative in question that they should be shut up and turned off.
Rarely do people on the right operate in the same aggressive way against the left.
Likewise, typically the right is willing to say their colleague should not have said what was said, but the left rarely speaks out as loudly about their own. The right more often apologizes for its own and more often the media expects the right to apologize for its own in a way that is not expected of the left.
It is a double standard and if the right does not do a better job of fighting fire with fire, the left will be emboldened to keep it up. Feminist groups, left wing blogs, unions, and community organizing groups stick together on these issues speaking with one voice to silence the right.
Free market groups, pro-life groups, and right-wing blogs rarely unite in such fashion. “It’s not our issue,” some of them will say. On the left, it is their shared issue. The gay rights group that feels insulted by Kirk Cameron speaking frankly about marriage will be joined by the feminists, the unions, etc. The social conservative group offended by Bill Maher probably won’t see free market groups rallying to the cause.
Because of it, both the free marketers and the pro-lifers should expect more and more attempts to get them both shut up. The left will unite and exploit divisions on the right.
Consider Richard Cohen today at the Washington Post. He “can find nothing of value” in Andrew Breitbart’s life in his column celebrating Breitbart’s death. Had a conservative said the same about someone on the left, there’d be a campaign today to get them driven from the Washington Post.
Consider Mike Malloy. On Friday, Malloy mocked Christians who were killed by tornadoes. Arguably few people pay attention to Malloy because he sucks as a radio host. I should know. I sit behind the microphone where he got his start. My ratings are better than his ever were. Nonetheless, Malloy has advertisers for his show. He has a poorly syndicated show. The left loves him. Why isn’t the right uniting to go after him? The Governors of Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and Oklahoma should be in on the game today calling his affiliates, his advertisers, etc. to take him off the air.
Bill Maher referred to Sarah Palin as a “dumb tw*t.” He has no advertisers, but only days later was parading around other television shows. He still does. Every time he appears on another network, the right should raise holy hell about it. He followed up that remark, by the way, by calling Palin a “c*nt” a week later. Still, in a way the media would never celebrate Rush Limbaugh, he’s heralded as some funny comedian for whom everyone rolls out the red carpet.
Montel Williams has a syndicated television show. On radio he said he hoped Michelle Bachmann would slit her wrists. Why is the right not protesting the Partnership for Prescription Assistance. He is their national spokesman.
We need not even get into Keith Olbermann and all the things he has said. He still has a show.
Whether it is supporting traditional marriage (don’t you dare refer to it as “normal”), opposing gay rights, offering alternatives to global warming, or generally championing conservatism, the left hasn’t been doing as well as they’d like so they have decided competing ideas can no longer be tolerated. Tolerance is only a virtue for their views.
Many of us, myself included, have made an unforced error. We should be charitable. Mistakes happen. Dumb things are said. I know it from my own life. I know it from the lives of friends and even opponents. Unfortunately, as the left has been losing the hearts and minds of the public, they’ve become less and less likely to give any pass, accept any apology, or turn any blind eye to the right. It is an ugly time in American politics because of the decline of charitable hearts between opponents. But it is also reality.
The left has united in this. It may not be one group’s cause, but that group will go all in with the others. The right will not do it. And because of that, the right will lose unless they change.