(h/t Heather at VideoCafe)
Here's a test for you. I'm going to post two quotes from Howard Kurtz, and you tell me which one refers to Rush Limbaugh:
"A lot of broadcasters might have lost their jobs by saying something so stupid, offensive, and misogynistic."
"I mean, this is part of what he does. He likes to stoke outrage and draw attention by saying things that are a bit over the line."
Ok, you get five seconds. I'll give you the answer below the fold.
If you guessed the first comment was made in reference to Ed Schultz, who had apologized sincerely by the time Kurtz made that comment, you win. The first reference was to Schultz; the second was in reference to Rush Limbaugh.
This was the leadoff for David Frum and Dana Milbank, who both thought Limbaugh's comments were completely out of line. In fact, I give Frum credit for correcting Howie's characterization of Limbaugh's Saturday statement as an apology. Here's what he had to say about it, with a snippet of Kurtz' lead-in:
KURTZ: So, in part, he is saying I'm just an entertainer here that maybe went a little too far.
FRUM: You know, it was about the most graceless apology ever.
Of all the times that Howard Kurtz has bent over and twisted like a pretzel to minimize something, this one could possibly be the worst. Except that he didn't know when to let it go, and decided he needed to say there was a media double standard on how people were treated. What kind of question was this?
KURTZ: Look how much -- I mean, is there something to the notion that there's a double standard that it's worse for conservatives. Look Dana Milbank, how much Ed Schultz using the word slut got, and admittedly, he apologized in a very manner very quickly, and how this Rush story has become the front page top of the newscast.
Nowhere in this discussion does Howard Kurtz mention that Rush Limbaugh's relentless attack on Sandra Fluke took place over three days, or just how much time Limbaugh spent on her. Nowhere does Howie bother to mention that Rush asked for sex tapes from her and other young women who use contraceptives, nor does he mention the sheer magnitude of Limbaugh's vitriol. No. Instead he asks whether there's a double standard in the media coverage of Limbaugh.
Howard Kurtz, misogyny enabler and rehabilitation counselor, at least to the right wing. He did manage to mention at the very tail end of the discussion that Fox News had remained silent on the issue for the most part. The problem is, they haven't.
While it's true that no panelist on Special Report would defend Limbaugh, Eric Bolling was more than willing to take on that task, calling Fluke a Democratic party "plant." Bill O'Reilly had a lively discussion about it on Friday, comparing progressives to child kidnappers for making it an issue at all.
Meanwhile, other right wing media personalities (Mark Levin) tell women to go straight to hell for daring to object to what Rush Limbaugh spews. Bloggers double down on the ugly imagery, saying she's from east Whoreville and more. CNN's own Erick Erickson castigates Carly Fiorina while continuing the lie that this is about who pays for contraception, which of course it is not. Michelle Malkin whines about a media double standard while calling Fluke a "moocher. Tool. Hypocrite. And budding femme-agogue."
There is a media double standard. I've just shown it to you at the beginning of this post. The only time in the whole discussion Howie decried the use of the word "slut" was when talking about Ed Schultz, not Rush Limbaugh. Yes, there's a media double standard. It's the one that lets Rush Limbaugh get away with saying despicable, hateful things while Howie airbrushes it as "entertainment."
Look, let's be clear. Rush came down hard and fast on Sandra Fluke with as much meanness as he possibly could to send a message to us all: Speak out, women, and you're next. Dare to claim your rightful and equal place in this country, and I'll take you down just like I did Sandra. That's why he was so toxic.
But Howie Kurtz did a disservice to everyone by ignoring the worst of it. The worst part of this is that Howie Kurtz should know what the real issues are and understand the real distraction Limbaugh provided. By allowing him to go on about Sandra Fluke's sexuality while ignoring Limbaugh's distortion and lies about the facts under the controversy, he allows the lie to stand about this being a discussion of sexuality, instead of a discussion about labor law and basic health issues.
Double standards abound, but how Rush Limbaugh was treated compared to Ed Schultz is the mildest of them all.