Is there ever a time where Howard Kurtz frames things in a realistic fashion? He sets up this exchange between Stephanie Miller and Michael Medved about Rush Limbaugh with the ongoing false equivalence of the right wing.
Kurtz jumps right out with this question: "Rush Limbaugh apologized, so why is this escalating?"
Medved jumps out with the claim that the pressure on advertisers will not work. Clearly he has already forgotten about Glenn Beck's exit from Fox News, after he became a money-loser when sponsors were pressured to pull their ads from his show. He also must not have heard about the advertisers' edict that they no longer want to be associated with hate radio.
Through this whole back and forth, Kurtz functions as a Rush apologist. It's utterly disgusting. I hate that Bill Maher called Sarah Palin what he did, but there is a huge difference between tossing that epithet at a public figure once and spending three days excoriating a private citizen. Here's a snippet of that exchange. After pointing out what Maher said, he goes to the clip of President Obama saying he didn't want his daughters treated the way Sandra Fluke was, at which point Medved jumps right on the false equivalence bandwagon:
MEDVED: Now, if the president is so worried about people calling Malia and Sasha names because they speak out in public, then why no sympathy for Sarah Palin? Actually, if he turned down that million dollars and said, you know, in the same principle that I'm defending Sandra Fluke, I'm going to defend Sarah Palin, even though I disagree with her, the president could have gotten a lot of credit. He didn't do that.
KURTZ: All right. Technically, at least, he can't turn down any money because the super PAC is supposed to be independent.
KURTZ: All right. Another liberal who spoke --
MILLER: I'm sorry. She's not a public figure. You can't say that Sandra Fluke, like she enjoys being called a slut and prostitute for three days in a national arena. She was asked to testify.
MEDVED: Sarah Palin doesn't enjoy it either. One of the things that I thought was very good in that "Game Change" movie on HBO, they show --
MILLER: Howard makes a good point. She's not running for anything. She's not a public figure. And he distorted her testimony in the first place. She wasn't testifying about her personal sex life. And she wasn't asking taxpayers to pay for her birth control.
That is what is making me crazy about this whole stupid debate. Rush Limbaugh succeeded in turning the issue into one where Sandra Fluke was demanding taxpayers pay for birth control.
Except she wasn't. She was NOT. First of all, the health plan for students at Georgetown is 100 percent paid for by -- wait for it -- students. And as the customers, students were asking for birth control to be covered as a preventive health measure. The taxpayers do not pay for this coverage. Students do. This is the truth whether Rush Limbaugh wants to admit it or not. And now we have Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity climbing on the "taxpayer-funded birth control" meme despite the fact that she did not once request taxpayers to pony up one red cent toward contraceptives.
Where is Howie in all of this? Where is Mr. Media Critic? Nowhere. Evidently he's still back in the place where Rush Limbaugh apologized.
Stephanie Miller, however, was brilliant. I especially appreciated this remark in response to yet another effort on Medved's part to draw a false equivalence between her description of Rush Limbaugh, a public, bombastic bag of wind, and his treatment of Sandra Fluke:
KURTZ: But you mock people on your show. You mock people on your show. In fact, you have a certain phrase you use to describe Mr. Limbaugh.
MILLER: Oh. Drug-addled gas bag?
MILLER: Well, yes, except that is based on the truth. Yes, well, I wasn't surprised that he had problems figuring out how many birth control pills you have to take since he's had a little bit of trouble with the number of OxyContin pills that you need to take.
KURTZ: Has ever talked about you?
MILLER: I don't think I want sex advice for --
MEDVED: Have you ever apologized for that, Stephanie? Have you ever apologized for that?
Of course she hasn't apologized for that. It's the gospel truth, and a fact.