Ever since Bill Maher started fretting about how mean everyone is being to El Rushbo, I keep seeing these "Well, Limbaugh's awful, but ..." takes from people who are ostensibly on the left.
Here's Slate's John Dickerson, on the Political Gabfest (starts ca. 24:00):
JOHN DICKERSON: I like the whole thing because I hate bullies and Rush Limbaugh is a bully. And so it's good that he's getting beaten in the nose ... And if the advertisers are doing it, I think it's good. We feel so powerless in most of our lives to actually do anything to change the behavior of snotty bullies like Limbaugh. But I also, on the other hand, think its great that there are different kinds of voices, and he certainly speaks for a group of people — whether they have to agree with everything he says or not — who feel similarly powerless, who feel like they've been on the wrong end of the mainstream media for generations.
Yes, as we all know — white male right-wingers are just so powerless. Who will speak for them?
Good God, what nonsense. There's nothing "great" about a hate-spewing propagandist, who has made hundreds of millions of dollars peddling outright lies over the people's airwaves. For more than 20 years, he's been convincing people that up is down. He's a cancer on the body politic, and worse, he's metastasized into dozens of other bad actors, who also peddle hate and lies on the radio and on television on a daily basis.
As an aside, Limbaugh's worst feature isn't that he's a bigot or a bully — it's that he's a liar. Democracy doesn't function properly when people are misinformed, and Limbaugh — as Al Franken pointed out on a daily basis on his show — feed his audience a steady stream of lies on a daily basis.
Kevin Drum is similarly conflicted.
Limbaugh is getting what he finally deserves. I couldn't be happier about it. I just hope that down the road this doesn't turn into a preemptive boycott of every political gabber out there who has even the smallest chance of ever producing any national blowback. That runs the risk of turning every show into a bland marshmallow. It wouldn't make the world a better place.
Yes it would. Where is it written that we need politics to be presented as "shows"? That's one of the big problems with our country today: politics as entertainment. Policy is hard. Issues are complex. The country was better off when politics wasn't a "show," when the Fairness Doctrine required both sides of issues to be presented on the people's airwaves, when Vice Presidential candidates didn't get their own reality shows — and when shock jocks like El Rushbo weren't the de facto heads of one of the two major political parties in the U.S. and able to shape public opinion by incessant lying.
I'm not sure what these guys are thinking. Rush Limbaugh's professional demise would be a deliverance for progressives -- and the nation. The advertiser boycott that's crippling his show should be celebrated — not lamented.