Sullivan, Bill Maher and others are defending Limbaugh’s freedom of speech and condemning the boycotts and lobbying against his advertisers. Sullivan’s latest:
No one is involuntarily exposed to his poison; and he earned the big bucks by peddling this crap. That’s the American way. Yes, I’m relieved that the government is not intervening, but the First Amendment ensures that. The right way to counter his speech, in my view, is with speech, not threats to his livelihood.
Again, Limbaugh is arguably the greatest media influence to the Republican Party. His free speech, like Breitbart, is part of the apparatus that guides Republican legislation. Were it not for the misogyny coming from right-wing media players like Limbaugh, there wouldn’t be as much support for laws like the one that was signed in Virginia yesterday. Limbaugh’s opinion matters.
He’s welcome to say whatever twisted horseshit crosses his melting brain — just as we’re entitled to hold him accountable when he crosses the line. In this case, his rants about Sandra Fluke was not only vile, but it was slanderous — and it’s part of a 20 year Limbaugh addiction to using language that arguably influences the oppression of women in America.
We’re not talking about a one-time joke or an slip of the tongue. He has a political agenda to legislate against womens’ rights and womens’ equality.
And so we’re using our free speech to say “enough!” Enough profiting on the oppression and objectification of women. Simply correcting him on Twitter or on a blog hasn’t worked — ever. Ever, ever, ever. So this time, we’re exercising our right to speak out and we’re hitting him where it will actually make a difference.
Sullivan thinks that merely holding our hands over our ears and making “la-la-la!” noises is the solution — “no one involuntarily exposed to his poison,” he wrote. But millions of people every week, including members of Congress and state governments, do in fact listen to him and take him seriously, and that means we, as activists or writers or commentators, are obligated to counter-balance the impact. Ignoring him won’t make him go away.
And finally, Sullivan has dedicated a significant portion of his career to accusing Sarah Palin of lying. Likewise, he’s not forced to involuntarily listen to her poison, but he does, and he’s spent a lot of time on her lies. And he’s lying to himself if believes this doesn’t have an impact on her “livelihood”.