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In a recent CNN Online column, David Frum takes down the false equivalence of conservative vs. liberal pundits/entertainers/personalities. Over the weekend conservative columnist George Will said on ABC's This Week that Republican leaders are terrified of defacto party leader Rush Limbaugh and won't speak out against him other than some very tepid criticism. But in observing so, he couldn't resist getting in a dig against liberals.

"It is the responsibility of conservatives to police the right and its excesses, (just like liberals unfailingly fail to do) and it was depressing because what it indicates is that the Republican leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh.

And of all people, we have David Frum explaining why liberals 'unfailingly fail' to police themselves. Not wishing to wade into Redstate , I'll take David Frum's word for what Limbaugh's 'fans' may be saying about the flap, fiasco, brouhaha that has dominated the airwaves and internet for the last few days.

the broadcaster's fans are complaining about double standards.

Yes, they'll concede, maybe Limbaugh went too far in denouncing a female law student as a "slut" and a "prostitute" and then demanding that she post a sex tape online for him to view.

But look (they continue) at all the liberal/lefty broadcasters who have also said obnoxious things! No one calls Democratic politicians to account for them. Why us?

The answer is, liberal examples of cases that are somehow equivalent to Rush Limbaugh's 'degrading, brutally sexualized accusation', actually did have consequences. He points out a few examples that aren't remotely equivalent (but isn't that the norm?)
After David Letterman for example made an ugly joke about Sarah Palin's daughter, he delivered an abject seven-minute apology on air. (To which Palin responded by refusing the apology and insinuating that David Letterman was a child molester.)

When liberal talker Ed Schultz nastily called my dear friend Laura Ingraham a "slut" on his radio show, MSNBC responded by suspending Schultz for a week without pay from his TV show. Schultz likewise apologized in person on air. (Ingraham accepted the apology with grace and humor.)

He proceeds to point out what everyone knows, that these people (and even Bill Maher) don't hold any place equivalent to Limbaugh's in liberal politics. Letterman is not even political.
Among TV and radio talkers and entertainers, there is none who commands anything like the deference that Limbaugh commands from Republicans: not Rachel Maddow, not Jon Stewart, not Michael Moore, not Keith Olbermann at his zenith. Democratic politicians may wish for favorable comment from their talkers, but they are not terrified of negative comment from them in the way that Republican politicians live in fear of a negative word from Limbaugh.
And yes, Limbaugh is the powerbroker in the Republican party despite their wishes to dismiss this belief as a 'myth'.
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Comment Preferences

  •  If Frum doesn't believe (8+ / 0-)

    that liberals don't police our own, he should drop by Daily Kos sometime and try to call women sluts over a three day period. I guarantee he would get a solid lesson in policing. Boney Mojo would come deservedly swift.

    Score Card: Marriages won by me, 1. Marriages destroyed by me, 0.

    by Steven Payne on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 07:26:57 AM PST

  •  "Too Far?" He Lied Out His Gigantic Ass (10+ / 0-)

    and assassinated her character.

    Show us one case of a liberal commentator lying about the right.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 07:27:38 AM PST

  •  linky? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Smoh, eXtina

    "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius -/- "Yeah, well, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi

    by nailbender on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 07:29:00 AM PST

  •  No, we're not being fair with Limbaugh. (17+ / 0-)

    If we were being fair with him, he'd be outside in the parking lot, naked apart from the tar and feathers.

  •  Exactly where my brain went when I read this. n/t (3+ / 0-)

    Occupy- Your Mind. - No better friend, no worse enemy. -8.75, -6.21 Bring the Troops Home Yesterday

    by Thousandwatts on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 07:38:52 AM PST

  •  If Limbaugh weren't the power broker of his party (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, BlackSheep1, nellgwen, eXtina

    then Mittens would have had the courage to denounce his misogyny.

    But of course he is and he didn't...

    Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
    ¡Boycott Arizona!

    by litho on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 07:47:51 AM PST

  •  Hm. Stopped clock is correct again. (6+ / 0-)

    I wonder about Frum these days.  He has certainly burned some of the bridges he had to the right wing punditocracy (yes, George Will, that means you), and it's possible he's the only pundit who could have written this piece without being ripped up and down by the Jennifer Rubins of the world.

    Life is full of surprises, I guess.

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 07:48:18 AM PST

    •  even Will is taking criticism for calling down Rus (3+ / 0-)

      Donald Trump opined that Will is a way overrated pundit type and his mother dresses him funny to boot

    •  Frum can recognize and describe objective fact (3+ / 0-)

      when he feels like doing so. That's a distinctive trait in today's Republican Party. However, although the shock value of even infrequent honesty on the right is enough to make him occasionally worth reading, his shameless and incessant plugging of Romney once the primary started was nauseating. Not that it was much worse than the work of any other flack, but although when Frum looked at Romney he clearly sees a liar, he equally clearly approves of the fact that Romney doesn't actually mean anything he says.

      I think it's probably true that Mitt Romney is concealing a private doubt, and it is this: Mitt Romney simply does not believe the things that must be said to be a competitive candidate for the Republican nomination. He has zero interest in being a Jon Huntsman-style martyr, so he dutifully repeats them, but he cannot bring himself to repeat them with the conviction that a Republican audience (and for that matter Stephens' higher-ups at the Journal itself) expect and demand.

      This disconnect between what Romney must say and what he probably believes weakens him as a candidate, yes. But on the positive side, his disbelief in so many of the things that he is forced to say is exactly the thing that will make him a superior president—superior anyway to a candidate like Rick Perry who actually did believe them.

      Frum obviously thought a Romney Presidency would mean a return to an old-style Republican Party (pre-Bush, that is), in which he would once again be comfortable. To hell with what it would mean for the country. Now that Romney's ascendancy looks more and more remote, Frum has backed off a bit. I still read him from time to time, because he's a smart guy and it's useful knowing what the enemy thinks. I don't have any respect for his integrity, though.

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
      --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

      by leftist vegetarian patriot on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 09:30:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Limbaugh does not deserve fair. But neither does (9+ / 0-)

    Maher when he used the c-word (a gender-based insult) for Sarah Palin (and I'm no Palin fan).  And neither did Shultz -- he deserved the reprimand and suspension.  

    It's no answer to say, well, Maher or Shultz don't have as many listeners as Limbaugh, or don't have the as much influence as Limbaugh.  Wrong is wrong, and trying to measure one person's relative power in the political arena against another's does not excuse wrong behavior.  When you are on the air, even though you have a First Amendment right to horrid speech, the public also has a right (and, indeed, and obligation) to call you out on it, no matter which side of the political spectrum you are on.  Public pressure on sponsors, etc., (NOT government action) is exactly how to deal with a broadcaster that exercises his/her right to say horrible things.  

    I'm so tired of people trying to say, well, "our side isn't as bad as their side."  If it's wrong, it's wrong.  Trying to rationalize "our side isn't as bad as their side" just makes one look like a hypocrite.  

    •  Wish I could rec this 1000 times. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      msmacgyver, Bill W, eXtina

      It is absolutely spot on.  Just what I was thinking - wrong is wrong no matter who does the wronging!

      love the fetus, hate the child

      by Raggedy Ann on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 07:53:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When I hear "false equivalence"... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coffeetalk, Catte Nappe, eXtina

        ...I always want to make the point that two things don't have to be equally wrong in order to both be wrong.  The rule shouldn't be "we can be as bad as we want to be, as long as we're not as bad as our opponents are."

        And we should ask ourselves, are we castigating Rush Limbaugh because we're outraged at what he said, or because he's an influential right-winger?  I think most of us would answer that it's a bit of both, with the proportions varying greatly from person to person.  

        •  if not equivalent (4+ / 0-)

          can we at least argue for proportion?  After all one of the aspects the LW claims belongs to the Left is the sense of nuance or degree so we recognize that not all killings are first degree murder but run the gamut from that to manslaughter to justifiable homicide to accidental death.  They are not all the same thing.  To claim that Maher and Schultz' one time reference to another public individual, who is subject to all sorts of criticism and observation, fair and unfair , is proportionate to Rush's 3 day rant about a private individual where he cast all sorts of aspersions about her private life and habits is ingenuous.  During his three day rant, he made derogatory references to her some 55 times.  That is not proportionately the  thing as a single rash, ill considered reference to a public individual.  Shultz was also suspended for his remark so there was some sort of mitigation of his act.

          If you prefer:

          •  Thanks for a fact-based response. n/t (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
          •  Yes, I agree. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coffeetalk, eXtina

            But I've seen it time and time again when someone here, for instance, points out sexism or racism or some other -ism on the left, they're immediately countered with examples of worse behavior from the right, and their original point is dismissed with the magic phrase "false equivalence".  It's a way of shutting down legitimate discussion, and it troubles me.

          •  Arguing "proportion" is essentially saying (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Bill W, eXtina

            well, our side may have done something wrong, but the other guy did something worse.

            People are supposed to stop making those kinds of excuses for bad behavior when they reach puberty.  The adult thing to say is, "I did the wrong thing.  Someone else's bad behavior does not excuse what I did."

            That applies whatever your political views.  

            •  which is exactly what Schultze did (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blueoldlady, eXtina

              so what is your point, beside handing an argument to the other side which they are already making?
                During the Boston riots over busing back in the 70's many segregationists gleefully said, "See we had Jim Crow but the people in Boston are as racist as we are said to be"  The problem with that sort of reasoning is that while both acts are wrong, one, decades of a society based upon de jure inequality, is not the same thing as rioting over court ordered busing and does not excuse Jim Crow.

              At very best, to bring up examples where the Left was in the wrong is irrelevant at best and distracting at worse, drawing attention away from Rush's well documented decades of misogyny  

              •  I don't understand your comment. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                My point is that Limbaugh supporters are just wrong, in my view, to try to justify his actions by pointing to other wrong behavior by Schultz and Maher.

                And people who write diaries here trying to rationalize what Schultz and Maher did by saying "Limbaugh was worse" (i.e., arguing "proportion") are also wrong.  

                The correct response is "it was the wrong thing to do, regardless of what anybody else did."  

        •  It's not about equivalent or proportion (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoldlady, nellgwen, eXtina

          It's about consequences.  Wrong is wrong and consequences should be applied.  There is no nuance about it - Shultz was subject to consequences for his words.  So should Rush be consequenced and he is being consequenced.

          love the fetus, hate the child

          by Raggedy Ann on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 09:22:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Ed discussed his suspension and apology (5+ / 0-)

      and said that following the Limbaugh clusterfxxk, Ingraham said on air that she was still waiting for a call from the President.

      Ed called her and she again accepted HIS apology.

      The RW hate talkers continue to deflect and ignore Limbaugh's three day verbal assault on Sandra Fluke while the GOPer politicians run and hide.  

      I am not a Limbaugh listener and have heard more Rush-Talk in the last couple of days than I have in a life time.  I think my reaction is typical of someone who is not used to hearing his crap and I was horrified.

      When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

      by msmacgyver on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 08:11:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wonder if this is fairly wide spread? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        msmacgyver, eXtina
        I think my reaction is typical of someone who is not used to hearing his crap and I was horrified.
        Perhaps a significant number of people are hearing selections of Rush for the first time, and are equally horrified.

        from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

        by Catte Nappe on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 10:24:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think this might be the case for (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe, blueoldlady, eXtina

          many of the sponsors who are jumping ship even after the non-apology:

          List of sponsors:


          I read the Diary listing the 53 verbal assaults with links to each and when taken together and in context of a three day marathon, Limbaugh's trash talking is extreme and very, very personal.  Limbaugh's ranting and raving is vulgar and sexually charged and his sub-text cannot be mistaken.

          When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

          by msmacgyver on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 11:08:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  This is a point that Frum made (5+ / 0-)

      "Point 4: Most fundamentally, why the impulse to counter one outrageous stunt by rummaging through the archives in search of some supposedly offsetting outrageous stunt? Why not respond to an indecent act on its own terms, and then -- if there's another indecency later -- react to that too, and on its own terms?
      Instead, public life is reduced to a revenge drama. Each offense is condoned by reference to some previous offense by some undefined "them" who supposedly once did something even worse, or anyway nearly as bad, at some point in the past."

      The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

      by Loge on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 08:16:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you don't understand the difference (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        between progressive values and Republican values, you won't understand Frum.

        Point 4: Most fundamentally, why the impulse to counter one outrageous stunt by rummaging through the archives in search of some supposedly offsetting outrageous stunt? Why not respond to an indecent act on its own terms, and then -- if there's another indecency later -- react to that too, and on its own terms?
        Answer:  Because your intent is propaganda rather than reasoned discourse.
        •  Well, he's sorta sayingnthat's a bad thing (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          He answers his own question no.  I've met Frum, and I think he's less about propaganda than when he was in the white house, otherwise he wouldn't spend so much time concern trolling his own side.

          The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

          by Loge on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 09:40:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I have seen this meme over and over again (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoldlady, eXtina

      trying to argue that Maher's comments about Palin, a professional pol, was wrong or that Shultz was  wrong when he made comments about another talking head.

      The operative word here is proportional and neither example is proportional to what Rush did.  If we must compare the crimes of one side of the aisle vs the other let us at least choose crimes which are proportional, so that we do not chide people who have been convicted of car theft when they criticize Jeffrey Dahmer or John Wayne Gace.  The acts are not proportionate.

      Here is Balloon Juice on the mea culpas from the LW

      •  Excellent point. n/t (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
      •  No, proportion is not the "operative word." (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Right thing to do, or wrong thing to do -- that's what's "operative."  

        Saying, "well, what I did was wrong, but he did something worse" is what my children used to say when they were caught doing the wrong thing.  As I told them, the adult thing to do is say, "I did the wrong thing."  Someone else's bad behavior does not excuse, or lessen, my bad behavior.  That's what the right is trying to do when, in response to Limbaugh, they point out bad behavior by Shultz or Maher.  

        "Proportion" is another world for trying to rationalize bad behavior.  

        Why is it so hard for people to say, using gender-based insults against women is wrong, no matter who does it?  If I do the wrong thing, the fact that somebody else does it, or somebody else does it more, does not lessen my transgression.  

  •  Frum... (5+ / 0-)

    ..needs to realize liberals, as compared to right wingers,  do not hold their media personalities in high esteem.

    Let's see:

      Rachel Maddow = liberal community does not watch her show enough to pull her ratings out of the toilet.  

     Jon Stewart =  creates 10 minute skits around the most egregious right wing personalities, then a week later has them on his show, where he proceeds to kiss their asses.  Therefore can't be taken seriously.

    Michael Moore = has scattered liberal following, but not taken serious enough to mount an organizational liberal voice.  For whatever reason, is hated by Jon Stewart.

     Keith Olbermann = was a top liberal bellwether during the Iraq war.  Now attached to a novelty station where he doesn't show up for work 65% of the time.

    Bill Maher = shock jock with a TV show.  A clever kook.  

    Thom Hartmann = the one person deserving of a serious liberal following, but toils away on a TV station owned by Russia.

    There is no liberal equivalent to Rush Limbaugh.

    And no liberal is going to tell the aforementioned to pipe down because, frankly, none of the aforementioned are  held in the highest regard by the liberal community.

    When Fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in excess body fat and carrying a misspelled sign.

    by wyvern on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 08:14:17 AM PST

  •  There's no "Limbaugh for the Left" out there (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoldlady, nellgwen, eXtina

    because there's no "wall of sound" on the left.
    We're diverse.

    LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 08:36:48 AM PST

  •  No example of ignoring, silencing and shaming. nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nellgwen, eXtina
  •  Defense to behavior of ignore, silence, shame. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoldlady, nellgwen, eXtina

    I am just amazed. Republicans have to return to this foxification to defend their behavior. This whole issue was contrived for political gain, and then when a woman stands up with the facts, Republicans fall back on the typical behavior to ignore, silence and shame.

    Republicans, their base, and their megaphone have spent the last 5 or so days now trying to silence and shame Sandra Fluke. Not one of those examples by David Frum is comparable. Republicans gave us a panel of men and they have tried to silence women!

  •  I may be stupid. (3+ / 0-)

     I say that a lot here.
      But I heard something else. And if it was just Frumm, I wouldn't think this, but, I think they are looking for a way to cut Rush loose.
      They are seeking other options.
      Last night there was a diary on here about how rabid the people at RedState are over this. There was a link, and I went there. The diarist said, be careful it's vile and the comment are obscene.
      I went there and what I read was a rambling, right wing rant for sure, but it was a critique of Rush. The diarist over there was no cheerleader. What I read offended my liberal sensibilities but nothing that I read has anything on our Saturday Hate Mail.
      And the comments also were very critical of what Rush did.
      One of them even said something to the effect that we lost this lets see what we can do down ticket and wait for 2016.
       So my take away from this is they are lawyering up for divorce.
      And divorces are messy.  

    "Well Mr. Santorum, it's just that you're an evil, boring, creepy, piece of cardboard." "You're not being very nice." "Have some soup."

    by nellgwen on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 10:13:08 AM PST

  •  I'd say that we do a pretty good job policing (3+ / 0-)

    ourselves.  Everybody condemned Bill Clinton for his indiscretions (even though we didn't feel impeachment was called for), we got Weiner to resign, Durbin had to apologize for his remarks about Bush=Hitler a few years ago in the Senate.  Move was repudiated over their "Betrayus" remarks........................Have there been any liberals/left-wing/Democrats saying something as derogatory as Limbaugh does (on a pretty normal basis, actually) whom haven't been held accountable somehow?  Frum is lying through his teeth IMHO

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