It Doesn't Matter if "Both Sides Do It"

Over at The Daily Beast, Kirsten Powers responds to liberal furor over Rush Limbaugh with a little strawmanning:

Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi, and Ed Schultz have been waging it for years with their misogynist outbursts. There have been boycotts by people on the left who are outraged that these guys still have jobs. Oh, wait. Sorry, that never happened.

Boycotts are reserved for people on the right like Rush Limbaugh, who finally apologized Saturday for calling a 30-year-old Georgetown Law student, Sandra Fluke, a “slut” after she testified before congress about contraception.

But if Limbaugh’s actions demand a boycott—and they do—then what about the army of swine on the left?

None of Rush Limbaugh’s critics have argued that there isn’t any misogyny on the left, nor have they argued that it shouldn’t be confronted. But with the possible exception of Chris Matthews, none of the people cited by Powers have anywhere near the reach and influence of Limbaugh, who commands 20 million listeners and can—if he chooses—veto the political agenda of a major political party. Democrats might like Ed Schultz, but they aren’t under any pressure to kowtow to his demands, or apologize for transgressions.

Of course, the question of whether there is a liberal equivalent to Limbaugh is immaterial to the controversy. Limbaugh’s attacks don’t become less bad if liberals are also guilty of sexism—the left could be a cesspool of misogyny, and Limbaugh’s vitriol would still be wrong and offensive. Powers’ misguided quest to prove that “both sides do it” is a testament to what happens when your moral vision is clouded by the desire to be right. On this score, David Frum has wise words:

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?

That seems like a better strategy than pointing fingers and hoping to get off the hook.


Generally speaking, when you hear about a sponsor backlash against somebody like Limbaugh over "a statement", you'll find that the sponsors are less concerned with the specific statement (often not much different from what the speaker has said on a regular, prior basis) as they are with having an acceptable excuse for doing what they have long wanted to do. When it makes economic sense for the sponsor, odious speech gets sponsored. But if the speaker has the power to point to an individual sponsor who, perhaps for 100% legitimate economic reasons, wants to pull its ads, and declare "They are caving in to P.C. speech and those who want to silence me," they're apt to wait until there's collective movement and they can be one of many.

Oh please aaronl! Who made you an expert in economic boycotts? Please link to any proof for your blustery statements. The boycott of Rush has already cost the companies that dropped him thousands of customers - and The American Spectator will keep you up to date. They will return once they realize the left's bluster is a paper tiger. Carbonite is already on shaky financial ground and will be gone long before Rush is. Many more sponsors will line up to advertise to 20 million weekly listeners. The backlash against the "in the tank for Obama" media is just beginning - Breitbart may have passed away but his death and the piling on of Rush has awakened a sleeping giant...

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