Pundit Vitriol is Only Newsworthy When it Comes From the Right

I’m a conservative… and I have absolutely no trouble recognizing when a public figure from my side of the political spectrum makes a derogatory comment that goes too far.

Radio commentator, Rush Limbaugh recently made such a comment when he referred to Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and compared her to a prostitute on his radio program. Fluke is a law student at Georgetown University who testified before the U.S. Congress earlier in the week. Limbaugh’s overall point in discussing her testimony was absolutely valid. He objected to the absurdity and audacity of Fluke believing that she has the right to have other people flipping the dime for her personal use of contraceptives (which she estimates at $3,000). Still, his language did indeed cross the line, and that’s easy for me to accept.

The media has gone absolutely ballistic over Limbaugh’s comments. Sandra Fluke has been a featured guest on numerous national news broadcasts where she’s been given the opportunity to respond, Republican presidential candidates have been pressed to comment on the controversy, and President Obama even made a highly publicized phone call to Fluke to personally comfort her.

What I don’t understand is why liberals in the media don’t seem to get too bent out of shape when that same style of vitriol comes from their side of the aisle.

Case in point, Washington Post columnist Charles Lane weighed in on the controversy on FOX News’ Special Report with Bret Baier last Friday. A regular panelist on the show, Lane said this in response to Limbaugh’s comments:  “I’ve been covering politics and stuff in Washington for 30 years, and I can’t remember a more hateful outburst from a public figure that was less possible to justify by any political disagreement.” It was clear by Lane’s demeanor as he spoke that he absolutely believed what he was saying.

Now, Charles Lane seems like an intelligent man to me. He’s clearly in tune with the national news and current events. If he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be featured on Bret Baier’s show and he wouldn’t work as a columnist for the Washington Post.

So, it’s surprising to me that Lane never heard Bill Maher refer to Sarah Palin multiple times as a “c*nt”, endorse the rape of Elisabeth Hasselbeck, and wish death upon Glenn Beck. It’s surprising to me that he never heard MSNBC’s Ed Schultz call Laura Ingraham a “slut” or Keith Olbermann call Michelle Malkin a “big mashed up bag of meat with lipstick.” It’s surprising to me that he never heard Larry Flynt call Sarah Palin’s son with Down Syndrome a “brain dead vegetable”, or heard of the The Family Guy episode where the same child was mocked for being the born the way he was. It’s surprising to me that he never heard of the Playboy columnist who wrote about the top ten conservative women he’d like to “hate-f*ck”. It’s surprising to me that he never read of Newsweek’s Andrew Sullivan writing that he had an orgasm (he actually used a much cruder term) when reading a message from Sarah Palin.  I’m surprised that he never heard Rage Against The Machine front man, Zack de la Rocha say that “every last rich white” president from Truman to Bush “should be hung, and tried, and shot.”  It’s surprising to me that he never heard hundreds of high profile media pundits refer to members of the Tea Party as “racists” or “terrorists” and compare George W. Bush to Hitler. There’s nearly an endless list of this stuff, and these examples aren’t from the last 30 years… They’re just from the last few.

Let me make it clear that my point isn’t that two wrongs make a right. On the contrary. I think what Limbaugh said was reprehensible and I’m glad he apologized for the language he used.

My point is that when it comes to the liberal media, vitriol doesn’t seem quite that bad or particularly memorable when it’s being used against people they happen not to like. That’s why when Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter makes a provocative statement it becomes national news. We see it discussed on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The View, the national evening newscasts, The Tonight Show, The Late Show, and on many more outlets.  Prominent Republicans are called on to condemn the rhetoric, and if they don’t, they’re labeled as panderers and cowards. Yet, when Bill Maher, the MSNBC hosts, or any one of the rest of usual suspects from the professional left does the same thing, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll only hear about it on FOX News. And prominent Democrats are never called upon for comment. Why is that? Are these people any less of advocates for the Democrats than Limbaugh and Coulter are for the Republicans? Absolutely not. Yet, the notion that you’ll hear a reporter ask President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, or Harry Reid to condemn something Bill Maher says is unfathomable.

Bernie Goldberg often says that expecting the liberal media to recognize their personal biases is like expecting a fish to know it’s wet. I can’t think of a better provable example of this than when it comes to partisan vitriol.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration (Computer Information Systems), and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. He is the author of the Sean Coleman Thriller series, which is available through all major retailers. John lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
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  • Maherinator

    I think when answering Bill Maher we should fight fire with fire.  It is therefore my sincere hope that someone shoves a lit stick of dynamite into Mr. Maher’s rectum and laughs hysterically when it explodes, sending big gloppy bits of liberal flesh all over the room.

  • Rob

    I was at the show when Zack De La Rocha said what he did.  There is also lots of video online.  He was talking about applying the Nuremberg laws for war crimes to American presidents since Truman.  He said, if those laws were applied, they 
    “WOULD have been hung to death and shot. And this current administration is no different (W Bush) They should be hung and tried and shot.”  
    That’s a pretty important distinction, don’t you think? That quote is totally taken out of context.  Get your facts straight.  You should correct this immediately. 

  • James Mason II

    Of course Rush Limbaugh is the public voice of the Republican Party majority. Since our GOP establishment and ruling elite abandoned that position because they are terrified of what the media may say. Rush is the highest respected for pointing out where the nation was heading and being dead on accurate which our GOP has not been. The creation of the Tea Party movement was for two main reasons, 1. was governments out of control spending and their failure to address and stop it and 2. The GOP’s ruling elite’s constantly moving the party leftward and becoming more socialist.
    Rush recognized that too and the Tea Party movement is responsible for helping to reverse that leftward movement for awhile anyway.

    I am constantly upset when Republican political pundits try to portray Rush as only an entertainer when the truth is so obvious. The majority of the Republican Party which is outside of the Beltway feel way differently than those inside the beltway who are in minority, but just are the ruling elite that is quickly becoming threatened by the Tea Party movement and true conservatives.
    The way to expose those GOP’rs against Rush being the vocal leader of the Republican Party is to read their articles and point out when they make the obvious mistake that Rush isn’t or shouldn’t be the that voice of the Republican Party. As we pointed out, Rush is that leader even if he doesn’t hold an elected office, he has been the most principled unelected leader that the Republican party has had these last 23 years. He refuses to relay information he knows to be false and his accuracy for predicting what has and will happen cannot be approached. He has so much credibility and so many dedicated followers, that he is the leader by acclimation.

    The leader by acclimation. Beloved acclimation I might add. That is something none of the elected GOP has at this time. What better way to appraise who is the true leader of the RepublicanParty? I have yet to see Rush’s detractors show any grading scale other than make ridiculous claims that he isn’t.

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  • Wil Burns

    Big difference, Bill Maher is a comedian and Rush Limbaugh is the voice of the Republican Party!

    • John Daly

      Limbaugh is the voice of the Republican party? That’s nothing more than a DNC talking point from 2009.

      Think for yourself, man.

      • GeneJockey

        John, be serious. Your parallels are woefully flawed. Consider the depth of depravity in Limbaugh’s THREE DAY RANT. Not only did he call Fluke a slut and a prostitute, he said she was having so much sex she could hardly walk, that men were lined up around the block to have sex with her, and topped it all off by asking for videotapes of it. It was as vile an episode as one could imagine.

        And the response of the GOP Presidential candidates? Romney says, ‘I wouldn’t have used those words’, Santorum called it ‘absurd’, and Gingrich (typically) was ‘amazed’ that the media were focusing on it. Not one of them could bring himself to repudiate Rush. Why? Because of the power he wields on the Right. Ask Phil Gingrey about that.

        OTOH, the head of Obama’s Super Pac called Maher’s remarks vulgar and inappropriate. Maher wields no power similar to Limbaugh’s. Indeed NOBODY on the Left wields such power.

  • Heather

    Why would they not ask them about that? Rush holds an audience that dwarfs those you mentioned. B. Maher could only hope to have the influence R. Limbaugh has. I would suspect they (“the media”) realize that and do not give him (B. Maher) credit where it is not due. I would guess he is someone many, myself included, do not even consider when “politically influential person” comes to mind. He’s just a guy with loud, rude opinions that surprisingly still has an audience! He’s a political nobody! He’s a “comedian”.

    Is B. Maher wrong to degrade women as he does? Absolutely! It’s disgusting and weak-minded. It screams of his lack of confidence — and ego does not equal a feeling of true self worth.

    R. Limbaugh is quite the opposite. Again, he has influence and does wield that power freely. He’s not just a radio talk show host.

    I wish all the ugliness directed at women solely because they *are* women would stop! No matter what side it has & is coming from.



    • Glen Stambaugh

      Tommy, please use lower case and go easy on my eyes.

  • Mike Jackson

    Could it be possible that Mr. Lane has not bothered to watch Maher’s show? (Or has his head in the sand, etc.)

    • John Daly

      Being that Lane works for FOX News, one of the few media outlets that has actually publicized Maher’s vile rants, I’m pretty sure he has to have… a long with a good portion of the other examples I listed.

      • Mike Jackson

        That’s my thinking too. Are you familiar with selective amnesia?
        Another excellent article. I enjoy your work.

        • John Daly

          Thank you!

  • Paula

    Rush has used Viagra which is covered by his insurance. So I guess that means he wants the American public to pay for him to get it up? He’s never had kids and has been married four times. So NONE if his wives/girlfriends have ever contraception paid for by their insurance companies? So unless he is unbelievably good at the “rythm method” …something sounds a little fishy here??!!

    • John Daly

      Thanks for not bothering to read my column.

  • Kathie Ampela

    This is so true! What Rush said was really stupid and arrogant and I’m really pissed that he stooped to the level of sewer rat Maher but where is the liberal outrage over the endless list of hateful, disgusting attacks on conservatives? Fox News may not be perfect and has it’s moments of conservative bias, but what would we do without them? These disgusting hypocrites on the other side would have complete control..we would have no voice at all!

  • SmoakRd

    Conspiracy theory, skeptical, cynical, or just pondering, many wonder what is going on. This topic has momentarily overtaken the election. I have to wonder why George Stephanopoulos asked an off-the-wall question. Can someone be this conniving??? Is it orchestrated??? DAMN SKIPPY.

  • Jeff

    I can tell you why the left is so hypocritical…its because they respond with emotion and very little logic. They have to support their positions by attacking and insulting. They don’t even realize this hypocritical emotional response because arguing the real issue of forcing business to sell a product or forcing individuals to buy a product is a losing argument. They have to deflect and attack…unfortunately they have the bully pulpit.

    Rush was wrong what he said but right that he stooped the the level the Bill Mahers and the rest of the hypocrites.

    Rush after his apology should read Bernie’s brilliant article to his audience. Romney should do the same.

    Bernie, please call Rush!

    • Heather

      “I can tell you why the left is so hypocritical…its because they respond with emotion and very little logic. They have to support their positions by attacking and insulting.”

      R. Limbaugh did just that very thing when he called her names & suggested she film herself, and so on. Emotion and rudeness is not a political issue but rather a one of character.

      • John Daly

        No doubt about it… Rush sunk to the level of the routine rhetoric coming from left-wing pundits. He was wrong in doing so.