Predictably, right wingers seek to excuse Limbaugh’s indefensible attack on Sandra Fluke. But there is no equivalency between Limbaugh’s insults and lies over the course of several days about this young woman and any corrosive comments by any media personality on the left. Limbaugh didn’t just call Sandra Fluke a slut and prostitute once. He did so repeatedly and demanded she produce sex tapes to pay him back for funding her contraceptive care. Which we established earlier was a lie. The contraceptive health care rule is not being funded by tax payers.
As for the similar distateful rhetoric being employed on the left, there’s no equivalence between one stray wrongful remark made by Maher, Shultz or Olbermann and Limbaugh’s sustained day’s long attack campaign of lies trashing Ms. Fluke and virtually painting all women who use birth control as whores. This was not one isolated remark made in the heat of emotion. It was a calculated and hurtful smear campaign. Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke 53 times. [Video compilation and transcript of Rush's remarks]
Moreover, “the left” didn’t ignore or defend the wrongful speech on their side. Even the Kos community condemned Bill Maher immediately. Similarly, the National Organization on Women slammed Maher for his vile rhetoric. Ed Shultz was immediately suspended by MSNBC whereas, Clear Channel is supporting Limbaugh’s hateful speech, for business reasons. Rush still has four years to go on his $400 million eight year contract. Besides, he makes them money. As for Keith — Olbermann who? He was dumped by MSNBC almost a year ago. He has no audience in comparison to Rush.
In contrast, the far right rallies around Rush and seeks to amplify his false and disgusting narrative. I can’t even quote Pam Geller who regularly appears on Fox. Her embellishment of Rush’s theme is too vulgar. Similarly, influential ultra-conservative bloggers Ace of Spades and Jawa Report are too profane to post in civil society. Even the California Republicans’ Communications Director tweeted in support of Rush’s sickening assault, which was completely predicated on vicious lies.
No leading voice of the left praised or promoted the wrongful speech of Maher, Shultz or Olbermann. Neither do the three combined have an audience that is at all comparable to Rush’s stated number of listeners. They are not feted or feared by the Democratic leadership. On the other hand, Rush is the putative leader of the Republican party. The Republican leadership kowtows to him, apologizing on bended knee for even the most minor offense to the all powerful Limbaugh. There’s no meaningful equivalence between the parties or the instances of unacceptable conduct.
Finally, Ed Shultz apologized immediately for an insult in which the offensive word wasn’t even really being used in a sexual context. In contrast, 61 year old Rush Limbaugh immediately sexualized his sustained toxic attacks on a woman young enough to be his daughter. He didn’t “apologize” until his major national advertisers started jumping ship. Not exactly the same at all.