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The Bad Ends Meet

Someone once said that if you go far enough on the political spectrum to either the right or the left, you’ll get to the same place.

That may explain why Bill Maher tweeted today that liberals should accept Rush Limbaugh’s apology for his “insulting choice of words” when he called Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute”.

Another interpretation is that Maher got burned late last year when he tweeted something insulting about Tim Tebow, and conservatives called for a boycott. Maher just wants to make sure he can make insulting remarks in the future without sponsor reprisals.

I disagree.

Personally, I’m against false personal attacks on private citizens, because it stifles free speech. Would Fluke ever have testified if she had known in advance that she would face a demeaning and slanderous personal attack? I’m a little less upset about attacks on politicians and celebrities (including football stars), since they are public figures who benefit from publicity (and even bad publicity is good).

People like Maher and Limbaugh get attention and publicity for making rude remarks about people. But there has to be a limit.

UPDATE: Now this is an apology!



  1. Falkelord wrote:

    Until you realize they’re both doing it so they don’t lose viewers. That bad publicity isn’t going to boost their ratings, especially if they’re boycotted.

    tl;dr they don’t give a fuck about free speech, it’s all about the money.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  2. Falkelord wrote:

    And if you need proof of that theory, look at Michael Richards.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink
  3. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I agree completely IK.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink
  4. TJ wrote:

    If there were actually an apology to accept, I would consider it, but “insulting choice of words” does not cover the vile slander that Rush piled upon this woman. So he apologized for “slut” and “prostitute”. What about everything else he said many many times.
    “She [Fluke] wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.”

    It’s insulting in its stupidity and falseness before you even consider that it was hurled towards a private citizen whose only crime was voicing the alternate viewpoint to Rush’s own before Congress.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Permalink
  5. Iron Knee wrote:

    TJ, I almost said something like that in the original post. You know “I’d accept an apology from Limbaugh if found it possible to actually say a real one”, but that seemed almost petty.

    But I agree that claiming what Limbaugh said is the same as what Maher tweeted is a false equivalence. Both because Maher’s comment was directed at a public figure, and because what Limbaugh said (repeatedly) was far worse a personal attack than what Maher said.

    However, I’m willing to admit that much of what Maher says makes me uncomfortable, so I will not say that what Limbaugh did was wrong, while what Maher wrote was ok. Both were unacceptable.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink
  6. TJ wrote:

    I’m not really aware of the Maher comment in question, so I can’t compare. I do know that Rush, who is (as Jon Stewart put it) “a bad person”, has not even begun to apologize yet. He went on for at least 3 days talking about how much sex she has and everything else. Continuing for 2 days after the initial outcry, after a sensible person would have realized that they made a mistake and at least shut up about it. And after that when he started losing money, he made about the slimmest “apology” that he could possibly have made. But that isn’t even what I care about; that’s an apology that Ms. Fluke should demand and receive. I want an apology for the idiot talking about private healthcare coverage as if it’s taxpayer money. I want an apology because he moronically equated taking birth control with “having so much sex.” Because those lies and all the others he spewed(s) create this nonsense public debate on a topic that was settled 50 years ago, wasting everyone’s time. Because he does this all the time and causes nothing but problems. Because he’s not just an idiot talking out of his butt, but a calculating pathological liar who knows full well that the things he is saying aren’t true but will be believed by his followers anyway. The conservative viewpoint wouldn’t be such a bad thing in this country if it started from a reasonable, factual basis – but unfortunately Rush and his compatriots help to make sure that doesn’t happen.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink
  7. TJ wrote:

    Sorry about the long paragraph. Got a little worked up…

    Wanted to add that Bill Maher’s “Also hate intimidation by sponsor pullout” is something else that I vehemently disagree with. Sponsor pullout is the only thing that Rush is actually going to recognize as a consequence for his actions. Rush has free speech and I have no problem with him being allowed to say what he wants. He does not have freedom from consequences for his speech. He does not have a right to be on the air nor a right to have advertisers regardless of his actions. He said something that the public and advertisers decided was worthy of punishment. That is not a limit on his rights nor is it “intimidation.” It’s a consequence.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink
  8. John wrote:

    Yes, I think there is an important difference between a powerful person attacking a relatively powerless person (Rush attacking Sandra Fluke) and the opposite (Bill Maher attacking Sarah Palin, for instance). But still there are certain words you should never use.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  9. Patricia wrote:

    I recommend that you all go to Politifact:
    Read the speech that generated what Limbaugh riffed on for several days and find any similarity in what this speech was about and what he said it was about. It changed my mind about just how “off” his remarks were.

    Thank you IK for posting this latest item.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink
  10. Bard wrote:

    I’ve never liked Maher, He makes good points, but his condescending attitude destroys anything he says. He’s singing to the choir, and not actually trying to change things.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink
  11. Don wrote:

    Patricia, thanks for posting the link. I must point out, though, that, unless I missed it, she doesn’t once mention that access to and use of birth control does prevent pregnancy in most cases and this, in and of itself, can prevent additional medical issues, the treatment of which can cost hundreds of times the cost of the birth control pills that very well might of prevented an undesired pregnancy.

    Bard, I agree fully although, on occasion, I do watch his show.

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Permalink
  12. Dan wrote:

    I checked out the linked “update” As for a “real apology” are you referring to the last paragraph? What I read were attacks on Democrats and this little remark- “The point… it’s not our business what goes on in the bedroom. And by the bedroom, I mean my bedroom. And perhaps Newt Gingrich’s bedroom… Everyone else’s bedroom is fair game. Especially Ms. Fluke’s.” After that it sounds like he’s whining about being a victim – as if he were the victim here. No, not really an apology, just playing the martyr.

    Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink
  13. RK wrote:

    There can be no real apology. Rush would never have apologized at all if he weren’t losing his backers. If it were sincere, he would have apologized the next day. It won’t happen.

    Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Permalink
  14. Iron Knee wrote:

    Dan, that “real apology” in Vanity Fair was a satire, pretending to be Rush. That’s why the article had a big red “Humor” label near the top.

    Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Permalink
  15. drew wrote:

    I found it amusing that Maher claims that “he apologized, liberals looking bad not accepting.” Although one could see how he might mistake Rush’s words for an actual apology because as far as I am aware, that’s more of an apology than Maher has ever given anyone that he has insulted.

    When it comes down to it, the two are far more similar than they are different, really. Sure, they claim to subscribe to different political ideologies, but their politics is less important than finding who will pay them the most to say the most outrageous things they can get away with. So, as much as Maher “hates” to support Rush, in some ways he is the perfect ally.

    Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Permalink
  16. il-08 wrote:

    Maher sent a 14 word tweet making fun of Tebow’s belief system, used real bad language.

    Rush spent 3 days savagely and personally attacking an individual for her beliefs.

    They are not anywhere near the same and this kind of false equivalency pushes us further apart.

    Friday, March 9, 2012 at 9:32 am | Permalink