2007/10/04

Update on Limbaugh & Free Speech

On Sept 26, Rush Limbaugh insulted hundreds of thousands of soldiers and veterans by suggesting that anyone who opposed the Iraq War was a "phony soldier." Since then, the feud between the left blogosphere and Limbaugh has grown in noise and intensity with Melanie Morgag, a talk-show radio host, referring to Greg Sargent's blog "The Horses Mouth" as "The Horses Ass" and otherwise screaming at him; Glenn Beck took off on Limbaugh's selective editing (Limbaugh left out 1 minute & 35 seconds of his comment) of what he had said and lied on the air to soften Limaugh's comments; VoteVets.org has tried to place an ad on Limbaugh's hometown radio station only to be told that Limbaugh's fans wouldn't like that exercise of free speech on their station.
This last incident raises important free speech questions. There's no question that the VoteVets ad is hostile towards Limbaugh and that Limbaugh's listeners might be offended by it, but the speaker in the ad was personally attacked by Limbaugh as being mentally incompetent to have an opinion on the issue he was speaking on. If VoteVets are paying for the ad (They are) and the ad is entirely true (The rejection letter makes no mention of the ad's truthfulness, only that the ad "...would only conflict with the listeners who have chosen to listen to Rush...") then it's not at all clear why the ad is unacceptable in a democracy that purportedly, allegedly takes free speech seriously. Free speech doesn't just mean one gets to say whatever one pleases. It also means that people have a right to respond when attacked. And that's precisely what VoteVets are trying to do.
I searched the Philadelphia Inquirer's news section and the last time the "Inky" mentioned this fight was way back on the 29th. I recommend we write them and ask why.

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