This article first appeared on this blog on June 16th, 2009, under the title
"The Bum's Rush":
"Okay. So Letterman made another feeble apology to Sarah Palin.
And whattya know?
People are now gathered around his theatre with picket signs calling for him to be fired.
Over a joke that hurt no one.
So it didn't even work.
The irony here is that there are people on the air who have said far worse, and the effects of what they have said are so much worse, that a good case can be made that they should be removed from the airwaves.
I've usually been amused by the notion of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly, with their audiences becoming more and more fragmented, causing them to become more and more shrill, if such a thing is possible.
Watching them become a daily embarrassment to the Republican Party has provided even more fun.
But as much as I've enjoyed the Carnival, I'm afraid that it's time for something to be done.
Something that in many peoples eyes might infringe on the First Amendment.
But there's nothing in the First Amendment about the right to be on TV or the radio.
Both Limbaugh and O'Reilly have seriously gotten into what can very reasonably be called "inciting violence".
Limbaugh, with his daily hatespeak about how he hope Obama fails: Limbaugh preaches to the people with the guns.
What better way for Obama to fail than by getting himself assassinated?
Does anyone really think that this is beyond the scope of Limbaugh's more passionate audience members?
O'Reilly providing information on how to find the surviving abortion doctors:I can't imagine why. Can you?
These actions themselves bespeak treason.
I don't know if it goes that far legally, but I know they're walking the tightrope.
So let's give them the benefit of the doubt. It's not treason.
But it's definitely incitement to violence.
So we don't arrest them.And yes, there's freedom of speech, which ends with the classical example of Shouting "Fire" in a crowded movie theater when there isn't one.
What Limbaugh and O'Reilly are doing, to me, goes over that line.
Therefore neither of them is owed a place on the public airwaves, no matter how popular they are.
There's such a thing as the FCC.They issue the licenses.
The FCC, if it chose to, could revoke the licenses of any station that carried Limbaugh or O'Reilly on the basis that they are inciting violence.
The two of them could then concentrate their efforts on their websites.
This might cut down on their influence, because it would require their audiences to read.
And go try and build an audience on webcasts alone.
I, for one, do not want to see any more people get shot at Holocaust Museums, or any more abortion doctors get killed.
Limbaugh is offering up the propaganda that this was caused by the liberals, but if you don't think that Limbaugh and O'Reilly, however indirectly, had a hand in those events, I would like to offer up for sale to you my 51% interest in the Brooklyn Bridge.
It would be difficult, and certainly out-of -character for President Obama to commandeer any effort to influence the FCC.
But there are plenty of political types (Senator Schumer?) who can certainly carry this ball and run with it.
Limbaugh and O'Reilly have outlived their dubious entertainment value.
There's nothing "amusing" about them any more.
On any level.
They are no longer "entertainers".They are rabble-rousers.
A responsible society must find a way to at least discourage the rabble from being roused."
Yeah. And those things on Sarah Palin's map weren't Rifle Crosshairs.
And there's no humility about it. Perfect.
Because SHE was the victim here.
It was all about her. Not the people who got shot.
She's at least as dangerous as Limbaugh and O'Reilly.
Because her followers are that much more rabid about her.
Welcome to hard times.
I hope I'm wrong about this one too.
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- mark rothman
- Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."