What happened to class, decorum and good taste? What happened to tolerance, open minds and productive debate? When it comes to politically-steeped broadcast talk, it seems quite often that all of those things have long flown out the window.
There is no debating that Rush Limbaugh crossed the line last week when he referred to a Georgetown University law student testifying before lawmakers in Washington as a “slut” and “prostitute” during his nationally syndicated radio show. Amidst an initial backlash, Limbaugh stood by his comments.
Fair and balanced? Intelligent discourse? Hardly – and it is unfortunate. Broadcasters such as Rush Limbaugh are afforded a rare and far-reaching platform from which they should be stimulating thought and inviting conversation. Instead, all too often they shirk that responsibility in favor of dialogue that is divisive, foul and mean. Is it any wonder our country seems as divided as ever – from the streets of our hometowns to the partisan halls of Congress?
Unfortunately it is all about ratings and, ultimately money. Say something controversial and you are assured front page headlines and a lead story in the six-o’clock news. It’s not surprising then that only after several major advertisers of his show pulled their spots did Limbaugh relent and issue an apology.
Tomorrow, though, will be another day with, no doubt, a ratings spike as the curious tune in to hear more on the firestorm. Advertisers will soon return. Will there be lessons learned? A move by such show hosts toward more tolerance of thought and actions other than their own? What do you think? Let’s just hope that as a society as a whole we never become immune to venom spewed.