Rush Limbaugh is easily one of the most controversial figures in American politics. President Obama has told us not to listen to his opinions but, oddly enough, he continues to be wildly successful as a radio talk-show host.
Limbaugh recently made the news for more than his political views, however. He joined a group looking to buy the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, (in an effort to keep them in his home state of Missouri) and a firestorm of controversy erupted over his bid. Because of his political stance, (and alleged racist comments, which have now been shown to be falsely attributed to him) Limbaugh was edged out of his attempt at partial ownership of an NFL team.
In the common wisdom of today, this news should bring liberals great joy and conservatives should be fuming. But I have a different opinion. I think it doesn’t really matter where you stand on Rush Limbaugh and his political views – this large-scale bullying should be infuriating to anyone who still believes in free speech in the U.S.
Big Hollywood writer John Ziegler put it this way: “Quite simply, what is happening to Rush is beyond outrageous and frankly dangerous to the property and free speech rights of all Americans. This is so obvious that even Keith Olbermann (whose own appearance on Sunday night NFL telecasts should be seriously questioned) has somewhat supported Rush’s position here…. Folks, this is a huge deal. If Rush Limbaugh is not even allowed to be considered to be a minority owner of a property where his primary intent to help the community where he grew up, an incredibly dangerous precedent will have been set and the narrative that conservatism is synonymous with racist will be further cemented in the public consciousness.”
Another Big Hollywood writer, Stage Right, points out the hypocrisy of not allowing a Conservative entertainer to have a minority NFL team ownership, when other NFL owners use the “N-word” and crassly flaunt sexual conquests. (Yeah, Fergie and J.Lo, I’m looking at you.)
For more on NFL hypocrisy on this issue, click here.
Fox News reports that Limbaugh may have grounds for a libel lawsuit, although most analysts doubt that he would go for it. In all honesty, I hope he doesn’t get embroiled in a legal battle, but I do hope that this incident awakens us all. We live in an age where our political stance can threaten our prosperity and where speech is getting less free by the day.
Rush Limbaugh has some strong opinions, but does that mean that we can’t even watch football with someone who feels differently about politics than we do? Never mind the NFL – who are we becoming as a nation if we can’t stand up to a little healthy debate, but just muscle out those we don’t agree with?