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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Right Pounding the Panic Button Over Limbaugh

We start the day with yet another Rush Limbaugh post, mostly because the reaction of the rightwing blogosphere to his slut-shaming scandal is just so fascinatingly wrongheaded. I'm sure all of these people consider themselves "experts" in the field of politics, yet their approach to this problem of theirs is comprised entirely of weak spin, obviously false equivalencies, and laughable attempts to play the victim card. It's like a case study in how to completely blow crisis management. They're going to dig in, damn it, and if that doesn't work, they're going to dig in deeper.

A big part of the problem is that they're used to dealing with low-information types. It's easy to fool people who don't know anything but what you tell them, but it's quite another to convince everyone else. For example, the aptly-named Jammie Wearing Fool reported the shocking revelation that Sandra Fluke wasn't just some random Georgetown student grabbed off the street to testify before congress, she was an activist (I guess you're supposed to gasp here). There's a lot of rooting around in her past to uncover this secret information, but they could've saved themselves the trouble and just looked at the transcript of her testimony.

My name is Sandra Fluke, and I’m a third-year student at Georgetown Law School. I’m also a past-president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice or LSRJ. And I’d like to acknowledge my fellow LSRJ members and allies and all of the student activists with us and thank them so much for being here today.


We, as Georgetown LSRJ, are here today because we’re so grateful that this regulation implements the non-partisan medical advice of the Institute of Medicine.

Keep in mind that Jammie Wearing Fool reports this as some secret info that's been uncovered through relentless Googling. Yet these were literally the first words out of her mouth in her testimony. They also reveal that she's a 30 year-old and claims that previous reports put her at 23, but a trip through Google News shows that the only people mentioning her age as 23 are citing the JWF report. Why it would make any difference anyway isn't clear. But it appears to be an entirely made-up talking point. This argument is lame beyond words.


Another attempt at spin is the old "quick, look over there!" gambit. In this case, MSNBC host and liberal radio talker Ed Schultz once called Laura Ingraham a "slut" and nothing happened to him. It's unfair!

In responding to a Brent Bozell column, Dave Weigel handled that one nicely.

How pure does your hackery need to be to write something like "MSNBC suspended him for a week" and argue that Schultz faced no repercussions? Schultz apologized immediately and profusely for calling Ingraham a slut. She tweeted that she accepted the apology. (Disclosure: I'm an MSNBC contributor. I just focus on this example because it's amusing.) The comment -- which, we all agree, was pathetic -- was a pretty context-free insult. The nub of the Limbaugh/Fluke issue is: To what degree is the desire to allow insurers to avoid birth control mandates motivated by a blame-women-first view of promiscuity? And yet poke around the right wing punditsphere and you see a festival of point-missing.

And let's apply a little logic here, OK? Even if Schultz had done exactly the same thing and had gotten away with it, how does that make Limbaugh innocent? In fact, applying this line of reasoning means you're arguing that what Limbaugh did was as terrible as the left says it is. And anything else some leftie media type or blogger has said? The same thing. I'm always amazed at the nutjobs' inability to think an argument all the way through.

But (saving the best for last), my favorite fail comes from the unfortunate Robert Stacy McCain, who breathlessly reveals that Fluke once argued for the coverage of gender reassignment surgery. The best response I can think of is "so?"

Look, just because she's advocated something you disagree with doesn't "prove" she's wrong on an entirely different and unrelated point. It's like saying she couldn't possibly be a good driver, because you have it on good authority that she eats lemon pie -- and you hate lemon pie.

And it certainly doesn't prove that she really is a slut and a prostitute. Given the context here, this is an absolutely meaningless bit of information that McCain seems to believe is a big multi-megaton blow to her credibility. All it really is is a logical non sequitur.

As of this writing, Limbaugh has lost twenty advertisers. And he's bleeding them so fast that you have to put "as of this writing" into any report on that number, because there's a good chance you'll publish your post and the number will have grown. What you're doing guys? It's obviously not working.

I'm not sure I understand why you'd think it would.


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