Al Sharpton appeared on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" Monday night to once again demand that the federal government censor Rush Limbaugh. As he always does, Sharpton couched his clear political agenda in the language of racial righteousness. He cited Rush Limbaugh's satirical mocking of Chinese president Hu Jintao as evidence of "why we must have standards" for radio and television broadcasters.
Of course Sharpton isn't actually concerned about "civility" or "standards" for broadcasters. But this is a golden opportunity for him to advance his "silence Rush Limbaugh" campaign (video below the fold).
If Sharpton were actually concerned with radio hosts making incendiary remarks, he might have started by castigating the man interviewing him. Ed Shultz has, after all, wished for Dick Cheney's death and claimed conservatives want to kill Barack Obama, all on his nationally-syndicated radio talk show (these and other examples throughout this post drawn from the Media Research Center's special report on the "Real Radio Hatemongers").
Certainly if mocking the Chinese language is forbidden under Sharpton's new rules for radio broadcasters, wishing for the death of an American vice president would also be forbidden. But then Sharpton is only interested in silencing popular conservative talkers, not in beneficently - and non-ideologically - policing the airwaves.
If Sharpton were actually concerned about the tone of political radio talkers, he might've mentioned the psychotic Mike Malloy, who often calls for the deaths of people he doesn't like, such as Limbaugh himself:
I’m waiting for the day when I pick up the newspaper or click on the Internet and find that he’s choked to death on his own throat fat, or a great big wad of saliva or something, whatever. Go away, Limbaugh, you make me sick.
Malloy really does not like Rush Limbaugh. Here he is again wishing death on Rush:
I hope he keeps going, because that means he will soon croak. You know, like I’ve said, he will eventually choke to death on his own throat fat.
Did I mention Malloy wants Limbaugh dead?
I hope I’m alive when this, when this guy dies. I really do. He is so morbidly overweight. He smokes. He eats his Viagra and goes down to the Dominican Republic to bugger little boys. I just hope that I’m around when he croaks. I don’t know why, but I do.
And here's Malloy wishing Glenn Beck would kill himself:
I have a good news to report: Glenn Beck appears ever closer to suicide. I’m hoping that he does it on camera. Suicide is rampant in his family, and given his alcoholism and his tendencies towards self-destruction, I am only hoping that when Glenn Beck does put a gun to his head and pulls the trigger, that it’s on television, because somebody will capture it on YouTube and it will be the most popular little piece of video for months.
Or how about libtalker Montel Williams? He's also fond of wishing death on conservatives. His rhetorical targets have included Michele Bachmann:
So, Michele, slit your wrist! Go ahead! I mean, you know, why not? I mean, if you want to — or, you know, do us all a better thing. Move that knife up about two feet. I mean, start right at the collarbone.
And these are just the examples of radio hosts wishing death on others. The full extent of the vitriol these talkers spew over the broadcast airwaves is far deeper than just these morbid excerpts - Republicans are responsible for 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing, they want all poor people and minorities to die, they enjoy eating babies, etc.
So why hasn't Sharpton gone after these talkers? Because doing so would not advance his leftist political agenda. He is far less interested in "civil" airwaves than he is in liberal (or at least less conservative) ones. If that means censorship on the bogus grounds that Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or any other commentator is uniquely "uncivil," than so be it. Truth must be subordinated to the agenda.
I know that will seem obvious to most people who read this, but it's worth reiterating, just in case some nutty regulator decides to co-opt Sharpton's plan.