MCCAIN AUDIO: “I think that Limbaugh may be right if he were standing on a soapbox, but he is using a spectrum that belongs to the American people, and when he or his organization gets the right to use that spectrum, they say they’ll act in the public interest.”
RUSH: Well, there you go. This is the guy, campaign finance reform, “Congress shall make no law abridging the right of the people” to engage in speech, and they did. Congress did — and I’m still not sure about this guy’s question. “Not everyone here is convinced” of what? Guy says, “…even though talk radio giant Rush Limbaugh has said he doesn’t want the government telling broadcasters what to put on the air, not everyone here is convinced.” Convinced of what? Who? Convinced that I believe it, or convinced the that had government should stay out of it? I guess it’s the latter given the sound bite here from McCain.
The keywords here are “they say they’ll act in the public interest.” Well, who gets to define that? See, that’s the problem. If you let the elected political class define the public interest, it’s going to change over the course of days, weeks, months, years and so forth and the public interest is going to be whatever those people say it is ? and then speech isn’t free. I realize we’re here talking about indecency versus political speech, but it doesn’t take… All you’ve got to do is go down the road and start policing “indecency.”
One thing: I’m okay with the market. Stress this again. Nobody has “a right to be heard.” People confuse the right to free speech with the right to be heard. Nobody has to listen to you. Nobody has to sit there and listen to you no matter where you’re saying anything. You can shout it in the middle of Times Square. You can get on the radio. Nobody has to listen to what you’re saying. That’s where the libs are all screwed up here and so much. They think freedom of speech means people have to listen to them. But you don’t.
But at the same time, you know, if you are going to say, “Well, if a company or an employer says, ‘I don’t want that kind of talk…'” It happens all the time! There are advertisers who don’t want to associate with certain kinds of programming. It’s not censorship. It’s a business decision. There are certain kinds of broadcasters that don’t want certain broadcasting associated with their company. So they don’t allow it, and if it happens, they fine it or get rid of it or fire it or what have you. That’s a far different thing than the government sitting there and deciding what’s “allowed” and with Senator McCain here talking about “public interest” and the government deciding what’s allowed ? especially in indecency.
Yeah, there are regulations and standards on that, but if that just whets people’s appetite for more, and then all of a sudden you get people in power who don’t like to hear themselves criticized and they define “the public interest” as themselves not being criticized, then voila! We’ve already allowed the slippery slope to go down, to be traveled if we allow government to start setting any kind of speech standards like this. It really is a slippery slope, and you can see where Senator McCain’s comment that there are plenty of elected officials who would welcome the responsibility of defining the public interest.
You know, ladies and gentlemen, there’s not a whole lot that’s said about me that upsets me. There is some stuff said about me that makes me scratch my head and get curious. You know, ever since this latest indecency flap involving Howard Stern came up, my comments warning against government censorship have been greeted throughout the mainstream media with shock, awe and surprise, and I’m sitting here; I am in total disbelief at this. Here’s just… I’ve seen this. It’s been happening all weekend.
“An unlikely ally, Rush Limbaugh…” blah, blah, blah, blah. “A surprising comment from the conservative corner, Rush Limbaugh…” blah, blah, blah, blah. “In an unbelievable show of support, Rush Limbaugh…” blah. What’s unbelievable? What is surprising. What is shocking about me believing in free speech? I’m a conservative! I believe in the Constitution. The First Amendment is the foundation of this program and my life. The foundation of it. I mean, I’m in the free speech business.
Why in the world are these dunderheads surprised when I want to defend the foundation on which my whole life is based — at least my career? I do nothing but speak of the Constitution on this program. I do nothing but warn of its erosion. Now, it must be… [interruption] Okay, what is it, Mr. Snerdly, all-knowing everything in there, Mr. Milk Dud head? What is it? Hm-hm, hm-hm, hm-hm, hm-hm. Oh, it can. What? They think I would use it as an opportunity to take a cheap shot at Stern? Why?
You know, but it makes – you know what it tells me? It tells me… You know what I am, folks? I’m going to tell what you I’ve become. I am not a human being to these people. I am an icon. I am a symbol. I today represent all of the evils these people consider conservatism to be. I am not a human being. I don’t have feelings; I don’t suffer pain; I don’t suffer enjoyment; I don’t have happiness. I am just an icon. I get blamed for things other people say, when I don’t say them.
It happened last week about Teresa Heinz. I didn’t even say it, but she thinks I did because I am the voice of conservatism. I have become the embodiment of what these people hate and despise, but more importantly fear. And so when I say something that goes against the grain of their image of me as an icon, they are shocked. They can’t believe it. Now, on this one. Here I just got this example, and it’s from someplace in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and you would have never heard about it if I’m not going to tell you about it.
It’s some little web thing called Mlive.com. It’s Kalamazoo Gazette, and let’s face it most of you people do not read the Kalamazoo Gazette. But it says here: Shemina, shemina, shemina: ‘The FCC and Congress spurred to action after last month’s infamous Super Bowl halftime show is taking some criticism from of all people conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh who condemned government efforts to censor radio.’ Well, for Christ’s… Sorry. [Sigh] I’m sorry, folks. My emotions got… I meant to saying, ‘for crying out loud.’ This is what they’re going to be saying at the Oscars, by the way, next year, ‘For Christ’s sake…’
Ladies and gentlemen, for crying out loud, I am in the business of free speech. I speak about it all the time. I have opposed campaign finance reform just like everybody else in the media should have. I’ve opposed all of these restrictions on political speech, and yet these people find it surprising “from of all people conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh”? Then the next paragraph: “Although some have considered Limbaugh’s show political smut, we as believers in the right to free speech defend his right to…” Well, thank you, Kalamazoo Gazette. Thank you, you little waifs, you little orcs, for granting me the right to speak. Who do you think you are?
Let me read you just one more little blurb from whatever this is, Kalamazoo Live: “Although some have considered Limbaugh’s show political smut, we at the Kalamazoo Gazette as believers in the right to free speech, defend his right to speak.” Thank you. I can count on you people in Kalamazoo to guarantee this. “And we highly doubt that if Democrats were to regain control of the White House or Congress or both, that Limbaugh would find himself on the censored list.”
These people have… That’s not the point! It’s not that they’re going to be censoring anybody. It’s called “the Fairness Doctrine.” The Fairness Doctrine accomplishes censorship without ever doing it. Fairness Doctrine, that’s what opened this whole business up when Reagan got rid of the Fairness Doctrine in ’87, ’86 or whatever. Fairness Doctrine basically makes local radio station management fearful of controversy, and they just don’t put it on, either side, and it’s back to sewage problems in the early 2000s and carrot cake recipes for the holidays. That’s what your talk radio would be like if the Fairness Doctrine comes back. So no, it wouldn’t be censorship. It’s the Democrats that are talking about doing it.