As an American, an African American, a Christian and broadcast communications graduate, I am appalled at what has been coming from the mouth of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh recently.
Limbaugh’s usually acid-tongued rhetoric has been amped up to ear-splitting volume with his racially charged remarks toward now, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Majority Whip James Clyburn.
Both on his website and on his radio talk show, Limbaugh has assailed Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Clyburn with his parody of them as Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy’s characters in the movie “Driving Miss. Daisy.
In a comedic fashion that can only be described as racist, Limbaugh has dubbed the two in a scenario he calls “Driving Miss. Nancy.”
Limbaugh’s parody grew out of the rumor that Mr. Clyburn, due to Republicans taking over the majority in the new Congress next year, was in danger of losing his car and driver. From that Limbaugh suggested that with Ms. Pelosi possibly being the minority leader, she would have a car that Mr. Clyburn could drive and therefore he would be “Driving Miss. Nancy.”
These remarks go far beyond being wrong in the context of broadcast standards. Limbaugh’s comments are offensive, defaming, vulgar, insulting and drenched in racism.
Any decent American with any ounce of moral fiber should condemn these remarks for being far outside the boundaries of decency, good taste and human decorum.
Mr. Limbaugh (and I strain to call him that) has made some racially tinged statements in the past but these remarks make those look like compliments.
For years Rush Limbaugh has operated as a self-regulated broadcaster owing no allegiance to any standard of broadcasting. And his employers have allowed him to do so with immunity and impunity.
It is time for all of that to stop and we have the poster child of commentary to prove it.
As a young broadcasting major in college I was taught about the laws and regulations regarding broadcasting on public and some private airwaves. Although the advent of cable television and satellite radio has allowed some broadcasters to skirt FCC regulations to a degree, there is still in place decency standard that is universal.
All broadcasters who apply for a broadcasting license must agree to broadcast programs that are “in the public interest.” There is nothing in the public interest that can be found in Limbaugh’s racially motivated comments.
It is a bold slap in the face of the FCC to say “you can’t touch me.”
I think they should but first Limbaugh’s employers should touch him with a pink slip.
It is time to drop the hammer on Limbaugh and all those who are and would follow in his footsteps.
There is no room for over-the-top, racially laced commentary like Limbaugh’s on the airwaves. It is time for the FCC to send a clear message to all broadcasters that this kind of hyperbole will not be tolerated from any one at any time.
A few days after initially making the remarks, Limbaugh tried half-heartedly to clean up the mess he made but the effort was insincere and fell miles short of the apology that his comments demanded.
For too long Rush Limbaugh has been allowed to rant on his talk show saying whatever he wanted about whomever he wanted whenever he wanted without fear of retribution or punishment.
It is time for all of that to change.