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Rush Limbaugh: Not the Only One with First Amendment Rights

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Rush Limbaugh does it again...  and of course it comes as no surprise. 

Limbaugh's Mug Shot by Public domain

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This time he targeted Sandra Fluke, the third year Georgetown Law student who was denied an opportunity to speak to a key all male Republican committee (headed by indicted car thief Darrel Issa ) about the need for women to have access to contraception.

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Rush raged that since Fluke wants to require employer based health insurance policies to cover birth control,    she is a "slut" and worse.  He somehow equates getting health coverage for birth control with getting paid to have sex, and then argues that Fluke wants taxpayers to pay her to have sex, and she should post videos of herself having sex so taxpayers will know what they are getting for their money.  Hmmn, what great "conservative" thinking that is. 

The taxpayer argument?  Tut, tut, tut.  You wonder if he really believes this stuff himself.  America's Anchorman, as Rush advertises himself, is again trying to scare people about a complete nonstarter.  But frightening people with misinformation is what he does, three hours a day, five days a week, to 20 million listeners across the country.  Whoring himself out with lies in order to gain ratings. 

This time, he is facing some pushback.  Groups across the country are urging a boycott of Limbaugh  The mattress giant Sleep Train has already pulled its ads in the wake of the Fluke comments, and the group is pressuring Pro Flowers to stop advertising as well.  The National Organization for Women is also calling on Clear Channel to lose Limbaugh.  These are good measures, but not good enough.

Rush targets women all the time (including yours truly,) but broadcasters like Clear Channel who put him on hundreds of stations nationwide and profit handsomely insist no matter how vile his comments, he enjoys "freedom of speech."  
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True.  But Clear Channel is effectively denying the rest of us OUR freedom of speech on our public airwaves, something which is expressly forbidden by the United States Supreme Court.   From RedLion Broadcasting v FCC, "The First Amendment does not protect private censorship by broadcasters who are licensed by the Government to use a scarce resource which is denied to others."

People like Sandra Fluke (and frankly anyone who has a non-right wing agenda,) are routinely denied access to the microphones on our public airwaves.  That is private censorship, and it needs to stop. It is bad for the individuals being unfairly attacked, it is bad for society, and it is bad for democracy.

It is past time for We the People to demand we ALL enjoy our first amendment rights on the radio airwaves which we own (and which the corporations only borrow.)


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Sue Wilson tells important stories which move politicians to act. The Emmy winning director of the media reform documentary "Broadcast Blues" and editor of, Sue recently founded the Media Action Center. Wilson was 1987's (more...)

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