Cowardly Action: The NFL’s Repudiation of Rush Limbaugh

The Wall Street Journal hits the proverbial nail on the head:

What happened here, and is happening elsewhere in American life, is that Mr. Limbaugh’s outspoken political conservatism is being deemed sufficient reason to ostracize him from polite society. By contrast, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, who fires off his own brand of high-velocity, left-wing political commentary but lacks Mr. Limbaugh’s sense of humor, appears weekly as co-host of NBC’s “Football Night in America.” We haven’t heard anyone on the right say Mr. Olbermann’s nightly ad-hominem rants should disqualify him from hanging around the NFL. Al Franken made it all the way to the U.S. Senate on a river of political vitriol.

But Rush Limbaugh gets hung out to dry by someone of Roger Goodell’s establishment prominence, and barely a soul from that same fastidious establishment has the courage to step forward to criticize it.

Personally, I find Olbermann absolutely contemptible.  He and MSNBC are obliterated night after night by Fox News and that network’s lineup of conservative commentators.  Yet, we’re force-fed this third-rate talking head every Sunday night of the NFL season as part of the NBC sports team.  The NFL is fine with Olbermann slandering a former President of the United States and the second woman to be nominated for Vice President by a major party, among others.  There’s no doubt that Limbaugh is a controversial figure.  But holding a small ownership stake in one NFL franchise is not equivalent to being the face of the league.  Olbermann’s presence would worry me more if I were NFL commissioner.

This entire matter is about posturing.  The players association is using Limbaugh as leverage in the negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.  I don’t think that’s the whole story, however.  The NFL, as the above excerpt alludes to, doesn’t want to fight the mainstream media.  These people foam at the mouth when they hear the name “Rush.”  Not only have Limbaugh and others in conservative talk radio survived without the help of the media elite, but they’ve flourished.  Old media detests what right-wing talkers like Limbaugh, Hannity, and Levin stand for.  It’s as if the mainstream media is more about controlling the message than freedom of speech.  The problem for them is that they’re fighting a losing battle.  Technology has rendered relics like the New York Times and the major networks incapable of monopolizing the news.  Regrettably, the NFL lacks the intestinal fortitude to stand-up to the leftist blowhards inappropriately described as “mainstream.”  Although in the broad scheme of things, the NFL’s convenient application of its high standards doesn’t matter, because there’s real, significant demand for the products Rush Limbaugh and others are selling.


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