Transmitting Hate

This morning I wrote a piece on the state of the bitter partisanship that has engulfed our political debate.  The freedom of expression is vital, and sometimes the rough and tumble is necessary, yet there is an imaginary line drawn in the sand, one that Rush Limbaugh crossed a very long time ago.

But what is the danger?  These are just people who have opinions and are expressing them freely under the rights granted the by the constitution.  To this, I agree, and feel there should be no governmental actions against such a thing.

But that is not to say that Rush’s daily diatribes are not without consequence.  The gravest danger is that people LISTEN to what he says, and believe it.  As mentioned in the original post, Limbaugh and those of his ilk are in their own minds infallible, and thusly, incapable of observing reality with a proper frame of mind.

Statistically speaking, it would be untrue to claim that Rush is wrong all of the time, but it is very much true that much of what he espouses is not fact, and what is worse, he has the inability to recognize this.

Thus his audience becomes not only uncritical of his words, but also follows them with a bloodthirsty zeal.

The other day, Brandon Friedman, the vice president of votevets.org, had gone on MSNBC’s countdown to provide an illustration of exactly what I’m talking about (Thinkprogress has a clip).

Since Friedman’s organization took up the battle against Rush Limbaugh’s disparaging “phony soldier” remarks, they have been inundated with invective filled hate mail.

Here are some of my personal favorites (posted at DailyKos).  Now, as you read these, I want you to keep one thing in mind, these are letters written to veterans of the US Military who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I just saw your ad on FOX news regarding Rush Limbaugh … Phony Soldier.

Get your facts straight you traitorous bunch of fucking cowards.
You let multiple Liberals slam our Country, Soldiers and President on a regular basis during a time of war, yet target one who supports all these, twist his words to suit your cowardly Socialist Liberal agenda and start a smear campaign to destroy his credibility.

I Know what he said and who he was referring to. Your organization has taken this out of context and aired a blatant lie.

I hope you get sued into oblivion for slander, defamation of character, false advertising, and all other offences available.

I have informed several departments of FOX news that I will be contacting their sponsors and boycotting their products if FOX airs your slimy ad again.
I will do this to ANY and ALL media outlets I see this crap on.

I suggest you all denounce your U.S. citizenship and get the hell out of this Country. Move to China or North Korea… Some place more suitable to your ilk.

(snip)

Subject: (no subject)

I have just read everything on your web site and I’m accusing you of telling untruths, lies and inuendo as truth.That despicable Wesley Clark’s comments about Rush Limbaugh’s comments on the radio were not accurate. Rush didn’t call every vet that disagreed with the war “a phony soldier” he called Jason Betts, who was “washed out” of the Army after only 44 days ” a phony soldier”.

It never matters to you Left wing liberal bastards about the truth, but it appears that the control of the future of this country is at stake and like it or not, we may have to resort to the same tactics as used back in 1860 when this country went to war with itself, North vs South, only this time it’s Conservative vs Liberal and I’m ready to join in as soon as the fireworks start.

Just keep up the constant lying and sooner or later it will catch up with you and all those in Move On.org and Media Matters will get what you so richly deserve.

(snip)

Dear VoteVets:

     I really feel sorry for you dupes. Rush Limbaugh has done more for service members than the whole gaggle of your organization. Although you are not phonies, you are being used. You are also wrong, wrong, wrong.

(snip)

Subject: U R an idiot!!

Aside from the fact that you have misquoted Rush, you are a pussy!  You get a brain damaged soldier to spout your tripe. A sane soldier would kick you butt. Do us all a favor and shoot yourself. Your are a waste of human flesh. What do you really think that these muslims just want to play nice. Why don’t you go to one these muslim countries and preach your crap and see how fast they kill your infidel butt.

Now, I have no qualms with the disagreement, what concerns me is the tone.  There is an unquestionable rabidity to it, and it is largely uninformed.  Some of these letters don’t even seem to recognize that they are actually writing military veterans. 

Nor am I of the mind that you have to be in the military or ex military to have a valid opinion on what is going on.  What is important, though, is that here you have people who are clearly arguing from a very Rush-centric view point, and they are doing it with an uncalled for level of hate.  They are wishing death upon these people.

And why?  Because they attack Rush Limbaugh?

I will, for once, not actually try to insult Rush, but let’s look at him for what he is.  He’s a political shock jock.  He’s never served in office, and he’s never served in the military.  His entire career has essentially been built on peddling his opinions in the free market of ideas.

He’s not saved lives.  He’s not invented any great technology to make our lives better.  He’s just a guy who got lucky enough to have people listen to what he has to say.  And for this man, people are willing to wish death and war for those who disagree with him.

It says an awful lot about the message Rush is transmitting out there to his followers, I think.

4 Responses to “Transmitting Hate”

  1. xranger says:

    Kyle, you have me a bit flumoxed on this one. The Rush piece was much ado about nothing, and should die out soon. Strange aside, though, is that I’ve heard snippets that Henry Waxman has assigned his goons to monitor the program. Strange, that.

    But, then you pick out right wingers sending out sophomoric comments to DailyKos, and you act like the world is coming apart. I mean, last time I tried to engage in debate hear Rat Bastard told me to fuck off (literally).

    Dry off the cocadile tears. You guys are just upset the left can’t succeed on the radio.

  2. mick says:

    As a correction for both Kyle and x, in fact Rush Limbaugh’s so-called “success” was bought and paid for by a massive advertising campaign on his behalf. He was hired to promote the ultraconservative views of his employer. When the show failed to catch on, that employer launched an advertising blitz that cost $$millions$$ and kept it up until the audience started to grow. Hooper polls early on showed the initial growth came as much from liberals who thought he was a joke tuning in to see what outrageous thing he would say next. Most listeners claimed at the time that they didn’t take him seriously.

    I suppose it’s fair to assume that Rush’s opinions as expressed on the show actually are his, but he was hired to sell a specific viewpoint and mercilessly hyped until people were listening. Every time he’s caught in a lie (what? 6, 7 times an hour?), he claims to be “an entertainer”, not a political scientist or journalist. I think he’s right – that’s exactly what he is: an entertainer and a hired shill.

    I go into it a bit here, David Neiwert goes into it in depth here (pdf file, HTML links at David’s site if preferred). If you’re interested.

  3. *SIGH*

    You should know by now I don’t care if we can succeed on the radio or not. Don’t matter to me, don’t want the fairness doctrine, don’t care. I have become increasingly more hopeful that the internet will eventually take over as the primary medium of political news dissemination and debate. Let Rush have his little hill for all I care.

    Second, it wasn’t much ado about nothing. You can decontextualize or twist his words anyway you wish to see fit, it doesn’t change the fact that he said what he did, and it takes a very very large leap of faith to believe he was only talking about one or two bad apples.

    I’ll back that up with some other observations. One would be that amid the Frost wars, Rush Limbaugh likened him to those soldiers who had been brainwashed by the left to oppose the Iraq Occupation. You see, even after the flap he still can’t manage to come out and admit that there might actually be some soldiers who serve bravely, yet personally feel that the Iraq Occupation is wrong, and going the wrong way. He won’t do it.

    Also, let’s not forget that in the same segment that he impugned the honor of those soldiers who don’t agree with the Iraq Occupation, he also impugned the honor of Republicans against Iraq as well.

    Third. I’m not in the habit of defending Kos, but here it should be noted that these letters were not written to Kos, but to Votevets.org, an organization full of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans who have banded together against the Occupation of Iraq.

  4. matttbastard says:

    But, then you pick out right wingers sending out sophomoric comments to DailyKos, and you act like the world is coming apart. I mean, last time I tried to engage in debate hear Rat Bastard told me to fuck off (literally).

    How dare you! I take great exception to such libelous slander. I most certainly did not “literally” tell you to “fuck off.”

    I graciously invited you to engage in autoeroticism – that is, to “go fuck yourself.”

    Sheesh – if you’re going to get all martyr-iffic and holler for teh fainting couch, at least have the *ahem* decency to accurately quote me. 🙂

    (now back to our regularly scheduled interaction embargo.)

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