As the gusts of outrage continue to blow in the wake of the Limbaugh-Fluke Controversy, Right-wingers have predictably gone on the defense the only way they know how (other than lying and pretending nothing happened): by pointing the finger back at liberals and sneering, “Well, you have sexist celebrities, too!”, and then pretending that Leftists use the cloak of comedy to hide from backlash when they go too far – which, naturally, is the exact same defense many Right-wingers were quick to raise on Limbaugh’s behalf. The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart explains the approximately 5,000 problems with that sort of counter-argument in last night’s segment:
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Admittedly, it would’ve been a bit nice if he could’ve spared a line or two really driving home his condemnation of Bill Maher’s own sexist language, but I suppose you can only fit so much in a 7-minute bit.
Nonetheless, the point remains the same: The fact that people on both sides of the ideological aisle say bad things doesn’t mean that pointing at the other group is a good way of deflecting criticism aimed at those in your own camp. Yes, Maher can be a bit of a sexist (and pseudoscientific) prick at times, and yes, too many liberals are quick to ignore it or even excuse it. Sycophants exist in every group, after all. But one key difference between him and people like Limbaugh and his Right-wing defenders is that he hasn’t built his entire fame and fortune on that sort of reprehensible schtick, whereas sexist vitriol and generalized hate-mongering is virtually all that Limbaugh knows.