Commentary submission by Project 21
After being ousted from a group seeking to buy the St. Louis Rams, Rush Limbaugh has a duty to punch the media in its collective mouth.
Not literally, of course. What Rush must do is sue the mainstream media for damaging his reputation. His earning potential in not being able to buy into the football team was clearly hurt when the media helped create a firestorm of controversy based on out-of-context or completely made-up statements.
By definition, the Merriam-Webster dictionary says “libel” is “a written or oral defamatory statement or representation that conveys an unjustly unfavorable impression… published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt.”
That seems to be what happened here.
For example, CNN’s Rick Sanchez and several sports columnists relied on an undocumented quote found on Wikipedia attributed to Limbaugh that allegedly lauded slavery. Rush denies it, and no one can produce evidence to the contrary. Likewise, football player Mathias Kiwanuka’s assertion that Rush is racist went unchallenged in the New York Daily News.
After failing to filter out untruths or challenge wild assertions – something the media has criticized bloggers for – Rush has reason for redress. And it’s not just for himself.
No one is safe when the media can pull incendiary remarks out of thin air and allow them to be assumed to be true.
Think of the potential damages. The Rams may now be derided as the “St. Louis Lambs,” but they were “The Greatest Show on Turf” not too long ago. It’s cyclical. Think of the team’s ticket sales, merchandising and broadcasting rights potential. Even as a minority partner, Limbaugh stood to make a lot of money.
Who’s at fault? CNN’s Sanchez and those who fabricated the slavery quote in the first place, among others, certainly share moral culpability.
In the end, Limbaugh could end up owning portions of the networks that have been on a virtual crusade to destroy him.
Rush also has a bone to pick with non-media types such as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay for taking the media’s cue and branding Limbaugh an enemy of the league.
Al Sharpton also cannot be allowed to continue dictating public sensibility without effective rebuttal. Just the fact that Sharpton said he was going to talk to Goodell is laughable. Why does he merit an audience? Could it be because Sharpton is a darling of the race-obsessed media?
If Rush doesn’t take the lying slanderers out back once and for all, they will do it again to anyone right-of-center who dares to open his mouth.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism professors who moonlight as cable news experts should not go to any old website and use a post with no attribution as the basis for character assassination. Likewise, partisan pundits shouldn’t hide behind freedom of the press to repeat false quotes.
Race hustlers should not be allowed to interject themselves into a false controversy and anoint themselves as speech arbiters.
News anchors similarly should not be allowed back on set after knowingly reading a false quote. And the players, who laughably claim to be victims, shouldn’t just go to the media and repeat false quotes.
The media in general also has to really believe in fairness and equality.
Now’s the time for those who willingly perpetrate smears to find out what it’s like to have their lives destroyed. It’s time for the message to be sent that the arena of ideas is just that. Should they decide to play fast and loose with the rules, they must suffer the same consequences as the common man.
I believe Rush Limbaugh has an obligation to sue everybody involved in this sham.
Bob Parks is a member of the national advisory council for the Project 21 black leadership network and operates the website: Black and Right.