Video: Sharpton wants FCC to take Limbaugh off the air

posted at 2:15 pm on December 7, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Al Sharpton does get one thing right in this discussion with Ed Schultz on MSNBC: the First Amendment doesn’t give Rush Limbaugh the right to have his show broadcast on the public airwaves.  And he gets another point correct in noting that the FCC issues broadcast licenses to radio stations, in part based on public service, in a process that essentially rations a government-rationed commodity, commercial broadcast frequencies in local markets.  Apart from those two points, however, Sharpton manages to get just about everything else wrong in demanding that the FCC exercise censorship through prior restraint to take Limbaugh off the air, via Greg Hengler (The Right Scoop has more):

It’s amusing, in a bitterly ironic way, to see people who make their living off of the space created by the First Amendment demand government intervene to stop speech.  It’s even more ironic considering that Al Sharpton paid no price at all for his part in the Tawana Brawley hoax, in which Sharpton falsely accused an assistant district attorney of being one of the supposed rapists in a series of allegations found utterly false by a grand jury.  Steve Pagones won a $65,000 judgment against Sharpton for false and defamatory statements, which Sharpton’s supporters paid instead.  If anyone has grounds to be censored for utterly irresponsible and false speech, it would be Sharpton, not Limbaugh — and yet Sharpton has his own radio show and regularly appears on MSNBC.

So forgive me if I don’t take Sharpton too seriously on the topic of acceptable discourse, but the argument is asinine in any case.  While it’s true that the FCC controls licensing, it doesn’t control content in a prior-approval manner, nor should it.  Demanding a system where the government requires preapproval for political speech is a recipe for tyranny and is the antithesis of the intent of the First Amendment.  Nor is there an overriding right to be free from offense, whatever Sharpton might think; freedom of speech involves tolerating ideas that people dislike as its definition.

The proper remedy for bad speech is more speech.  Those who can’t compete want government to fight their battles instead, and it’s clear that Sharpton knows he’s losing.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Must be time for the left to trot out all the useless tools to start pounding their little drums of discord. There are no euphemisms that can describe this waste of oxygen who’s nothing but a huckster and liar. Isn’t he still under investigation for tax fraud?

Kissmygrits on December 7, 2010 at 7:31 PM

“Shut up,” he explained.

Jeffersonian on December 7, 2010 at 7:55 PM

You mean this Sharpton:the real Sharpton.

Jasper61 on December 7, 2010 at 8:25 PM

I don’t know why everyone brings up only the Tawana Brawley hoax in pointing out Sharpton’s shameful past. His part in the Freddy’s Fashion Mart massacre was far worse. Can you imagine if a white preacher whipped his followers up into such a whirlwind of racial hatred that one of them stormed a black owned store and burned people alive? Sharpton did exactly this and yet he still has a job and is still a darling of the liberal press.

Sharke on December 7, 2010 at 10:53 PM

Good luck with that Sharpie!

What is it they used to say? ………..

“VEEEE HAFF VAYS” ???

bannedbyhuffpo on December 7, 2010 at 11:20 PM

What’s he ill with?

SouthernGent on December 8, 2010 at 1:00 AM

Al Sharpton’s hate speech has led to the deaths of innocent Jews in street murders and arson.

Al knows hate speech.

DANEgerus on December 8, 2010 at 1:19 AM

Open letter to Al Sharpton:

Dear Al,

No matter how many radio stations you manage to turn off, nobody is going to listen to your pathetic radio show.

Sincerly,

Radio Listeners of America

Freddy on December 8, 2010 at 1:29 AM

I think that people who are not grammatically correct, and continue to express their grammatical ignorance on the radio should be taken off the air. They are tainting the youth and the illiterate.
Until they pass a college grade grammar test, then they should not be allowed on the airwaves.
This would include diagramming of sentences, defining split infinitives, passive gerund, pointless aside, or pointing out closing fragments.

right2bright on December 8, 2010 at 7:13 AM

Al’s got his radio show and he just wants to keep his competition off the air. Competition is racist or something according to Al.

Herb on December 8, 2010 at 10:15 AM

Rev. Sharptongue:

Please calling others racists while spouting racist ideals, among them fallacious lie that the likes of Rush Limbaugh take public funds and spout racist remarks to overthrow the form of governance you cherish, Socialism.

Oh! that’s right you know Socialism will spend everyone else’s money until there is no more to spend on listening to you blowviate. So we must embrace Communism which guarantees your kind can rule arbitrarily because all you have to do is demand and it will done.

Nice try Rev. I really think you have your collar on too tight because it has cut off any oxygen getting to what’s left of brain that has never had to learn anything -it was just passed on or given to you.

MSGTAS on December 8, 2010 at 10:59 AM

If anyone deserves being taken off the air, it would be Sharpton himself. Fortunately for him, the FCC has no business doing any such thing.

tom on December 8, 2010 at 1:38 PM

Talk about desperation! Pure desperation. When you lose the battle in the arena of argument and logic, the only thing you can do is try to pull the plug on your opponent’s right to speak. Sharpton would do well in the Politboro.

kens on December 8, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Sharpton is a race-baiting dirtbag, and a racist opportunist just like Jesse Jackson.

woodNfish on December 8, 2010 at 3:46 PM

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