The current Rush situation is exactly the kind of controversy that historically prompts Bill O’Shaughnessy to speak up. And now he’s done so.
Limbaugh “should not be fired,” says O’Shaughnessy, “even if the whole canon of his work is filled with raucous vulgarity and incendiary right-wing rhetoric directed at immigrants, illegal aliens and even presidents of the United States.”
O’Shaughnessy is president and owner of WVIP(FM) and WVOX(AM) in New Rochelle, N.Y. He’s a past president of the New York State Broadcasters Association and former chairman of public affairs for the National Association of Broadcasters. He has been vocal over the years about the right of broadcasters to say and air contentious content.
“We broadcasters are ever alert to incursions against free speech from government bureaucrats,” he writes in a commentary sent to trade media journalists today. “But censorship from corporate timidity in the face of economic boycotts is just as dangerous as the stifling of creative and artistic expression by government fiat, decree, sanction or regulation.
“You don’t have to be a First Amendment voluptuary to realize this is just as treacherous as any racism, sexism, bigotry or vulgarity,” he continued. “Let the S.O.B. be heard. And trust only the people to censure him with a flick of the wrist and a changing of the dial.”
O’Shaughnessy also laments a “sanctimonious holier-than-thou campaign to destroy and silence” Limbaugh. He criticizes “liberal sharks like Ed Shultz and other windbags who smell blood in the water” and just seek to get the legendary conservative talker off the air.
O’Shaughnessy says the “slut” and “prostitute” comments Limbaugh made are but the latest in a long line of “terrible examples” and “vulgar discourse” that broadcasters have had to defend. Yet, he concludes: “I’m uncomfortable as hell about it. But I’m with Limbaugh. He makes his living with words.”
Read his commentary here.