I fully realize that this post will be about as time-sensitive as anything, but I feel like it has to be said. Rush Limbaugh has made a name for himself by being an egotistical, overbearing loudmouth. Recently, he said some things that were unbelievably prejudiced against women. In response, there was an enormous public backlash and many of his radio show’s advertisers began backing away. Naturally, this led to Limbaugh’s supporters’ cries of foul play and censorship.
Well, they are wrong.
Withdrawal of sponsorship or public criticism of a man’s comments does not mean anyone is censoring anyone else. Freedom of speech does not give one freedom from consequence. Limbaugh said some things that were offenstive to many people. He did not say these things in some dark backroom. He said them publically, on his nationally-syndicated radio show. Not one government official or law enforcement office broke down his door to arrest him. He said what he said and now he gets to deal with the consequences.
No business is required to work with Limbaugh. Their sponsorship of his program was a reflection upon themselves. If businesses like Citrix, AOL, and JCPenney decide that his program no longer reflects well on their brand or reputation, they are free to withdraw support in accordance with whatever contract they had set up.
The First Amendment works both ways. You can say something so outrageous that it offends an entire nation. On the other hand, you must also respect the backlash that offence will bring you.