Mainstream media has not yet picked up this story, so the only place I can find it this morning is on conservative blogs and the Washington Times. Make of that what you will. However, it’s utterly obnoxious. Our speaker here is Mike Malloy,on his syndicated talk radio show. Malloy may not have as big an audience as Beck, O’Reilly, or Limbaugh but we should judge him primarily by what he says to his audience.
Clearly operating in an irony-free zone, Malloy is decrying Republicans and conservatives who are engaging in intemperate rhetoric, likely in reference to the nutjob in Nashville who (allegedly) intentionally rammed into a car sporting an Obama sticker, and then addressing his right-wing talk radio counterparts:
…you rat bastards are going to cause another Murrah federal building explosion, you are. And then – what is Beck – maybe at that point Beck will do the honorable thing and blow his brains out.
Maybe at that point, Limbaugh will do the honorable thing and just gobble up enough – enough Viagra that he becomes absolutely rigid and keels over dead.
Maybe then O’Reilly will just drink a vat of the poison he spews out on America every night and choke to death! Because that’s what’s gonna to happen, that’s what they are pushing these right-wing, nut case, fringe, militia jerk-wads to doing!
On the Washington Times article, the very first comment was a defense of Malloy in that he was calling for these conservative pundits to suicide rather than for someone else to kill them. This would be a good example of what those of us in the legal profession call “picking a bad argument.” Nothing productive happens when you call for people to die.
Guess what, my friends on the left — just because you hear my friends on the right indulging in intemperate, sky-is-falling, even fringe-of-violence type language does not give you license to do the same thing. The First Amendment does not relieve you of your social obligation and ethical responsibility to engage in responsible, mature public discourse. Conservatives may be outspoken in their very different vision of America from you but they have just as much right as you to articulate it.
Part of what it is to live in a free democracy is a commitment by everyone to tolerate the differing opinions of other people, to submit those disagreements to the court of public opinion and, within Constitutional limits to guarantee individual liberties, the rule of the majority. This necessarily excludes calling for the death of people who happen to disagree with you.
Now, will everyone please calm the hell down?