Rush Limbaugh Attacked President Obama For ‘Targeting’ Joseph Kony’s ‘Christian’ LRA

Limbaugh Attacked President Obama For 'Targeting' Joseph Kony's 'Christian' LRA 

The mainstream media has, thus far, ignored the intersection of the stars of this week’s two lava-hot news stories; the backlash against embattled conservative gabber Rush Limbaugh, and the viral news signal flare that is Kony 2012, the video that draws attention to the atrocities of Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Just a few months ago, Rush Limbaugh was attacking President Obama for sending advisors to help take out Kony and his henchmen, before laughingly admitting he didn’t know what he was talking about.

Limbaugh characterized the mission as “a new war, a hundred troops to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda,” saying “Lord’s Resistance Army are Christians.  They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan.”

At the end of several segments bashing the President over his “targeting” of “Christians,” Limbaugh returned from a commercial break to apply the brakes a bit, if not back-pedal. “Is that right?” Limbaugh said, presumably to his producer. “The Lord’s Resistance Army is being accused of really bad stuff? Child kidnapping, torture, murder, that kind of stuff? Well, we just found out about this today. We’re gonna do, of course, our due diligence research on it. But nevertheless we got a hundred troops being sent over there to fight these guys — and they claim to be Christians.”

So, even given that final disclaimer, and what followed, that segment was, and remains, titled “Obama Invades Uganda, Targets Christians” on Limbaugh’s website.

Here’s the audio of Limbaugh’s remarks, from his Oct. 14, 2011 broadcast: (transcript here)

Limbaugh’s comments elicited a heartrending response from Evelyn Apoko, a now-22 year-old survivor of Kony’s atrocities, several days later:

They also provoked a rebuke on the Senate floor, by Republican Senator Jim Inhofe. Limbaugh chose not to respond to Ms. Apoko, but he did have a response to Inhofe, which was to find a hilarious silver lining in the whole thing. “We said they were sending in a hundred people as advisors and so forth,” Limbaugh said, to his staff, “but I wanted to play the sound bites primarily ’cause you three are now in the Congressional Record.  All three of you.  And you’re in the Congressional Record because you didn’t know something!

With a laugh, he said “How does it feel?”

Here’s MSNBC’s Ed Schultz with clips of Inhofe’s remarks, and Limbaugh’s response, from MSNBC:

Har-dee-har! That’s it, no apology, no correction, and his pulse probably never got above 85.

This is the thing I don’t think Bill Maher gets about this situation. I agree with him, generally speaking, that advertiser boycotts are counter to the spirit, if not the letter, of the First Amendment. I’ve often said that the solution to problematic speech is almost always more speech, not less. If I was the head of Clear Channel, I’d make Limbaugh go on a tour of cable news shows with Sandra Fluke, and let them hash it out. Maybe Limbaugh would learn something, and maybe his audience would, too. I would have done the same thing with Don Imus.

But I also don’t think the trouble Limbaugh is in has all that much to do with the actual boycotts. There are hundreds of boycotts that go nowhere, not because they’re not large enough, but because their grievances have no merit. In this case, I think these companies are looking at what Limbaugh said over those three days, and concluding that he’s just a bad guy, a guy they don’t want their brands attached to.

It’s more than that, though. These folks stuck with Limbaugh through “Barack The Magic Negro,” through the Donovan McNabb flap, even through Limbaugh’s suggestion that he was being compelled to submit to anal rape because the President is black. What’s different now is that Limbaugh launched his attack in the midst of an already-roiling battle between Republicans and women over health care, and has become a symbol of the wrong side in that conflict. Advertisers aren’t just backing away from Rush Limbaugh, bad guy, they are standing behind the 99% of women who use birth control, and the men who love them, all of whom buy lots of stuff.

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