Before you burn the witches…

I’m always flattered that Jeff Pelline thinks highly enough of my opinions to quote me in his blog. Last night I whipped out a little comment over at Russ Steele’s that caught his eye…”It seems funny to me that these folks are going to boycott a radio station that they never listen to and don’t know who sponsors what unless someone tells them.” I was talking about the latest jihad against Rush Limbaugh and efforts to remove him from KNCO.

I have to admit that I’m one of the uninformed. I rarely ever listen to AM radio anymore. For awhile, I put KNCO on my truck radio so I could listen to Rush for “journalistic purposes”, but I would get so angry that I had to go back to KVMR or be involved in some horrible road rage incident. I’m not a fan, and am guilty of creating my own lampoon(s) of Blubberlips’ recent faux pas.

Be that as it may, I understand that Rush does have an audience and that the income that he provides probably goes a long way in keeping the employees of KNCO fed and housed. That’s okay by me. I’m a strong proponent of free speech, being in the business of it myself.

Therefore, I get a little nervous when one side or the other starts talking about boycotts and censoring unpopular thoughts and words. I am mindful of those jobs that could be lost in an already shaky economy, just so someone can feel good about their superior ideology. And I do appreciate KNCO.

Those of you who have lived here “too long” as Jeff puts it, may remember the 49er fire. It was the worst disaster to hit Nevada County in my lifetime. In those days, KVMR was still in its infancy, with little resources, and KNCO was the dominant news source on the airwaves. When the fire started moving toward the populated areas, it was KNCO that had multiple remote units in the field reporting on the fire’s progress. Every radio in the county was tuned to the station as we all shuddered in fear of being in the path of the conflagration. Some reported while the fire burned around them to keep us informed. It was local radio at its finest.

Now a different kind of fire consumes us. There are some who wish to stamp out the voices that irritate them. Rush, of course, is at the top of the list, but there are some who would like to see George Rebane banished from the pages of The Union and his two minute commentaries on KVMR. They will tell you that they are not opposed to opposing views, they just want those opposing views to be more in line with their own. They want a compliant opposition that doesn’t get too uppity, if I may use that obviously bigoted term.

I, for one, want to hear those voices. I want to know what they really think, even if it offends me. I’m not afraid of them, as I am able to make up my own mind without someone telling me what I should be thinking. Here’s what John Steinbeck said about the mob mentality, from “In Dubious Battle”…

I want to watch these group-men, for they seem to me to be a new individual, not at all like single men. A man in a group isn’t himself at all, he’s a cell in an organism that isn’t like him any more than the cells in your body are like you. I want to watch the group, and see what it’s like. People have said, ‘mobs are crazy, you can’t tell what they’ll do.’ Why don’t people look at mobs not as men, but as mobs? A mob nearly always seems to act reasonably, for a mob.

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43 Responses to Before you burn the witches…

  1. Todd juvinall says:

    Yep. Nail on the head. I am truly proud of what you wrote here. Oops, the devil made me do it. LOL!

  2. Ben Emery says:

    This really isn’t about free speech but about public airwaves and responsibility. Rush can still make his obnoxious misinformed statements just not to millions of people using the public airwaves. Its about the microphone not his speech. I am not in support political prisoners.
    I generally ignore what those on the radio are saying because like everything else in our nation it is for the sake of making money. This quality leads many to say or do negative things. My main objection with this incident is the blatant misogyny with Rep Issa and his all male religious hierarchy panel making decisions about women’s reproductive rights. The real issue was about employers/ providers having line item veto power over private health insurance plans based on their personal beliefs. Rep Issa argued religious freedom. Once again no women were allowed to give statements, women don’t know anything about religion either I guess?

    Then came Rush in his usual fashion attacking Ms Fluke with false and hurtful commentary. Ms Fluke gave testimonies of many women, none of which were needing more contraception to have more sex. Not a accidental slip but multiple day tirade making sure the issue was morphed into government sponsored sex for women.

    Personal opinions and perceptions are fine on our public airwaves but with the privilege of being on air comes responsibility to the public and Rush has crossed the threshold into irresponsible way too many times. His free speech is not being threatened, it is the medium of that speech which allows him to reach 12 million people. Rush can join the rest of us with his letters to the editor, marching in the streets, running for public office, ect… I don’t if you remember that Rush lost the privilege to be a commentator with the NFL for this same kind of language.

  3. Ben Emery says:

    Here is another story with Rush and NFL speaking about responsibility.

    Oct. 13, 2009
    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell failed to offer support of Rush Limbaugh’s bid to buy the Rams on Tuesday and said the talk-show host’s “divisive comments” would not be welcome in the league.

    “I’ve said many times before, we’re all held to a high standard here,” Goodell told reporters, via the New York Times.

    “I would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL –- absolutely not.”

    Limbaugh said last week he’s part of a group trying to buy the Rams. Colts owner Jim Irsay was the latest to express disapproval for Limbaugh’s bid when he said he would not vote to approve such a deal. (NFL owners must vote to approve new owners of teams.)

    Goodell specifically took exception with Limbaugh for his controversial comment about Donovan McNabb in 2003 when he worked as an NFL analyst for ESPN. Limbaugh suggested the media wanted McNabb to succeed because he is black.

    “The comments Rush made specifically about Donovan, I disagree with very strongly,” Goodell said, via the Times.

    “It’s a polarizing comment that we don’t think reflect accurately on the NFL or our players. I obviously do not believe those comments are positive and they are divisive. That’s a negative thing for us, obviously.” — Sean Leahy

  4. rlcrabb says:

    First of all, you are always welcome to comment here, Ben. I’m just a little slow in approving the latest entries this morning. (And to any others, once your ID has been through the first moderation your comments will show up immediately after they’ve been posted. I’ve already been attacked by the spam monsters, so I have to look at what’s been submitted before it “goes to press” so to speak.)

    As to your comments, my point is exactly as stated. It’s up to the marketplace of ideas to decide who makes a living doing it. It could be that Rush has gone too far this time, or maybe other advertisers will step in to fill the void. (G. Gorden Liddy hawking gold bars in advance of the coming apocalypse? The Kochs?) The reality is that Blubberlips does have a large audience, and KNCO has been the beneficiary of it. Someone did mention that the radio station could suffer without his bullhorn, and I hate to see anyone lose their job because of it. I felt the same way some years back when the right-wingers proposed boycotting businesses that supported KVMR. (I did a cartoon of it which is featured in my book on page 78. I’ll try to post it if I can find a copy that will fit in my scanner.) Once you start down that road, everyone suffers, and the divisions in the community will only get deeper.

  5. Dixie Redfearn says:

    Bob, one of the many reasons I adore you is how reasonable you are! Your blog had the best analysis of the Rush debacle than anything I’ve read to date. Thank you for that.

  6. Don Baumgart says:

    I’ve been listening to KNCO’s one-time revival of Two-Way-Talk-Radio about Rush Limbaugh. Most of the callers are Rush fans and want him kept. Two very important things NOT being said on the air are: Rush had his facts wrong, as he often does. No taxpayer money is going to the slutty prostitute college student. None. The dispute is whether her employer and her health insurer will buy The Pills. The second missing thing is mention of the absolute viciousness with which Limbaugh delivered his condemnation of a person exercising First Amendment rights. Absolutely vicious.

    • rl Crabb says:

      Everything you say is true, Don, but consider that some of our past associates and friends would be as guilty of those crimes. (For general info, Don and I are both veterans of the underground comix business. Cartoonists like R. Crumb and S. Clay Wilson make Rush look like a nun.)

  7. Ben Emery says:

    At some point we have to say enough and become more civil. I have no problem with dueling opinions but do have a problem with lies, personal attacks, and misinformation shaping the dialogue. This is what Rush does best and it has become detrimental for the good of public interest, which is one of the requirements for public air wave licensing. So I advocate putting pressure on with our spending power since big money only seems to respond to that threat. Not morality or justice but the bottom line. Debate is healthy but personal attacks and lies to in theory occupy 50% of the debate should not be accepted.

    Maybe you can post something on the real debate. Should employers and colleges have the ability to line item veto birth control pills/ contraception due to personal beliefs despite the long term increase of costs monetarily, poorer health, and overall negative impact socially? Here is one fact 14% of women- 1.5 million- use birth control pill for non-contraceptive purposes.

  8. Ben Emery says:

    To address one last point on your post, as you know I defend George’s commentary in both The Union and KVMR. If George started to use offensive lies in every commentary I might start making some noise but I enjoy his commentary. Again this isn’t about the use of ill advised couple of words but a multiple day tirade.

  9. Michael says:


    Thanks for your perspective. I have yet to comment on any local blog. Been reading them for a long time (few years now) but always just, sit in the background and listen, so to speak.

    I don’t think “Blubberlips” should be taken off the air. And by the way, I consider myself a liberal…..but that doesn’t mean that I think Rush, et al. should be silenced. Here’s what I do: I don’t really care for Rush, so guess what? I turn the radio OFF. Or switch to KVMR.

    Heck, most of the time I don’t even agree with George Rebane’s column in The Union. But I still read it…. as you say, I still want to read and hear the opposing viewpoint so I can make up my own mind.

    I don’t care for Rush’s comments on Ms. Fluke. I think it was inappropriate. But I think he’s free to say what he wants, just like I’m free to call him any name I like. If enough people and/or advertisers are outraged, then his show will go away on its own. This reminds me of stories about people getting upset over comments by Michael Savage. Same deal. For those that like to listen to Rush, let them listen. Why must we silence all viewpoints that don’t match our own?

    I can think of three good local examples.

    1. KNCO: I’ll still listen to KNCO, they have local news updates and Swap Shop, and the Shopping Show.

    2. B&C: I read from Jeff Pelline’s blog that they’re big time CABPRO supporters. So what? I love their store. I don’t care that they might be supporting something I disagree with.

    3. SPD: Love their stores too. I’m not going to “boycott” just because their ad happened to air during Rush’s show. How silly.

    Whatever happened to, live and let live?

    I could go on about the pointless attacks on The Union and Jeff Ackerman. But I think that’s a topic that’s already been beat to death.

    So, my first comment on a local blog. I’m awaiting the mobs with pitchforks.

    Thanks for allowing me to vent.

  10. Todd Juvinall says:

    Baumgart has it totally wrong as usual. It is a freedom issue 100%. The government thru fiat says a religious organization must somehow supply a woman with something the University opposes. Ben Emery is spreading his disinformation as usual then cries when called on it. We have a 180 degree different worldview.

  11. Don Baumgart says:

    RL – Yes the underground cartoonists shattered a lot of speech barriers but I can’t remember any of them being as spitting nasty as Rush was in his condemnation of Ms. Fluke. Watch the video. Mean. But, I say keep him on the air. It’ll be fun to watch him self destruct.

    • rl Crabb says:

      Part of the irony is that Rush probably does more to invigorate the Democratic party than anyone from their own ranks. And with the crazy stuff spewing from the mouths of Republicans in this election year, that’s saying something!

  12. Todd juvinall says:

    Yep that wascally Rush, all those dems go to the polls and tell themselves, you know what? I was gonna vote for that Santorum fellow but that Limbaugh is so outrageous I changed my mind. Yep.

  13. TD Pittsford says:

    I am not now, have never been, nor ever will be a fan of Rush Limbaugh. I do however believe in free speech but also believe there is a limit. When comments about another human being crosses the line of common decency (a rare commodity in today’s America) then it’s time to reassess the value of his, as well as others’, inappropriate dialog. Howard Stern comes to mind as well as Don Imus, Howard Cosell, Jimmy the Greek and any number of others who have been ostracized and subsequently punished by sponsors and fans alike over the years. Rush crossed the line of human decency in the Fluke matter and then offered an “apology” which was more of an excuse. He maintained that it was the “liberals” whom he had been fighting for years who caused him to temporarily lapse into a liberal state of mind. This is an apology? Hardly. There are a great many people in positions of influence in this country who live to hate and don’t hesitate to share that feeling with anyone who will listen. The best part of that is that I don’t have to listen to them or anyone who spews nonsense to an audience sometimes too enamored by his sterling personality and in many cases are incapable of doing their own thinking. (“I’ll do all your thinking for you,” says Rush.) That pretty sums up what he is all about. It really makes no difference to me whether he stays on the air or joins the likes of Howard Stern on satellite radio as long as I don’t have to listen to either of their insane diatribes. The bottom line is, as long as there’s a knob on the radio or TV to change the station or turn it off; as long as I have the ability to choose what kind of propaganda I wish to read and which forums in which to participate, I’m content.

  14. Jeff Ackerman says:

    Crabb Man: Nice blog. Glad you are “out there.” The only voice Big Boy wants to hear is his own. It’s a disease. He can’t help it.
    The cool part about radios is that they come with buttons and dials that allow you to turn the channel or turn them off. At the end of the day, if there is no audience there is no value to advertisers. I just don’t like the lynch-mob mentality I’m seeing today from the “P.C. Censor” crowd that is VERY selective in its application of the rules (see Bill M. where he referred to Sarah P. as a C _ NT). Pretty sure Hitler employed similar tactics?
    And the social media networks allow those mobs to assemble quickly. “Off with their heads!” while encouraging attendance at rallies where flags and presidents are burned in effigy.
    Rush is a pig and if he keeps it up he’ll lose enough of his audience where major advertisers will leave. But he has 15 MILLION listeners today and…money talks.
    My take? How many men have had vasectomies on their insurance company dime and how many others get their Viagra through those same insurance benefit plans? Does that make them sluts? The conservatives are burying themselves in the morality cloak at a time when most moderates are more concerned about jobs and the price of gas.
    Anyway…glad to see you up and running. So far it seems a LOT more constructive than the “Look at me!” blog from the Award Winning Jounalist who reminds his followers how special he is every waking day.

    • rl Crabb says:

      I hear that Bill Mahar is sticking up for poor lil Rush. I guess birds of a feather flock together. Oh, wait, are those vultures circling overhead?

  15. Michael Anderson says:

    Hey RL,

    Nice site you have here. Nice and cozy. After reading the position statements of Rebane and Pelline regarding El Rushbo, I am finding that my own opinion on the issue is about the same as yours. I do absolutely believe this is a free speech issue and I abhor mob-ruled boycotts, unless the issue is of life or death.

    For example, I think boycotting the big MegaBanks as Clark Howard suggests we do on his KNCO radio program, Mon. – Fri. from 1:07 pm till 3:00 pm, is a great idea. Those bastards ruined the economy, and many many people suffered, some dying prematurely and others committing suicide. But the Fluke imbroglio certainly does not rise to that occasion, IMHO.

    Boycotts can make a bad situation much much worse. There is no need here to go nuclear. Why ramp up an already poisoned atmosphere?

    Re. “Regressive Progressives,” I’ve had a pretty good chuckle catching up with the Rebane Treacle Factory this evening, but I thought I would address the question of what is a “libertarian progressive” over here instead of over there due to a signal-to-noise-ratio problem they seem to be experiencing at the moment.

    Anyway, it’s really very simple: on social issues I am libertarian and on other issues I am either progressive or conservatarian. This suggests a complex weave, which causes George some distress apparently, but I assure him that it is not a dodge at all. I don’t think anyone, including George, is one way or another–opinions are nuanced.

    Mostly I am MOTR, but I try not to wear it like a badge. I also like to think of myself as a lover not a fighter, but sometimes it’s hard. Can you relate?

    Michael A.

  16. Ben Emery says:

    To put this into context. Remember the hearing was about contraception being line item vetoed controlled by employers or college private health insurance policies. Ms Fluke gave testimony for multiple women. This is how Rush interprets it and changes the issue to be about Ms Fluke and what she does in her private life. This wasn’t a oops comment but a multiple day tirade. What the video and nothing more needs to be said.

  17. Ben Emery says:

    To put this into context. Remember the hearing was about contraception being line item vetoed controlled by employers or college private health insurance policies. Ms Fluke gave testimony for multiple women. This is how Rush interprets it and changes the issue to be about Ms Fluke and what she does in her private life. This wasn’t a oops comment but a multiple day tirade. Watch the video and nothing more needs to be said.

    • Todd Juvinall says:

      The real hearing by Issa was regarding “church and state” not contraception. The “press conference” called by Pelosi was not a committee meeting so your premise is wrong at the gitgo.

      • Ben Emery says:

        The topic was about contraception coverage in PPACA law. Rep Darell Issa decided to take the religious freedom angle and only allow male witnesses from churches. I guess Rep Issa doesn’t believe women have opinions on religious freedom as well. He was asked to include female witnesses by Rep Elijah Cummings and he didn’t see the relevance. So no my premise wasn’t off and still isn’t off.

        • Todd Juvinall says:

          Issa is the Chairman, he has the right under his rules to set the agenda. It was a church stae issue, the left turned it into condoms.

  18. Good to see that you’re off and running Bob, welcome again to the boiling pot of mulligan stew.

    Re JeffA’s 839pm – It seems that he equates having your contraceptives, sexual stimulants, etc paid for by a privately procured private insurance company and paid for by an insurance company government mandated to do so and possibly with government supplied co-payments (i.e. public monies). To me it appears that the latter is a quadriped of distinctly different hue.

    • Jeff Ackerman says:

      George: I’m just trying to define a slut. Is it just someone who wants the government to force her insurance company to cover birth control? Or…is it a talk show host who has been married 4 times? Or…can it be a publisher whose insurance company paid for his vasectomy? Or…maybe a guy who gets Viagra through his insurance? And we haven’t even begun to distinguish between a slut and a prostitute.

      • rl Crabb says:

        After the announcement that Rush will indeed be staying on KNCO, several commentals over at Sierra Foothills Report chimed in with “I never listened to that station anyway!” which, if you’ll look at the beginning of this post, is what I was saying all along. So there.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          I believe the organizer of the electronic petition (courtesy of, Erin Minett, is the same Erin married to Peter Minett, kindergarten teacher, president of the Pleasant Valley Teacher Association and NC Democratic Central Committee board member.

          Good folks both, but there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell either were ever regular Limbaugh listeners. This was politics. While Limbaugh once again burned one too many bridges, it wasn’t an attack on all women, it was a too personal attack on one woman in particular who thinks she deserves the free contraceptives of her choice, and chose to attend a law school whose Catholic roots led them to choose a group health plan that, like those chosen by some non-secular institutions, didn’t cover them. Not by accident, because she wanted the fight.

          This is politics all around. Good for KNCO, especially since I think they just want the money. How refreshing!

  19. Todd juvinall says:

    When I was a single fellow in my 20’s I was a skirt chaser almost every night at the local taverns. I would have been called a “stud” in those days. LOL. A girl who did the same thing was called a s***. Nothing fair about that I suppose.

    The fact is that Fluke is morphing into the Occupiers 1% after she gets here first job which they say averages $160,000 per year, is fairly ironic wouldn’t you say? She is going to a school of religion and demanding that school toss its beliefs and supply her and her pals $3,000 worth of spermicide and condoms. The Republicans are not being punished as is being reported by the WSJ/NBC poll. It was 800 nationwide and I still can’t find out if the respondents were males, females or transgendered. So, all this hullabaloo is going to fade as all political firestorms do. I am thinking that November will come and people will say Fluke? Who or what is that?

  20. Todd juvinall says:

    No microscopes. Just like the mini-me in Austin Powers. LOL! I had to give smelling salts to the TSA women.

  21. Ben Emery says:

    So the question then becomes why did Rush make it about sex and Ms Fluke? I don’t think we are going to get here fast enough so I will just jump about 5 steps.

    I believe religious institutions shouldn’t have to offer contraceptives if it goes against the beliefs of the entire institution, this is a valid argument. My guess many “conservatives” would agree with this opinion but we never had the chance of getting to it because Rush abused his privileges on the public airwaves and made it about a single individual with lies and misinformation.

    • Todd juvinall says:

      No we had the chance through our Congressmen on the Issa committee. Pelosi had a phony meeting and then Rush made his faux pas. He apologized, over and out.

  22. Douglas Keachie says:

    This is in no way an attack on free speech. There is no clause in the Constitution that says one El Rushbo shall have the Golden Mic and the rest shall have the street corners and letters to the editors. Rush has lived by capitalism, and he shall die by the same. I do not owe Rush one penny of money to be spent on his advertisers. I would much prefer other programming be available for my listening pleasure. Clark Howard is excellent and even Kim Kommando is not bad. There is so much public domain stuff out there right now a teenager could keep the airwaves filled forever, with old folk music, etc, as evidenced by Stephen Cobert’s show tonight. To say that we have to have a man occupying the airwaves because he provides employment for the radio staff and boosts sales at local stores, at the cost of polluting to community mindset is nuts. Let’s see what else we can find to replace his lickspittle.

  23. Todd juvinall says:

    Rush started out working in adio at 15. He was firfed a ew times but he honed his skills. I didn’t listen to him until maybe 1995. Why he is successful is because the world of news and information was owned and run by liberals and the millions of us on the right had no one until he came along. He is a true treasure, sure he makes mistakes but overall he supplies information nd analysis the lamestream never do. After listening to our people and ideas get trashed for most of my life, Rush at least gave us a voice. You libs want it all. The reason he exists is because of you and your ilk hogging the info. And, our Constitution was created for people like Russ. Remember Paine?

    • Douglas Keachie says:

      So some four legs are better than others, and only they are privileged? Somehow I don’t recall that being in the He lived by capitalism and he’ll go out to very well stocked pasture as he retires. He is not “special.”

  24. Ben Emery says:

    This is a first amendment or freedom of speech issue not a multiple day tirade on public airwaves.

    DES MOINES, Iowa — A Polk County jury reached a verdict Friday in the first trespassing trial for an Occupy Iowa protester.

    The jury found Ed Fallon not guilty of trespassing.

    Fallon was charged with trespassing on the Statehouse grounds. He was one of the Occupy Iowa protesters who refused to leave the grounds after authorities said they violated an 11 p.m. curfew.

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