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Rush to Slander: Who are the Real Racists?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Is Rush Limbaugh like President Obama’s grandmother—someone the President called “a typical white person”—someone who is suspicious of black people? Racism is a serious charge in today’s society. Once you’re perceived as racist, your credibility is destroyed and your defense becomes ineffective. So those making such a charge must meet a high threshold of proof. Have they done that with Mr. Limbaugh? Is Rush a racist?

You wouldn’t know it by what he does. Mr. Limbaugh’s closest advisers, friends, idols and guest hosts often have much more pigment in their skin than he does. In fact, promoters of political correctness would call his radio show producer/call-screener an “African-American,” but Limbaugh prefers to dispense with all hyphenated titles to emphasize “American.”

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You wouldn’t know it by what he says. Any listener knows that Mr. Limbaugh wants all Americans to succeed, and that he has a twenty-year record of consistently urging his listeners to follow the words of Dr. Martin Luther King—to judge people by the content o f their character not the color of their skin.

You might think you know it by what he is alleged to have said, specifically quotes about slavery and James Earl Ray. But none of them are true. They’re completely bogus! And his politically incorrect McNabb comment was about the media’s interest in race, not Limbaugh’s. Observations about racism do not make one a racist (see the McNabb comment in context here).

So how can Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and others in the media honestly charge Mr. Limbaugh with racism? They can’t honestly, so they resort to lies and slander. This kind of hatchet job on a man’s character should outrage you regardless of your political leanings or whether you like or dislike Mr. Limbaugh.

I can imagine why liberals such as Jackson and Sharpton view Rush Limbaugh with contempt. They don’t like being exposed and satirized as “the Justice brothers” before 20 million people. But hard-hitting political satire on two men who happen to be black doesn’t mean that Mr. Limbaugh is a racist nor does it justify slandering his character. In fact, those who actually listen to his show rather than the slander will notice that Rush Limbaugh is an equal opportunity lampooner of liberals of all colors, even those who call themselves Republicans.

While Sharpton and Jackson claim to be fighting racial injustice, the reality is they often seem to be creating injustice rather than correcting it. When they baited their hooks with lies about Mr. Limbaugh, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell took the bait without ever checking the truth of those explosive accusations. This is the same Roger Goodell who remarked of Limbaugh’s ownership bid, “I've said many times before, we're all held to a high standard here.”

I guess that “high standard” applies to everyone but him, the NFL vetting process, and the several convicted criminals that he has reinstated as players (Michael Vick, Ricky Williams, “Pacman” Jones, etc.). In fact, last year only two of the league’s 32 teams did not have a player arrested—only two! (While I know some fine men in the NFL, it actually may be a good thing that Mr. Goodell helped put the kibosh on Mr. Limbaugh’s bid to be an owner— Limbaugh’s reputation might take too big a hit for being associated with such a gang of hoodlums.)

Ironically, there is much more evidence of racism stuck to Mr. Limbaugh’s primary accusers and political opponents. Unlike Rev. Jackson, Limbaugh has never referred to Jewish people as “Hymies,” nor has he referred to New York as “Hymietown.” Unlike Rev. Sharpton, Mr. Limbaugh has not been found guilty of defamation nor has he called the Jews “diamond merchants.” Unlike Sharpton, Limbaugh has never fueled race tensions by saying anything like, “We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business,” or “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house.”

Unlike the President, Rush has never referred to his grandmother or anyone else as “a typical white person” or a typical black person. He has never sat under a race baiting “reverend” for a minute, much less twenty years. Limbaugh has never associated himself with any organization or church that claimed to be “unashamedly black” or white, or one that promoted “black worship” or white worship. And he has never done anything that would prompt the anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan to call him “the messiah.”

Do these facts pass the high threshold of calling Sharpton, Jackson and Obama racists? You decide. But if they don’t, nothing Rush Limbaugh has said or done does.

It’s time for all of us to promote a colorblind society because there is only one race—the human race. Our superficial ethnic differences pale in comparison to our common humanity and the bonds we have as Americans. Until we embrace that as a society, the true “racists” will continue to divide us. For them, skin color is often more important than truth. Under the guise of justice, they will continue to create injustice by spreading lies about those who oppose their political or personal agendas.

Why should this concern you? Because it’s wrong. But also because if they can successfully spread lies about a man who can talk unfiltered to 20 million Americans for three hours every day, think of what they can do to the rest of us who don’t have that platform. Perhaps we should speak as one before slander makes it ineffective to speak at all.

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