Just the most recent piece of evidence that saying things that offend the PC police will cost you your job in America.

I am neither a sports fan nor a Rush Limbaugh fan for different reasons so I was unaware that Rush was broadcasting on ESPN, which I never watch. But I just read the story on his remarks about Donovan McNabb, whoever he is (an NFL quaterback for some team or other, I gather). Here are the two relevant paragraphs from today's Washington Post article about the incident:

(quote)
"I don't think he's been that good from the get-go. I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. They're interested in black coaches and black quarterbacks doing well. I think there's a little hope invested in McNabb and he got a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."
. . .
McNabb was quickly joined by several prominent Democratic politicians, including presidential hopefuls Howard Dean, Rev. Al Sharpton and retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who called on ESPN to fire Limbaugh.
(/quote)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A34359-2003Oct2.html

Q.E.D.
1 2
Just the most recent piece of evidence that saying things that offend the PC police will cost you your job in America.

Rubbish. Commentators who don't know what they're talking about should be fired. Ergo, Limbaugh should be fired. It's obvious from your comments that you know even less than Limbaugh about his subject, so who are you to judge whether what he said was fair comment?
Adrian
The inimitable "Adrian Bailey" (Email Removed) stated one day
Just the most recent piece of evidence that saying things that offend the PC police will cost you your job in America.

Rubbish. Commentators who don't know what they're talking about should be fired. Ergo, Limbaugh should be fired.

Your reaction is, as usual, laughable, Adrian. When ESPN hired Rush, they knew what they were getting. They hired him to generate controversy and interest, to increase their ratings, not to provide impeccable sports commentary.
(quote)
"Rush is a great communicator and a fan's fan," Mark Shapiro, ESPN's executive vice president for programming and production, said last July. "His acute sense of what's on the minds of his listeners combined with his ability to entertain and serve as a lightning rod for lively discussion makes him the perfect fit for this new role." (/quote)
It's clear that he was not hired to provide the kind of commentary that the former NFL players who also work for ESPN provide. He was hired as an entertainer. He's never been a professional football player, only a footbal fan. Sports commentary consists of both analysis which requires that one know what one is talking about and opinion which requires only that one can speak. No one can be expected to have the "correct" opinions. Your basic premise that he always ought to know exactly what he is talking about is rubbish. This kind of reaction is no different from the reaction of sponsors and others to Bill Maher's PI comments about the allgeged cowardice of the 9/11 hijackers. Your lack of understanding about why Limbaugh was criticized makes all of your comment here rubbish.
While Limbaugh's opinion of McNabb's skills might have differed from those of the vast majority of informed sports writers, football players, football coaches, football fans, and sports fans in general, it was a personal opinion. He might very well have been wrong that the team's defense rather than the quaterback's skills were responsible for its victories. I don't watch football, so I don't have an opinion about McNabb. Limbaugh worked for ESPN for more than one year.

That gave the sports network a sufficient amount of time to decide whether he knew what he was talking about. His audience during the second year of his employment, according to the article, was 10% larger than during the first year. Because he had promised ESPN to stay away from politics on his program, he must have increased his audience and this is purely speculation because I've never tuned into Limbaugh's show because of his sports commentary and not on his outrageous politics ideas.

Your inference that he didn't know what he was talking about in general is rubbish.
Finally, almost all the demands that he be fired were race-based. Another quote from the article to demonstrate that criticism of Limbaugh was not based on his lack of knowledge about football:

(quote)
Jeffrey Lurie, (owner of the Philadelphia Eagles,) speaking at the Eagles' practice facility, accused ESPN of "institutional racism" for its decision to hire the conservative radio talk-show host for its "Sunday NFL Countdown" and criticized the network for its new mini-series "Playmakers," a fictional drama about a pro football team, complete with controversial plot lines involving drug and alcohol abuse, among other subjects. He said Limbaugh's hiring and the show are examples of "racial potshots" at the league.

. . .
"Let's put the onus on Disney (ESPN's parent company) and ESPN to take care of what I see as a cancer," Lurie said. "They've built such a wonderful brand; in the last 12 months they've done everything they can to hurt their brand. The onus is now on them. . . . It's not finished with the (departure) of Rush Limbaugh. The onus is now how are you going to portray the sports you cover. Who are you going to allow to discuss it? That's what it's all about fairness, civility, a lack of bigotry and racism." (/quote)
This is the tenor of most of the criticisms of Limbaugh's opinion. They were not complaints about the accuracy of his athletic analysis, only about his personal prejudices. That means that your initial comment is nothing but rubbish.
It's obvious from your comments that you know even less than Limbaugh about his subject,

I'm not defending Limbaugh's comment as a reasonable judgment about McNabb's quarterbacking skills. That's not the issue. The issue is about someone's PI opinion costing him his job. I'm not defending Limbaugh's assessment of the media's motives or the NFL's motives. To quote Eagles' owner Jeff Lurie again: " The onus is now how are you going to portray the sports you cover. Who are you going to allow to discuss it? That's what it's all about fairness, civility, a lack of bigotry and racism." Now, if that doesn't say it all, nothing does. Lurie makes it very clear that there is no room for any comment that even suggests that there might be any racial motives at all involved in professional sports coverage.

When one talks about sports in American media, one does not discuss race, period. That's it. That's what it's about. This is a joke, of course. America is an intensely racist country. But PC demands that we not discuss race or racism except to condemn racism (and I agree that institutional racism should be condemned and not practiced in the USA or anywhere else). But no one employed by the media is allowed to suggest that the media or the public and private institutions might be engaged in racist behavior. That kind of opinion is to be kept quiet, especially if one is not one of the officially oppressed.
I doubt very much that a professional sports organization would keep as their first-string quaterback anyone who was not equal to the task. Pro sports teams, after all, are all businesses and all about money. Having a second-rate player lead the team does not make dollars and sense. That suggests that Limbaugh's opinion is not well founded. But he lost his job because he was accused of racism and biogtry, not because he was accused of ineptitude in his sports-based analysis.
so who are you to judge whether what he said was fair comment?

And how much do you know about American football and the Eagles and McNabb? About American racism and the wide perception of reverse discrimination by the US government and US businesses anxious not to be hit with lawsuits for racism or sexism? Can you judge whether it was "fair comment"? I seriously doubt it.
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"I don't think he's been that good from the get-go. I think what we've had here is a little social ... a lot of credit for the performance of his team that he really didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."

The NFL is very embarrassed that it has a lot of black fans and players, but few black owners/coaches/quarterbacks. Rush, thinking he was still on radio, decided to express a trademark inflammatory opinion, and the NFL had ESPN stomp him like an insect, wiping their brows with relief that Dennis Miller was picked by ABC instead of Rush. Rush can go now back to the radio and be ignored by the majority of folks.
I'm not defending Limbaugh's comment as a reasonable judgment about McNabb's quarterbacking skills. That's not the issue.

I fully agree with Franke here. Nor is there unanimity about McNabb's abilities as a quarterback. Here's one dissenting voice: . I don't follow the NFL closely enough to have a fully developed opinion on how good the kid is. He was the QB the last two years when his team made it within one game of the Super Bowl. But the stats in the article I cited are pretty persuasive, and they don't make him look good.
The issue is about someone's PI opinion costing him his job. I'm not defending Limbaugh's assessment of the media's motives ... for any comment that even suggests that there might be any racial motives at all involved in professional sports coverage.

Limbaugh was expressing his opinions about the abilities of an athlete and the conduct of the media. He didn't come within a mile of suggesting that the quality of McNabb's play has any relationship to McNabb's race. I loathe his politics, but for all that I wish that, at a minimum, ESPN hadn't made him fall on his sword.

Excellent commentary, Franke, including of course what I snipped.

Bob Lieblich
Fair is fair
The inimitable (Email Removed) stated one day
"I don't think he's been that good from the get-go. ... that he really didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."

The NFL is very embarrassed that it has a lot of black fans and players, but few black owners/coaches/quarterbacks.

This is the NFL's political problem and the NFL should not be able to punish even scum like Rush Limbaugh for pointing out that it has a political problem,
Rush, thinking he was still on radio, decided to express a trademark inflammatory opinion, and the NFL had ESPN stomp ... ABC instead of Rush. Rush can go now back to the radio and be ignored by the majority of folks.

Yes, now that the problem is back under the rug, Rush can be his insect self in a minor medium retro-radio.
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The inimitable Robert Lieblich (Email Removed) stated one day
I'm not defending Limbaugh's comment as a reasonable judgment about McNabb's quarterbacking skills. That's not the issue.

I fully agree with Franke here. Nor is there unanimity about McNabb's abilities as a quarterback. Here's one dissenting voice: ... Super Bowl. But the stats in the article I cited are pretty persuasive, and they don't make him look good.[/nq]I don't know anything about the author, Allen Barra, but he is a sports writer (he says so in his article), and he admits to the charge Limbaugh made. As a former (during high school and college) footbal fan, I agree with you that those stats are persuasive. I also know that it is not unusual for someone who was as stellar as Barra says McNabb was in college football to be unable to live up to expectations and his reputation in the pros.

Sometimes these disappointing youngsters just drop out of sight, but sometimes they drag themselves up by the bootstraps and demonstrate that they are, in fact, as talented as they were thought to be. McNabb said that he was upset. Maybe that will motivate him to raise the level of his performance. If it does, he ought to thank Limbaugh for the kick in the pants.
The issue is about someone's PI opinion costing him his ... any racial motives at all involved in professional sports coverage.

Limbaugh was expressing his opinions about the abilities of an athlete and the conduct of the media. He didn't come ... ESPN hadn't made him fall on his sword. Excellent commentary, Franke, including of course what I snipped.

Thank you, Bob.
Rubbish. Commentators who don't know what they're talking about should be fired. Ergo, Limbaugh should be fired.

Your reaction is, as usual, laughable, Adrian. When ESPN hired Rush, they knew what they were getting. They hired him to generate controversy and interest, to increase their ratings, not to provide impeccable sports commentary.

I didn't say "sports commentators", I said "commentators". I know what ESPN's motivations were, and I'm sure that they and Limbaugh were both aware that not all controversy increases ratings.
(quote) "Rush is a great communicator and a fan's fan," Mark Shapiro, ESPN's executive vice president for programming and production, ... entertain and serve as a lightning rod for lively discussion makes him the perfect fit for this new role." (/quote)

What's the point of quoting gobs of PR?
It's clear that he was not hired to provide the kind of commentary that the former NFL players who also ... requires that one know what one is talking about and opinion which requires only that one can speak.

This is nonsense. ESPN didn't hire any Tom, Dick or Harry, they hired someone who's a fan of the game and good at speaking.
No one can be expected to have the "correct" opinions.

Did I claim otherwise?
Your basic premise that he always ought to know exactly what he is talking about is rubbish.

I take your point, but unless you've been hired (as a comedian might be) specifically because you know nothing about your subject, ignorance is a potential embarrassment both to you and to the station.
This kind of reaction is no different from the reaction of sponsors and others to Bill Maher's PI comments about the allgeged cowardice of the 9/11 hijackers.

Maher was right.
Your lack of understanding about why Limbaugh was criticized makes all of your comment here rubbish.

What lack of understanding?
While Limbaugh's opinion of McNabb's skills might have differed from those of the vast majority of informed sports writers, football ... That gave the sports network a sufficient amount of time to decide whether he knew what he was talking about.

Being knowledgeable about the game, more often than not he did know what he was talking about. The comment I made refers to the McNabb incident.
His audience during the second year of his employment, according to the article, was 10% larger than during the first ... on his outrageous politics ideas. Your inference that he didn't know what he was talking about in general is rubbish.

If that's what I inferred, you're right.
Finally, almost all the demands that he be fired were race-based.

What's the significance of this statement?
Another quote from the article to demonstrate that criticism of Limbaugh was not based on his lack of knowledge about ... to allow to discuss it? That's what it's all about fairness, civility, a lack of bigotry and racism." (/quote)

Lurie may have a political agenda, but he's free to make his comments and ESPN are free to ignore them.
This is the tenor of most of the criticisms of Limbaugh's opinion. They were not complaints about the accuracy of his athletic analysis, only about his personal prejudices. That means that your initial comment is nothing but rubbish.

Not at all. The problem is that while he is knowledgeable about the game, his prejudices have coloured his understanding of certain issues. He said something stupid and ignorant because of his prejudices. The criticisms go hand in hand.
It's obvious from your comments that you know even less than Limbaugh about his subject,

I'm not defending Limbaugh's comment as a reasonable judgment about McNabb's quarterbacking skills. That's not the issue. The issue is about someone's PI opinion costing him his job.

It's very easy - and glib - to say someone lost their job because they were "politically incorrect". It's like politicians promising to great applause that they're going to cut "red tape" when what they really mean is that in order to save a few bucks they're going to make the country less safe for its people. Limbaugh is "politically incorrect" all the time without having to resign. What he did here was beyond "politically incorrect". He not only proved to be a liability to ESPN, he showed himself to be damaging to the future of his country.
I'm not defending Limbaugh's assessment of the media's motives or the NFL's motives. To quote Eagles' owner Jeff Lurie again: ... for any comment that even suggests that there might be any racial motives at all involved in professional sports coverage.

Lurie went too far and I disagree with him.
When one talks about sports in American media, one does not discuss race, period. That's it.

That is a shame.
That's what it's about. This is a joke, of course. America is an intensely racist country. But PC demands

Political correctness "demands" nothing.
that we not discuss race or racism except to condemn racism

Nonsense. Limbaugh could've discussed the issue of quarterbacks and race in different terms and still be in his job.
(and I agree that institutional racism should be condemned and not practiced in the USA or anywhere else). But no one employed by the media is allowed to suggest that the media or the public and private institutions might be engaged in racist behavior.

Not true. I see that you're trying to unpick Limbaugh's comments, but the problem isn't that he critised the media, who are fair game, but that he implied that blacks aren't good enough to be quarterbacks.
That kind of opinion is to be kept quiet, especially if one is not one of the officially oppressed. I ... job because he was accused of racism and biogtry, not because he was accused of ineptitude in his sports-based analysis.

Ineptitude is ineptitude. You are the one who believes that one kind matters and the other doesn't, not I.
so who are you to judge whether what he said was fair comment?

And how much do you know about American football and the Eagles and McNabb? About American racism and the wide ... be hit with lawsuits for racism or sexism? Can you judge whether it was "fair comment"? I seriously doubt it.

You seem to want to defend racist comments, on the basis that to punish them is the worse of two evils. I agree with you to some extent. Political correctness is a dangerous cult. Free speech is sacrosanct. But we're not talking about court here, or jail, we're talking about terms of employment. Employers must have the right to fire workers who harm their business. If they weren't allowed to do so, that would also be a form of that political correctness you rail against.
You're right when you say that the US is horribly racist. It's a widely held belief there that blacks don't make good quarterbacks. This belief is based on the further belief that blacks are dumber than whites. But it is a fact (that should be better known and understood) that whatever racial differences there are in mental capabilities they are not so large as to make anything but the tiniest difference in the ratio of quarterbacks, or scientists, or politicians, or gas-station attendants or whatever.** Either Limbaugh didn't know what he was talking about or he was being deliberately malicious.
**The research I did into the poor take-up of foreign-language courses by boys at secondary school showed similarly that the belief that boys are worse at languages than girls is just prejudice, not to mention a handy excuse for not tackling the problem.
Adrian
The NFL is very embarrassed that it has a lot of black fans and players,but few black owners/coaches/quarterbacks.

I'm not sure it should be. Most people have enough common sense to understand that these things can't be changed overnight and to attempt to do so would be as unfair as the status quo.
Adrian
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