With Rush Limbaugh losing sponsors after his comments regarding a Georgetown law student/ political activist, some conservatives claim that there’s a double standard, with the media giving left-leaning celebrities a pass for stuff that would result in protests against conservatives. So they’re trying to come up with counter-examples. There’s some footage of conservative activists asking Democratic representatives to defend Bill Maher. An irony is that Maher is one of the few liberals to suggest that Limbaugh losing sponsors is a bad thing.
This is an attempt to create a false equivalency, which often occurs with scandals, and usually results in one side trying to become a caricature of the other. Limbaugh is criticized for something he said recently, so the discussion is ongoing. With Maher, conservatives are trying to get comments about stuff that happened months ago. While the Limbaugh thing is arguably a manufactured controversy, the Maher thing is unambiguously an attempt to manufacture a controversy.
Plus, Maher is a comedian, and doesn’t pretend to be anything different. Limbaugh was pissed when he was called an entertainer by the head of the RNC. David Axelrod will appear on the next episode of Bill Maher, although previous guests have included Herman Cain, Darrell Issa and Michael Steele. Maher did donate a million dollars to Obama’s SuperPAC and he has been recruited for a fundraiser for Alabama Democrats, but that makes him a passionate celebrity, rather than a power-broker. It seems unlikely that he will be considered an honorary member of the next Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, an honor Republicans bestowed on Limbaugh after the 1994 election.
Finally, the specific insults were different. Suggesting that someone’s a slut or a prostitute, as Limbaugh did, has a particular meaning. It’s meant to be taken literally. The problem with cunt and twat is that these are derogatory terms, not that they suggest something specific and untrue about Palin or Bachmann. The argument with these words is that no one should be called a cunt or a twat. Some women and men literally are prostitutes, so there are cases in which that word is true.
The attempt to equate Maher and Limbaugh is problematic for conservatives. It’s preaching to the choir, and turns off potential voters who don’t find the comparison to be exact. Searching for signs of misogyny in Bill Maher’s record also means that conservatives are ignoring other ways to use him to embarrass the Democratic party.