For all the rage that talk radio broadcasts at the outside world, never forget how much its leading figures hate each other. Rush Limbaugh dismisses Bill O’Reilly as “Ted Baxter”: a pompous, ignorant blowhard. Sean Hannity resents and fears the upstart Glenn Back. Mark Levin seethes at his own under-appreciation. It bothers him that the so-called smart people don’t take seriously his Liberty and Tyranny. It vexes him that he does not receive appropriate credit for being the first to call Barack Obama a Marxist.
Now, in the wake of this atrocious crime in Tucson, it sends him over the cliff that some people have unfairly blamed Sarah Palin for inciting the crime. What has that bimbo got that I, Mark Levin, have not got? Why is nobody unfairly blaming me?
Those feelings explain this otherwise baffling tirade on Levin’s show last night.
I’m waiting for an allegation that is very specific against me because I’m going to sue.
I don’t care if they’re bloggers. I don’t care if they’re television hosts. I don’t care if they’re radio hosts.
I’m going to drag your ass into Federal Court.
Oh, you’ll have due process. They’ll all be nice and legal.
I’m going to personally depose you. I’m going to drag you in front of a jury. And I’m going to get your assets.
Somebody has to stand up to this. Somebody has to draw the line.
Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Joe Scarborough, test me. Test me. David Frum, you little weasel, test me. All of you.
I believe in the law. I believe in free speech. I believe in responsible speech. Now, you want people to tone it down? OK, good.
Anybody who accuses me of inciting mass-murder in Tuscon, AZ, is going to be sued. Period.
I don’t mean, ‘oh, his rhetoric is incendiary’. Anybody who tries to tie me to that monstrous event.
I’m going to tell you why. When you get behind this microphone everyday and you speak from the heart and millions of people are listening and family and friends they’re listening too. They’re affected by all these things.
Now, I’m a public figure, I’m a big boy, I can handle this. The question is whether these other boys can handle it.
You think I’m kidding? Try me! Because I’m not kidding.
The laws of libel are actually older than the First Amendment. And it is something I am prepared to use.
You’re on notice.
This outburst reminds me of the Jewish joke whose punchline is “Look who thinks he’s nothing.”
Mark Levin has indeed pushed the envelope of crazy and ugly on the air. And yes it would improve America if Levin toned it down. But he did not put gun sights beside Gabby Giffords’ name, and nobody has suggested otherwise.
Yet I am left with this troubling question on re-reading Levin’s monologue the morning after. Why the lawyerly – Clintonian even- precision of Levin’s “Anybody who accuses me of inciting mass-murder in Tucson, AZ, is going to be sued.” Why so specific? Are there other mass murders that Levin is more worried about?
UPDATE: Actually now there is somebody explicitly accusing talk radio of fomenting the Tucson shooting: a wounded survivor of the attack Eric Fuller, a 63-year-old veteran.
Will Mark Levin dare sue HIM? Or was it all cowardly bluster?
Posted at 12:05pm