Not being a regular, or even occasional, listener of Rush Limbaugh, I have no idea if this week’s obscene call for New York Times climate reporter Andy Revkin to commit suicide was simply par for the course. We all know that Limbaugh is an entertainer who is just doing what he needs to do to attract attention, maintain audiences and retain advertiser support. It’s a free country (for most of us). But I’m a journalist and I cover climate change, too. So this hits too close to home to ignore.
On Tuesday, Limbaugh’s radio show included this line: “Mr. Revkin, why don’t you just go kill yourself and help the planet by dying?”
Revkin, in a valiant attempt to keep the discourse civil, responded that
This might be funny, in a sad way, if it weren’t for the fact that my mailbox is already heaped with hate mail.
But I don’t see the humor at all. Such behavior is not just reprehensible, it’s an affront to decency and an abuse of First Amendment privileges, an abuse that should not be tolerated. Period. Anyone associated with the production, distribution or support of Limbaugh’s program, including the advertisers, must ask themselves some serious questions about their ethical standards.
Those who continue to listen to him are also condoning his behavior. I would even add that anyone who patronizes a firm or service that advertises on the program is also guilty by association. It is time for all decent Americans to pull the metaphorical plug and deprive the man of a platform to spread lies and hatred.