While working out in the wee hours of the morning today, I heard this interesting story on MSNBC. Some South Florida Democrat with a lack of Constitutional knowledge wants to revoke a radio station's access to vital hurricane information because it airs Rush Limbaugh. The story can be found on The Miami Herald's website, but I could not find it on any of the big 3 cable networks' websites.
Apparently, Broward County (remember that from 2000?) Commissioner Stacy Ritter refused to designate Miami radio station WIOD 610 AM as the region's emergency hurricane information broadcaster solely because Rush Limbaugh is on it. She said,
We want to cancel this contract here because we don't want to have our hurricane information on the station that Rush Limbaugh is broadcast on, and Sean Hannity. (source)
Rush, ever the inappropriate comedian, called Ritter "a babe" after he saw her photo in the Herald. He also commented on their shenanigans, saying:
...[L]iberals in the face of utter disaster will not tune to the station to get information because my show is on it. So who is stupid here? This is politicizing a nonpartisan issue. Hurricane emergency information is nonpartisan. (same source as above)
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with El Rushbo. Any type of emergency information supersedes political ideology, and any attempt to revoke that based on ideology by the government is suppression of free speech. WIOD has a large reach, and therefore can reach a lot of people, so it's the logical choice for emergency information.
I look at it this way: let's say the tables were turned, and a Republican county commissioner decided to decline giving emergency information to a progressive station, even though it had the furthest reach. I would be up in arms at this obvious subversion of the First Amendment. Therefore, I have to support Rush in this battle, similar to how the ACLU supported him during his OxyContin troubles.
I have a couple of gripes, though. First of all, why can't the Broward County commissioners give every station emergency hurricane information? It's called a broadcast for a reason, and limiting the information to one station, regardless of reach, means that it will not reach as many people as it could if it were given to multiple stations. I'm sure that every county, city, or state has similar deals in place, but that's not the way it should be.
Second, in spite of his obvious disagreement with Ritter's statement, he still doesn't like that his show can be pre-empted by these emergency warnings, or even preparedness warnings (which are as important, in my opinion). Reading another Herald story on-air, he said:
"On the air Wednesday, Limbaugh joked that under the deal, the county would have the power to preempt his midday broadcast." They quoted me accurately here. I said, "All these idiots on the Broward County Commission have to do is schedule their press conferences from noon to 3," and by the terms of the deal, if they want to do a three-hour press conference, they can preempt my show that day. In fact, they could do it today. They could schedule a press conference, not emergency information, but preparedness and things you could do. These people are just blooming idiots. (same source as above)
So, Rush despises using politics with emergency information, and then plays politics with emergency information. Do you honestly think that the rest of those commissioners have it out for you bad enough to want to pre-empt only your show to broadcast "preparedness and things you could do" without just cause, just because they're all Democrats?
Dream on. The other commissioners said that they don't listen to you and don't really care about you. They want to ensure that the right information reaches the right people, their constituency, expediently. If it happens to be from 12 to 3, so what? It could be all day for all I care. Alleging that Broward County officials (save Ritter) want to prevent people from listening to you by using this designation to their advantage is baseless.
Rush finished off with this gem:
I'll tell you what's going to happen tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, there will be a press conference or a little statement that will go out, a sunshine emergency declared in Broward County, press conference at noon, drought emergency press conference at one. (Laughing.) How to protect your skin. (same source as above)
There you go again, Rush. Thinking your views are relevant. But then again, you have the right to say them, and I have to defend it. That's what true patriots do — protect speech they don't like too.
By the way, WIOD will likely get to keep their emergency broadcasts.