Political polarization has created a fascinating phenomenon, particularly in the media: the backlash to the backlash.
Something will happen, controversial or at least partisan, and there will be a reactionary and melodramatic backlash from the opposite end of the political spectrum. It’s what drives ratings for these 24-hour news organizations.
Then, after one side pummels the other for a day or two, there is an overreaction to the original overreaction (admittedly, in plenty of cases there are appropriate reactions).
In the case of Rush Limbaugh’s latest word diarrhea, the backlash to the backlash has actually turned out to be the more widespread phenomenon and continues to have legs.
Something truly amazing happened after Powers’ article and other media outlets got a hold of some of the liberal media members’ comments.
There appeared to be a reflection in earnest by those involved to say, “Yeah, we didn’t see it before. Liberals can be misogynists too.”
Bill Maher actually took to twitter and defended Rush Limbaugh saying that liberals are wrong not to accept his apology. Keith Olbermann actually apologized again for his disparaging remarks about SE Cupp and Michelle Malkin.
It even got to the point that Democrats in Congress were being asked about Maher’s remarks in the past and whether or not Barack Obama should give back the $1 million Maher gave to his Super PAC (they, of course, offered no comment and we know Obama isn’t giving that money back).
William Bennett, for whom this author has great respect, asked on CNN what President Obama would tell his daughters though, if he did keep the money.
This, of course, was a dig at the president, who said he called Sandra Fluke after she testified in front of Congress because he thought of Sasha and Malia.
Yes, it’s easy to apologize, to defend Rush Limbaugh, when the attacks have been turned around and the accountability is back on your shoulders.
If there is one positive to the partisan media we have in this country on both sides, it’s that it allows one to keep the other from this kind of double-standard.
Fox News, for all of their flaws, has Powers on as a regular contributor and her appearance earlier in the week really put steam behind the ideas in her article.
The liberal media was right to jump all over Rush for what he said just like Fox News and Powers, actually a liberal, was right to turn the finger around so it was pointed back at them for failing to hold liberal misogynists equally accountable.
In this case, the partisan media system worked. It doesn’t always, but this is a sensitive issue and the dialogue on both sides was both civil and effective. Maybe the media is finally growing up.