It has been fascinating to watch conservatives employ the Pee-wee Herman defense -- "I know you are, but what am I?" -- in their efforts to defend Rush Limbaugh.
Personally, I'm somewhat surprised by the current and continuing uproar over Limbaugh's remarks about Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student, not because they were so intemperate and over the top (they clearly were), but because nobody at this point should be unfamiliar with Limbaugh's shtick. Even so, the pressure on advertisers has been successful enough to alarm Limbaugh's supporters and sustain interest from other media, who -- especially on the left -- have enjoyed watching El Rushbo squirm.
At the same time, most of the efforts defending Limbaugh have been feeble at best, either trying to equate his attack on a private citizen with remarks about public figures, or grasping to find liberals and progressives -- including political satirists, such as Bill Maher -- who have said things they deem equally offensive.
Enter Media Research Center founder L. Brent Bozell III, who has been running around with his hair on fire (oh, wait, that's his natural color) trying to get someone, anyone, to listen to him.
First, he launched a petition on Limbaugh's behalf. His latest target: MSNBC, which -- now you better be sitting down when you read this -- employs liberals, who talk an awful lot about Limbaugh.
Apparently realizing this probably wouldn't come as news to MSNBC Prez Phil Griffin (pictured), Bozell has written to him and copied his boss' boss, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. This reminds me of Peter Chernin interviewing Roberts at The Cable Show two years ago and asking if he fully knew what he was getting into by acquiring NBC Universal, including MSNBC.
The odd part is Limbaugh's defenders are only helping to add fuel to a story that doesn't appear to represent an existential threat to the host, other than inconveniencing him and his syndicator. And speaking of hypocrisy, it's hard to top Bozell, who has -- through organizations such as the MRC and the Parents Television Council -- regularly advocated pressuring advertisers regarding personalities and programs of which he disapproves.
Myself, I've never much liked the tactic, either way, and I do find MSNBC's preoccupation with bashing Limbaugh tedious, mostly because he's such an easy and obvious target. But turnabout, as they say, is fair (and almost inevitably, hypocritical) play.