Rush Limbaugh said some mean things to a young woman, and is reaping the results of his remarks. Something like 100 advertisers have dropped his show, and the decency police don’t think he’s suffered nearly enough.Some on the right have looked at the left’s tolerance of self-confessed “pottymouth” Bill Maher and seen a double standard. Righties get it in the teeth for anything short of the finest chivalric behavior while lefties can slime women as much as they like, but because they are reliable supporters of organized feminist groups on reproductive issues they suffer no blowback.Much more troubling, at least to Via Meadia, is the example that NY Times columnist Nick Kristoff points to in this morning’s paper: Village Media, the company that owns the longtime (mostly) leftie newspaper the Village Voice also happens to own Backpage: a prostitution and pimping site that, Kristoff tells us,
accounts for about 70 percent of prostitution advertising among five Web sites that carry such ads in the United States, earning more than $22 million annually from prostitution ads, according to AIM Group, a media research and consulting company. It is now the premier Web site for human trafficking in the United States, according to the National Association of Attorneys General.
To be fair to the left, the Village Voice has long since lost its position as a flagship paper for leftie dissent in the United States. It has been some time since anyone at Via Meadia picked up a copy; last we looked it had become some kind of weekly shopping paper with a faintly counter-cultural air that mixed attacks on slumlords with sex shop ads in its time-honored way. (Apparently, at least some of the people who indulge in grubby sexual behavior like to salve their consciences by professing high ideals when it comes to economic issues that involve no inconvenient and annoying personal restraint. The Voice has been servicing this quirky demographic for decades.)Kristoff’s story focused on a 24 year old African American woman, now a college student with ambitions to practice law, who (while under age) was pimped out on Backpage for years. Read the whole story here.There is a difference between what loudmouths like Limbaugh and pottymouths like Maher do to women and what Backpage does. The difference is major and it needs to be socially marked.Clearly, the Village Voice staff should either walk away from its owners or the paper should close its doors from shame. There are some companies for which a person cannot work while maintaining the esteem of the community at large.Hopefully, Kristoff’s column will touch off a national firestorm of loathing and condemnation with right and left joining to make the owners of the Voice feel some of the pain and shame they have profited from in the past. The response to this column will give some real time information on whether the left’s anger at Limbaugh was grounded in a passionate moral commitment to the rights and the sexual freedom of women.Via Meadia is looking forward to the response.