Jewish World Review Oct. 3, 2003 /7 Tishrei, 5764

Joe Scarborough

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Hate-filled talk gets in the way of discourse | A few days back, "New York Times" columnist David Brooks bemoaned the fact that hateful, vicious and ignorant personal attacks have infected our politics. "The New York Times" columnist noted that it was not enough for Ted Kennedy to oppose the president's policies on Iraq.

Instead, he felt it was necessary to slander the president by calling him a liar who is guilty of bribery and who is also guilty for sending Americans off to die just so George Bush could win a few extra votes.

You know what? "The Times" columnist was half right about Ted Kennedy in our politics. As Rush Limbaugh knows all too well tonight, these deeply personal attacks are now spreading to conservative commentators who dare to do what liberals have done in the media world for years: Speak their minds.

But liberals have shrieked foul. And now they have launched an all-out war on the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and yours truly. Limbaugh is obviously target No. 1 because he is, quite simply, the most powerful political commentator in America and the world over the past 15 years. His radio show is heard by millions of people every day. And that show is largely responsible for putting the Republicans back in power and in control of Congress for the first time in over 40 years.

I guess that's why some liberals hate him so much and why Al Franken makes lots of money off of writing a childish book called "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot," once again proving that, if you can't beat somebody in America intellectually, then resort to calling them names.

Now, Limbaugh is being hung out to dry. The P.C. police struck again, much like they did with Bill O'Reilly a few months back.

The attacks keep coming because Bill O'Reilly is the most powerful voice in cable news today, and maybe in all of TV. Now, as for me, I have been a target of a nasty campaign by political extremists that are driven by hate and rage. And they have even accused me of murder. Now, they've done it to prove, in their warped minds, that this conspiracy of lies proves that the media is too conservative.

You know what? It is absolutely ridiculous. It is hate-filled. It proves once again that too many people out there are just are afraid to debate the issues and instead want to try to destroy people whose views they don't understand.

And you know what? The extremism — let's get this straight — the extremism comes from both sides of the political spectrum. You remember a few years back when Bill Clinton was accused of murder simply to prove political points by extreme right-wingers? Well, it goes both ways. And it is destructive.

It's not only destructive for our politics. It is destructive for our culture. And we have got to get ourselves straightened out or, pretty soon, public discourse is going to be reduced to this type of sewer talk.

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Former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) hosts “Scarborough Country,” 10 p.m. ET, weeknights on MSNBC. Comment by clicking here.

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