In the aftermath of the Tucson shootings, MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews suggested that alleged triggerman Jared Lee Loughner may have been incited by conservative radio hosts, and mentioned Mark Levin and Michael Savage by name. Levin is a lawyer, and he essentially is letting it be known that he doesn’t get mad, he gets even.
A threat of legal action from Levin is worthy of attention – his day gig is leader of the Landmark Legal Foundation, a conservative activist organization. Currently, its major targets are the NEA and activist liberal judges.
Matthews was criticizing conservative talkers when he brought Levin and Savage into the fray. According to reports, Matthews said, “Every time you listen to them, they are furious. Furious at the left. With anger that just builds and builds in their voice and by the time they go to commercial they are just in some rage every night with some ugly talk. Ugly sounding talk and it never changes.”
Levin has threatened to sue, and also has taken the occasion to defend Sarah Palin, who he also thinks has come under attack unfairly. He also dragged pretty much the entire MSNBC lineup into the debate. According to Mediaite, he offered a reward to anybody who can find a smoking gun that ties his remarks directly to any violence anywhere (with a terrorist caveat). “$100,000 on the table if Chris Matthews can find anywhere where Mark Levin has urged the murder of people who have different political viewpoints. That is, the murder of politicians…not talking about terrorists I believe they should be killed and as fast as possible and as many as possible. But I mean,where I have said ‘Go out there and kill XYZ!’ ‘Go out there and and Kill ABC!’ I challenge him right now…”
He went to dare anybody to accuse him of anything specific. “Test me,” he said, promising a visit to the courtroom if that test takes place.
RBR-TVBR observation: The United States enshrines freedom of speech as a guiding principle. We have no personal experience living in a place that seriously inhibits speech, but we suspect that there is no real way to stop it – all you can do is drive it underground. It’s better to get it all out in the open – remembering that the best antidote to ugly speech is by countering it with speech expressed under the same freedom.