Sharpton wants FCC to shut down Limbaugh’s ‘racist talk’

By David Edwards
Tuesday, December 7, 2010 9:59 EDT
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It’s no secret that Rev. Al Sharpton isn’t a fan of Rush Limbaugh. Now Sharpton is hoping the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will finally do something about the conservative radio host.

Sharpton told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz Monday that he is conducting a series of meetings with the FCC to see if anything can be done to put a stop to what Schultz called Limbaugh’s “racist-type talk.”

“We have a series of meetings going on, and we’re going to see the FCC next week,” Sharpton said. “We’re not going to stand by and allow publicly regulated radio and television just go for marketing and promoting this kind of racism.”

Sharpton is upset that Limbaugh has repeatedly called Democratic policies “reparations” for slavery.

“The objective is unemployment, the objective is more food stamp benefits, the objective is more unemployment benefits, the objective is an expanding welfare state,” Limbaugh said on May 11. “The objective is to take the nations wealth and return it to the nation’s ‘rightful owners.’ Think reparations. Think forced reparations.”

On June 22, Limbaugh revisited the subject. “Obama’s entire economic program is reparations,” he said.

Schultz called Limbaugh’s words “racially-charged hate speech” and noted that Republican congressmen have picked up on the the theme.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) argued last week on the House floor that the claims of African-American farmers and American Indians who were discriminated against in the 1980s and 1990s by the Department of Agriculture are fraudulent.

“We’ve got to stand up at some point and say, ‘We are not gonna pay slavery reparations in the United States Congress,’” he said. “That war’s been fought. That was over a century ago. That debt was paid for in blood and it was paid for in the blood of a lot of Yankees, especially. And there’s no reparations for the blood that paid for the sin of slavery. No one’s filing that claim.”

“Rush Limbaugh has the right to say whatever he wants to say. He can’t do it, though, on publicly regulated air waves,” Sharpton noted. “The FCC has a responsibility to set standards, to say the public can not be offended based on their race or their gender in this country and use federally regulated airwaves that they give licenses to that are very competitive and the FCC is very selective based on standards.”

“How would you monitor racist-type talk on these radio stations that are publicly licensed by the FCC? How would do you this?” asked Schultz “They come back and say it’s freedom of speech.”

“Clearly I think that Rush Limbaugh’s statements would be over the top. You can’t say in the name of free speech you can say anything you want, when you are not allowed to do anything you want on radio stations and television stations. We can’t have standards everywhere but when it comes to race,” Sharpton said.

Conservative blogs have been on the attack against Sharpton ever since he first told Schultz in mid-November that the FCC should take action against stations carrying Limbaugh’s show.

“[T]he bottom line is that the left wants to find an excuse, any excuse, to grab the mike from the man who has wreaked so much havoc on their cause,” Mark Finkelstein wrote for Newsbusters.

This video is from MSNBC’s The Ed Show, broadcast Dec. 6, 2010.

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David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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