Sunday, May 07, 2006

The media's reaction: Kennedy vs. Rush

Mark Levin nails the media on his blog. The differences between the media's reaction to Kennedy versus their reaction to Rush-

Patrick Kennedy & Double Standards
05/05 04:37 PM
I don't wish anyone ill, except our nation's enemies. It's a good thing that Patrick Kennedy is going back into rehab. But I am very angry.

For nearly three years we witnessed the persecution of Rush Limbaugh, who became addicted to painkillers resulting from back and neck problems. We witnessed leaks by prosecutors who spread lies about him being involved in money laundering, drug rings, and doctor shopping. But the media happily repeated them. Some mocked him.

Rush got help. He has been clean for years. And in most cases, when someone becomes addicted to prescription drugs for the first time, the matter is eventually dropped. Most jurisdictions have set up drug courts for this very purpose. But that didn't stop the state prosecutor in Palm Beach County from spending hundreds of thousands of tax dollars pursuing Rush.
Early on, prosecutors claimed they had evidence of over ten felonies. They demanded that Rush plead guilty to some felony—any felony. He refused, always insisting on his innocence. So, they leaked more lies to the media, hoping to intimidate him. They seized his medical records. They gave his medical records to the media. The media took those records and turned them into graphics for television. Reporters and commentators were studying his prescriptions, discussing both the kinds and amount of medicine he had taken. They were beside themselves with glee. Newsweek, AP and the Palm Beach Post, Rush's local paper, were especially vicious, serving as lap-dogs for the prosecutors.

In court, Rush fought these people every step of the way—all the way to the Florida Supreme Court. He spent millions of dollars defending himself—despite the fact that he had been a first-time abuser, went to rehab, and was clean. And then last October, the lead prosecutor sauntered into court and in response to questioning told the judge—we have no evidence that Rush Limbaugh has committed any crime! None.

So, I am very angry. You will hear commentator after commentator speaking sympathetically about Patrick Kennedy and his addiction to painkillers. You will hear people say that he is addicted, he has a serious health problem, he deserves to be praised for his forthrightness today, and we should leave him alone. And many of these commentators will be the same people who were giddy in their ceaseless attacks on Rush.

I am angry at the double standard, where liberals are regularly treated one way and conservatives another. I am also glad Patrick Kennedy won't be abused as Rush was. But you can be sure that the next conservative with a problem won't be treated like Kennedy.

But there are some aspects to the Kennedy matter that require answers. If Patrick Kennedy, who is not a first offender, is addicted to painkillers, from where did he get them? And there are news reports that he had been drinking earlier at a Capitol Hill bar and alcohol was later smelled on his breath. So, why was the officer on the scene prevented by more senior police officers from performing a routine sobriety test?

I truly wish Patrick Kennedy well. But you bet I'm angry.

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