Special Report

Double Standards: Rush, Schultz, and Olympic Hypocrisy

Carbonite takes a loss dropping Rush but sticks with leftist Ed Schultz; and the castigation of Olympian Peter Vidmar.

By 8.9.12

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So. Can you say "double-standard"?

Doubtless you saw this story on Carbonite last week from the always informative William A. Jacobson over at Legal Insurrection.

Carbonite, you will recall, is the online data backup company that abruptly pulled its sponsorship from Rush Limbaugh's show over the Sandra Fluke dust-up. (And in case you missed it, Ms. Fluke spent time yesterday introducing President Obama on the campaign trail.) 

In a spot-on piece of reporting, Jacobson wrote of the economic fallout of Carbonite's move:

On August 1 Carbonite released its 2d Quarter 2012 results, the first full quarter after dropping Limbaugh in March. The results shocked Wall Street, as Carbonite did not meet its growth targets, causing multiple analysts to drop the target price. The stock dropped 15% in a day. (h/t reader W)

Most important, in a conference call held on August 1, the CEO David Friend admitted that dropping Limbaugh damaged Carbonite's growth, and is likely to do so for at least one or two more quarters.

Jacobson quotes directly from a conference phone call with financial analysts made by Carbonite's CEO Mr. Friend: "It turned out to be a bigger hole in our revenue than we had thought when we initially did this."

Friend then added: "However, I don't think there was any, I'm not regretful of the decision, I think things would have been worse had we not done that."

Jacobson concludes by stating the obvious:

The last statement by Friend, that the damage would have been worse had Carbonite not dropped Limbaugh is laughable. Friend has been caught doing serious damage to shareholders based on a political decision which was taken precipitously on a Saturday night. It's too convenient now to say things would have been worse, when Friend completely misjudged the impact of dropping Limbaugh.

So what's new today?

Take a look over here at the radio show website for left-winger and MSNBC TV host, the far-left Ed Schultz. You know, the Ed Schultz who, exactly like Rush, got into a sticky wicket for referring to a woman as a "slut." In Rush's case the target was left-winger Sandra Fluke. In Schultz's case it was conservative Laura Ingraham. Specifically, recall, Schultz called Ingraham a "right wing slut" and a "talk slut."

As with Rush Limbaugh, Schultz apologized.

There the similarity ends.

When one scrolls down on the site for Schultz's radio show -- right now -- what does one see?

You got it. An ad for Carbonite.

Or better yet, here's Ed himself, exclaiming that "Carbonite keeps my computer files safe, with automatic backup and easy recovery. I love it!"

So what do we have here? Remember the officious umbrage (aka B.S.) that came from David Friend about Rush? This statement, issued at 6:45 p.m. on a Saturday night in March:

No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.

Since both conservative host Limbaugh and left-wing host Schultz got in trouble for using exactly the same word about a woman -- that would be the "s" word -- one would think that if in fact David Friend and Carbonite were genuinely offended, Friend and Carbonite would, even now, have issued a statement on Schultz that matched the one for Limbaugh. Saying something like this:

No one with daughters like Laura Ingraham, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Schultz, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Ingraham, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Schultz has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.

But of course, this is not what happened.

What was the Carbonite sauce for Rush's conservative goose was not -- and quite apparently will never be -- the Carbonite sauce for Ed Schultz's left-wing gander. Carbonite marches on with Ed Schultz, shoulder-to shoulder, locked arm and arm, only too happy to keep sponsoring Schultz's show, the "s" word controversy be damned. And also recall that Sandra Fluke herself happily appeared on Schultz's TV show during the Rush episode. Obviously, she had no problem with Schultz using the "s" word, or she would never have given him the time of day. 

Now.

What does this Grand Canyon-sized double standard really tell us? What can be learned from Carbonite's decision to drop Rush but stick with Schultz -- and David Friend's careful acknowledgement that in fact yes, the company has paid and is in fact still paying a financial price for this?

Several things, all of which are relevant to the next few months leading up to the Obama-Romney face-off in November.

First, remember that in this space at the time of the Fluke controversy, we did a little checking on David Friend's political leanings.

We wrote at the time:

Here's the list of just where David Friend spends his political money:

MoveOn.org, America Coming Together and Democracy for America, all three listed here as George Soros funded groups, the latter set up by Howard Dean. Texans for Truth also drew Mr. Friend's support. This group, according to Wikipedia, was set up by MoveOn.org spin-off Drive Democracy.org in 2004. Why? To… wait for it… challenge then-President Bush's service in the Texas National Guard. The precise same stunt for which CBS fired Dan Rather after documents were discovered to have been forged. The Bush-Cheney campaign said of Texans for Truth that it was "a smear group launching baseless attacks on behalf of John Kerry's campaign that will be rejected by the American people." They were. But that didn't quench Mr. Friend's affection for either the smear campaign or supporting leftist candidates such as Howard Dean, and John Kerry.

The American Left -- whether it appears in the personage of Carbonite's CEO David Friend or some media grandee on the networks or in the print media -- love to preen about being oh-so-objective and above-it-all.

When in fact these people are exactly the opposite.

They are hard-core political partisans with an agenda -- a leftist agenda -- which they will, 24/7, move heaven and earth to promote. And woe betides the one who has the chops to disagree.

Behind the public mask of David Friend the Carbonite CEO, is the real face of leftist MoveOn donor David Friend. He has not the slightest regret about using his public company to slice-and-dice Rush, but will never in an eternity abandon leftist Ed Schultz. Losses for Carbonite and its investors be damned, in the face of a hole blown in the company's earnings because of his anti-conservative political bias, Friend says: "I'm not regretful of the decision."

Doubtless exactly true.

LET'S TAKE ANOTHER EXAMPLE of how this game is played. Reader Marcia Ross has directed my attention to the tale of former Olympic champion Peter Vidmar. In 1984, Vidmar was a young gymnast on the American Olympic team. The team captain, in fact. He won two gold medals and a silver. Peter Vidmar was effectively the Gabby Douglas of the day.

Flash forward to 2011. Mr. Vidmar is now 49. He is a considerably accomplished man, described this way by reporter Trent Toone in a story in the Deseret News of Salt Lake City:

Since winning two gold medals and a silver about 28 years ago, Vidmar has written a book, worked as a television gymnastics commentator, found success on the corporate lecture circuit and remained intimately involved with his sport as chairman of the board of USA Gymnastics. He also serves as vice chairman of the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, on the Board of Governors for the Cause for Hope Foundation, and is vice president of the Orange County Youth Sports Foundation, a program that benefits underprivileged kids. Additionally, the husband and father of five is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and actively serves in various capacities.

With his considerable background as Olympic champion, fitness advocate, and supporter of underprivileged kids, Peter Vidmar was selected in 2011 as the chef de mission for the 2012 American Olympic team. The position, filled by the U.S. Olympic Committee board of directors, is an honorary one that includes a leadership role in dealing with the American athletes and working with the various Olympics committees.

So far, so normal. Right?

Wrong.

Mr. Vidmar -- like Mitt Romney a Mormon, and like President Obama in 2011 a believer in traditional marriage -- was abruptly targeted for his political beliefs. It seems Californian Vidmar had given money to support California's Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that opposed gay marriage. And, in the non-violent tradition of Americans like Martin Luther King, Vidmar participated in two peaceful demonstrations, in this case in support of traditional marriage.

Results?

Vidmar's appointment as the American Olympic Committee's chef de mission was suddenly declared controversial. As is seen here in this USA Today story, the left-wingers in the Olympic movement pounced.

Aimee Mullins, a former president of the Women's Sports Foundation who was announced as chef de mission for the U.S. Paralympic Games at the same time, pronounced herself "concerned and deeply saddened," saying "The Olympic movement is about promoting equity for all."

So poignant. So above it all, yes?

And who is Ms. Mullins supporting for president this year? According to the FEC, one "Aimee Mullins" of New York City is a contributor to the campaign of…Barack Obama.

Another, Johnny Weir, an Olympic ice skater who is gay, said:

It's wrong. I certainly wouldn't want to be represented by someone who is anti-gay marriage. It isn't just about marriage, it is being allowed equal rights as Americans. The fact this man who is very publicly against something that may be represented on the American team is disgraceful.

So Peter Vidmar, for doing nothing more than exercising his constitutional right to free expression, gracefully decided to voluntarily step down from his appointment as chef de mission. In a precursor to the Chick-fil-A controversy (as noted earlier this week in this space) the gay totalitarians were on the march. They wanted Peter Vidmar's scalp, and they got it. In the Vidmar case, a thoroughly decent and good man of considerable achievement was made a symbol of controversy for no other reason than that he has a personal point of view and exercised his constitutional right to free expression.

Meanwhile, Aimee Mullins, who appears to be the same Aimee Mullins listed in that FEC report as an active contributor to the controversial Barack Obama? There's not a chance in the world that her personal political views will cause a controversy in her identical role with the Paralympics.

ONE CAN SURVEY American culture across the board, and the double standard in evidence here abounds.

There is one standard for liberal women, and another for Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. There is one standard for NBC, and another for Fox News. There is one standard for any liberal black man, and another for Florida's conservative Congressman Allen West or Justice Clarence Thomas. If some liberal Hollywood actor is pro-gay marriage, no problem. If conservative actor Kirk Cameron believes in traditional marriage, he's pilloried by one anti-free speech Hollywood zealot after another.

Perhaps most importantly, there is one standard for Barack Obama, and a quite different standard for Mitt Romney -- exemplified most recently with comparisons between Obama's trip abroad as a candidate in 2008 and the media coverage of Romney's recent trip to Britain, Israel, and Poland.

Which is why each single piece of "news" coming forth in the next several months until the election will deserve every bit of analysis and scrutiny available.

Because just as Carbonite's CEO presented himself as one thing when in fact he was something else altogether -- with one standard for Rush and a different one for Ed Schultz -- so too will every leftist out there in the media and the larger culture present themselves as one thing when in fact they are something else altogether.

The good news?

When Carbonite grudgingly admits that turning on Rush produced "a bigger hole in our revenue than we had thought when we initially did this," it means one thing, and one thing only.

All the rest of us are on to the game.  

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.