Stop Being Accessories to Crime

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Stop Being Accessories to Crime  (2012) 
by Stephen Ira Cohen
Source: 2012 Congressional Record, Vol. 158, Pg. H1157 Text at www.gpo.gov.
Speech in Congressional Record by Congressman Steve Cohen.
Video of speech in Congressional Record by Congressman Steve Cohen.

Stop Being Accessories to Crime


HON. STEPHEN IRA COHEN

OF TENNESSEE
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

STOP BEING ACCESSORIES TO CRIME

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Cohen) for 5 minutes.

Mr. COHEN. Madam Speaker, I came here to speak about a topic which I will address shortly, but I couldn't not take the moment to reflect on the passing of a great man who served in this Chamber since 1989, Representative Donald Payne of New Jersey, who passed away this morning. Representative Payne sat in this section, was a quiet, righteous, courageous man with whom I had the good fortunate to travel at the request of and sponsorship of CARE and the Gates Foundation to Rwanda and to the Congo last August.

He cared about children greatly. He cared about education. He cared about people, and was very upset some years back when Don Imus, the radio shock jock, said some wrongful things about the Rutgers women's basketball team that cost Mr. Imus his position. And that brings me to what I was going to speak about today.

Yesterday, I mentioned that I slept well on my Sleep Number bed, and I slept well on my Sleep Number bed last night because they canceled their advertising on the Rush Limbaugh show. I mentioned that advertisers are accessories to the crime when radio people go too far and destroy someone's character, or try to, and make libelous statements. Limbaugh did that when he called Sandra Fluke some names, said she did some things or whatever, that were wrong, totally wrong.

Eleven advertisers have pulled their advertising because they don't want to, in the future, be accessories to such conduct. Talk radio has gone way over the top in this country, doing anything for ratings and money.

It came to my attention that two radio stations have dropped Rush Limbaugh, and it's not just advertisers but it's radio stations that are accessories to the fact of this type of crime. It's not like we don't know it's coming because it's been out there for people to see for years, and they've sat by as this type of lies and hateful speech and wrongful speech has taken place on the radio, Rush Limbaugh being the main violator of people's rights.

I decided last night in my elections to come--and I've got a primary and a general--I've always bought billboard advertising, and Clear Channel almost has a monopoly in my city on billboards, and they have Rush Limbaugh on their network, that until they drop Rush Limbaugh, I'm not going to buy billboards for my campaign.

I'm also going to discontinue radio advertising on Clear Channel, which I've done in the past. It might hurt me a little bit politically, but it's the right thing to do. That type of conduct should not be advanced on the airwaves that are supposed to be for the public good. It's interesting to note that Don Imus' comments were about women, and Rush Limbaugh's comments are about women. It seems to be fair game sometimes for men on radio to take on women and cast aspersions.

Don Imus learned his lesson, and he said that Rush Limbaugh's apology was inadequate and weak and cowardly, and indeed it was. He hasn't called the lady. He hasn't come to Georgetown University and made amends to all those women whose character he impugned in misogynist statements, and he hasn't given a proper apology. He said he used inappropriate words. He was on an inappropriate topic. And Mitt Romney certainly didn't rise to the occasion when he said they weren't the words he would have used. It wasn't an area that anybody should have brought up or even thought about.

Limbaugh said that the woman wanted to be paid for sex because she, in his thoughts, wanted contraception so she could have sex without the fear of pregnancy. It's funny, Rush Limbaugh never questioned anybody getting a vasectomy, for what's the use of a vasectomy, that's covered by insurance, but to have sex without the fear or possibility of pregnancy. He said because she wanted sex paid for by the taxpayers that he ought to be able to watch it. Well, I wonder if he wants to watch all the men who had vasectomies have their sex.

There's something wrong in the country, and the advertisers and the radio stations are responsible, and they need to take appropriate moral and ethical action and not continue to be accessories to the fact and support such trash.

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This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).