US Talk Show Host Defends Video Game Free Speech

As the US Supreme Court battle for free speech in video games closes in, conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is adding his support for video games as art.

A Friday caller to Limbaugh's show quickly explained the details to the host, walking him through the upcoming Supreme Court hearing of Schwarzenegger vs The Entertainment Merchants Association and then asked what Limbaugh thought of the whole thing.

Limbaugh quickly throws his support behind video games, using the upcoming battle to talk about his take on the Fairness Doctrine and concerns of government being too heavy handed in personal choices.

"Join me any time the government tries to impinge on anybody's speech," he said. "Join me when the government tries to tell you can't eat trans fat. Join me when the government gets involved in all these other behavioural and speech things that they try to tell you and control us we can't do: What kind of car we have to drive, whether or not we're responsible for global warming, the kind of light bulb we have to have, where our thermostats are. Get on board, my buddy. If it's taken a video game to get you interested and have the light go off, to have you see what liberalism is all about, I'm glad to have you on our side, 'cause I agree with you. Leave your game alone. The people that put together these video games are artists in their own right. If you're gonna start saying that video games are raunchy, then how the hell do you leave cable television alone?"

Check out the transcript of the full call over on Limbaugh's website, and don't forget things get very real on this topic on Tuesday. We're sending Stephen Totilo to Washington DC to sit in on the hearing and cover what happens in person. Check back next week for our in-depth coverage.

Leave the Video Games Alone! [The Rush Limbaugh Show - Thanks uu7349!]


    Agreeing with Rush Limbaugh makes me feel dirty.

    As an atheist and libertarian I have many disagreements with Limbaugh, but I give credit where it is due.

    The man is quite correct that there is no rational basis for treating video games any differently from any other form of art.

    Every new form of art that came along was, at first, treated as a child-corrupting menace to society by both the left and the right. Computer Games have been attacked by both leftists and rightists; Hilary Clinton and Tipper Gore both argued that violent video games were dangerous and needed to be controlled in the name of "the children." Jack Thompson is well known as a conservative Christian.

    I admit I expected much less of Limbaugh. I'm genuinely impressed he managed to come to the correct conclusion on the issue of video games.

      As a fellow libertarian, though not atheist, I agree. There's plenty of things that infuriated me about Limbaugh, but like many partisan outlets, they are at their most truthful when the opposing party is in power.

      Limbaugh glosses over or rationalizes a lot of the problems with republicans, but since they've been out of power, he's definitely been working for the truly conservative position.

    This dude is such a douche...... But he might well be the only douche on our side.

    Mr. Totilo goes to Washington

    Evidently, he couldn't care less: games are just another excuse to spew conservative propaganda and, considering all the grandstanding they do - up in arms about movies and tv shows - this really doesn't make much sense at all.

    Despite that, more weight to the cause can't hurt - I can imagine if things tighten up in the US, our own laws are less likely to improve. :P

    It's highly naive to think that Limbaugh does this because he just so truly believes in the artistic quality of videogames. He, and pretty much every pissed-off conservative in the US, has been doing nothing but rattling cages unnecessarily and essentially throwing a huge tantrum ever since Obama won.

    Remember the "George W Bush might not have been the man you voted for, but he's our President so shut up"? What happened? Ever since Obama took the main job, every Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly has just been stirring up shit because as Cracked put it "To Fox News, Obama winning the election was like The Discovery Channel running Shark Week EVERY week. Because people will always be scared of sharks."

    I think if McCain won, Limbaugh will be singing a whole different tune about 'Us' vs 'Big Government'. F*** the hypocrisy of the Right.

      F%^^ the left.

      You are probably correct.

      On the other hand, the left are absolutely no better.

      During the Bush administration, they were (correctly) reminding us that dissent is the highest form of patriotism, that the executive branch of government had only limited powers, and that speaking out against war is not treason.

      Now that Obama has been elected, the left have suddenly changed their message to "anyone that opposes the Obama administration is a racist crank and anyone that preaches the doctrine that there are some things that the government cannot do is no different to Timothy McVeigh." And all those anti-war protests and anti-war political artists have now basically shut up!

      In short, the pattern of hypocrisy you point out ("he may be a bastard, but he's OUR bastard!") exists on both sides of politics.

    Ok for a second there I thought I was going to have to agree with the Magna Cum Douche. But in fact, I don't have to, because he doesn't know the meaning of the words liberal and conservative.

    Suggesting that videogames should be censored is a CONSERVATIVE move made my conservative people for conservative reasons. Anything that purports to protect the arts is by definition liberal.

    I hate how people take words and change what they mean.

      dude, i think it's you who needs to look up what conservative means. i'm no Limbaugh fan, but if you want to criticise him, at least have an idea what you're talking about.

      the conservative political philosophy seeks to conserve the status quo, as in keep things the way they are. seeing as Limbaugh has taken the position that there shouldn't be a change in the way games are classified, it is entirely consistent with conservative ideology.

        Mmmnah it doesn't really work that way Dave. If that were the case then Rush Limbaugh would be a progressive because he doesn't like the status quo under the Obama administration.

        One of the tenets of America's brand of conservatism is family values - which, to a lot of conservatives, video game and other media violence would come in direct opposition to. The more liberal a society, the less legislatively restricted it is - ergo, censoring games is, poltically, conservative.


          Then please explain why Tipper Gore and Hillary Clinton have been two of the greatests advocates of video game censorship.

          Please explain why the California law being taken to the Supreme Court is one that was passed through a Democrat-controlled legislature is one of the most Democratic-leaning states.

          Please explain why back in the 50's the primary leader behind the moral panic over comic books was Dr. Frederic Wertham; a progressive/leftist.

          The short answer is that there is a strong tradition within leftist thought that argues that media representations of reality (i.e. works of fiction) act to shape the beliefs of the individuals that view these works (i.e. that if someone only sees media representations of women as whores that like to be raped, they'll grow up thinking that women want to be raped), and thus that the State has an interest in regulating/controlling works of fiction.

          A side-effect of this viewpoint is the medicalization of social problems; seeing them as if they are ACTUAL pathologies. For instance, seeing criminals as 'sick' and in need of 'treatment.' Dr. Wertham was one of the primary exponents of this viewpoint.

          The idea that "liberalism equals less legislative restrictions" is, under the US definition of liberalism, not necessarily true. You must be thinking of libertarianism, or CLASSICAL liberalism (which is not 'liberal' in the current American use of the term).

          To say that "the more liberal a society, the less legislatively restricted it is" is only true under the classical meaning of liberalism. Under the current American meaning of "liberal," it is in many cases false.

            Matt, you need to stop seeing politics through a "conservative bad liberal good" prism.

            "The more liberal a society, the less legislatively restricted it is" is wrong. liberal, or left leaning governments have been traditionally FAR more willing to pass legislation regulating people's behaviour, at least in recent history.

            as StudiodeKadent said, i think you are confusing liberalism with libertarianism, which, despite sounding very similar, are actually almost polar opposite political philosophies.

    Uh can I just point out
    "whether or not we’re responsible for global warming"

    That's not a matter of free speech, or even a matter of any kind of speech. That's a matter of scientific research and throwing it in with everything else is just... well wrong.

    Yeah, kind of missing the point here. I was speaking in super general terms because we're talking about the way Rush Limbaugh uses those terms. Perhaps I got my conception of liberalism confused RE: classic and contemporary, but again, as I said, general terms. Al and Tipper Gore and Hillary are pretty close to the center for Democrats as far as the political spectrum goes. At no point did I say that left was good and right was bad - perhaps I should have included the word "generally," re: more liberal being less socially restrictive, but my definition still stands. But if you want to look at the alarmist media response to violence, if you want to look at moral panic (think 1980s Satanic Ritual Abuse), and if you want to look at family values - the "think of the children" mentality that is paramount to the current video game ratings legislation - then you - not exclusively, but by and large - look to the right of the political spectrum.

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