How low can you go? Rush sets the standard
David Montgomery in WashPost:
Possibly worse than making fun of someone's disability is saying that it's imaginary. That is not to mock someone's body, but to challenge a person's guts, integrity, sanity.See Fox's similar spot for Gov. Jim Doyle here.
To Rush Limbaugh on Monday, Michael J. Fox looked like a faker. The actor, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, has done a series of political ads supporting candidates who favor stem cell research, including Democrat Ben Cardin, who is running against Republican Michael Steele in a Maryland U.S. Senate race.
"He is exaggerating the effects of the disease," Limbaugh told listeners. "He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act....This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."
Limbaugh was reacting to Fox's appearance in another one of the spots, one for Democratic Missouri Senate candidate Claire McCaskill against Republican James M. Talent.
But the Cardin ad is similar. It is hard to watch, unless, for some reason, you don't believe it. As he speaks, Fox's restless torso weaves and writhes in a private dance. His head bobs from side to side, almost leaving the picture frame.
"This is the only time I've ever seen Michael J. Fox portray any of the symptoms of the disease he has," Limbaugh said. "He can barely control himself."
Later Monday, still on the air, Limbaugh would apologize, but reaction to his statements from Parkinson's experts and Fox's supporters was swift and angry.
"It's a shameless statement," John Rogers said yesterday. Rogers, Fox's political advisor who also serves on the board of the Parkinson's Action Network in Washington, added: "It's insulting. It's appallingly sad, at best."
"Anyone who knows the disease well would regard his movement as classic severe Parkinson's disease," said Elaine Richman, a neuroscientist in Baltimore who co-authored "Parkinson's Disease and the Family." "Any other interpretation is misinformed."
UPDATE: Rush Limbaugh is still a big fat ass. The Plank.
UPDATE 2: Brew City Brawler says McBride goes even lower.
UPDATE 3: The Recess Supervisor reviews the GOP response ad.
UPDATE 4: Katie Couric on her interview with Michael J. Fox.