S.E. Cupp’s Unhelpful Apostasy

February 20, 2013 | Filed Under Conservatives, Glenn Beck, GOP, Media, Policy, Republicans, Warner Todd Huston | 1 Comment

-By Warner Todd Huston

Youthful commentator S.E. Cupp of the lamentable MSNBC recently made some trouble for herself by an ill-considered slam on Rush Limbaugh. Then, she made it worse with a subsequent doubling down on her unhelpful and unnecessary attack.

For those unaware, S.E. Cupp is a young, conservative commentator that has been close to Glenn Beck–close as in his employee–and last year began a stint as the token conservative on an MSNBC show called The Cycle.

To catch you up on the controversy, Cupp was quoted in The New York Times saying that we should not be afraid to “call out Rush Limbaugh” when he does or says something she deems outrageous.

Unsurprisingly, Miss Cupp was cremated on Twitter for her slam on Rush. While much of the attacks she sustained on Twitter were over the top and unwarranted, the essential criticism of her position is correct.

Instead of taking the criticism, though, in a follow up column published on February 19 in the New York Daily News Miss Cupp doubled down on her position.

Her piece, headlined “I won’t be Rushed,” is a long one, but her position is summed up well in the subhead: “For the sake of conservatism, Limbaugh’s defenders need to get his fallibility through their heads.”

In her New York Daily News piece, Cupp, reinforces her point that as conservatives hoping to sway the public we should be quick to slam anyone on our own side that says something that detracts from our essential message. Yes, even if it is Rush Limbaugh, one of our most popular boosters.

This might seem reasonable. It might seem as if we are saving our integrity. But S.E. Cupp is wrong, wrong, wrong.

It might seem like an impossible situation for our representatives (both elected and figurative) to go before some maven of the old media who insists on throwing the latest outrageous thing Rush Limbaugh said in their face and demand they either agree with or denounce the radio giant. It puts us in a bad space right away when we are asked to answer to what someone else said.

For her part, S.E. Cupp used Rush’s “slut” comment as an example of that tough spot scenario. You might recall last year when left-wing, pro-infanticide activist Sandra Fluke was filling the news cycle, Rush’s response was to call her a slut for campaigning for government-supplied contraceptives.

So, if one is to react to something outrageous, then one is at a disadvantage. If what Rush said about Sandra Fluke is outrageous, if it is widely considered outrageous, and if one is asked to come down on that point, well it is an uncomfortable spot, for sure. And to S.E. Cupp, the solution to the tough spot is not to be afraid to slam Rush for being outrageous.

Her reason to slam Rush (or anyone on our side that makes outrageous statements) is so that we can retain our integrity. Again, this almost sounds like a sensible position to take.

But Cupp is not “getting” the whole approach we should be taking, here.

The proper strategy can be seen in how the left reacts to these same situations. The fact is, no one on the left ever accepts the concept that they should have to address the outrageousness of a comment when it comes from their own side–which happens daily, really.

The key to answering to these situations is not to denounce Rush… OR agree with him. The key is not to play the Old Media’s game and to change the subject without accepting the premise that the subject should be Rush’s (or anyone else’s) outrageous comment! This is what the left does in every single case when confronted with outrageous comments from people on their side. They refuse to answer the question, they stick to their message, they don’t attack their own, and they advance the ball EVERY time.

We make a great mistake to play the media’s game of finding someone on our side that we need to denounce. All it does is show our side in disarray, makes it seem as if there is infighting, and this overshadows our message. Further it is a game without end. We’d spend all day being forced to address these so-called outrageous statements and would fail to ever get our message out there if we keep falling for this left-wing, media-sponsored game.

So, when they confront you about what Rush or anyone else said, the correct response is to ignore their question, ignore what Rush said, stick to the message, and refuse to engage about Rush. The left does this EVERY time something outrageous is said by their fellows and they win the debate every time by doing so.

Now, granted there are times when something just needs to be called out. I agree. But those times will be few and far between and S.E. Cupp’s “Rush/slut” example does not rise to one of those times. But more often than not it does us no good to accept the Old Media’s premise and engage in the sort of finger pointing they want us to engage in. Ignore their effort to undermine our message. Stick to your points. Don’t let what someone else says distract you.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.



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