It’s hard to believe that conservative talk show titan Rush Limbaugh could hit a new low. But, yes, he proves periodically that he can sink lower in terms of taste, playing into the hands of those who consider talk radio “hate radio,” and making comments that denigrate or insult groups to which he doesn’t belong. And, most assuredly, dissing anyone who doesn’t have an “R” in front of his or her name. Limbaugh’s whole history has been of someone who since bursting upon the scene in the late 80s and gaining huge popularity has contributed to the coarsening of our nation’s political discourse, and to the steady polarization of our politics. Why? Because his show worked and made $$$$$, so many stations tried to clone him (with varying degrees of success) — and he started having GOP political clout.
But, rest assured: his career of going down in broadcast history as a talented broadcaster, a brand-marketing genius, and someone who lowered the bar so far that it hit and burst open a septic tank is most assuredly not over.
This latest episode raises the questions: (1)Is Limbaugh losing it? Why so thin skinned for a multi-millionaire who after blasting people on welfare or the minimum wage can get in his private jet and fly to another city for lunch? (2) Is there any depth to which he’d sink where the remaining advertisers don’t abandon ship?
His latest exchange came when he was upset over something CNN’s Don Lemon said. So Limbaugh went after the sexuality of Lemon, who in 2011 wrote an autobiography, “Transparent,” in which, among many other things, he noted that he was gay. (My review of it HERE.)
If anyone but Limbaugh said it, he or she would have been bounced off the air. In fact, only someone related to the nutcase UHF after hours TV shows in the 1960s could have possibly said what he did. Even the Limbaugh of 20 years ago would’t have stooped so low.
But Limbaugh seemingly writes his own rules, has created and moves in his own universe, and no matter how many sponsors he loses, most conservative radio stations love him. No matter what he says, many conservative listeners will repeat his assertions, run to his defense, try to change the subject, or blast those who dare criticize him — as if going on the offense obliterates what Limbaugh chose to say to maintain and build audience share.
However, this might cause even some of his loyal listeners to (at least for a mili-second) wonder whether when they spend time with Limbaugh they’re actually slumming:
CNN’s Don Lemon recently called Rush Limbaugh a “stunt king” for saying that LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling was in so much trouble because he hadn’t donated enough money to President Obama.
In response, Limbaugh randomly brought up the fact that Lemon is gay.
“Well, over at CNN, they interpreted that to mean that I was defending Sterling!” he said on Tuesday. “How did they get there? I don’t know how they get there. Erin Burnett played the sound bite and then went to Mr. Black Hole himself, Don Lemon—who sleeps with men, proudly—for comment.”
“Considering the source it’s not even worth a response,” Lemon tells TVNewser.
May I say “Ditto”?
But this speaks volumes about Limbaugh and our politics:
1. Lemon blasts Limbaugh. Fair enough.
2. Limbaugh responds by attacking Lemon’s sexuality. That suggests Limbaugh is peevish, or didn’t feel his explanation of what he said would be enough of explanation to negate what Lemon said, so he had to go on the offense.
3. Limbaugh gets away with saying something that would get any other broadcaster in any other market suspended.
4. Some of Limbaugh’s fans try to shift the discussion to Lemon or to CNN, or claim Limbaugh hit a home run — but, no, the issue here is Limbaugh’s attack.
4. He could has simply said his comments were misconstrued or distorted. But he had to go on the attack in a way that makes him truly seem in the same league as Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy.
Could Limbaugh be notably thin-skinned and/or trying to draw more attention to himself because of bad news from California?
SOME TWITTER REACTION:
Rush Limbaugh Wants To Remind You That Don Lemon Is A Big Gay – http://t.co/WZrkOppruc
— Queerty (@Queerty) April 30, 2014
— Steven Dundas (@padresteve) April 30, 2014
Rush Limbaugh Randomly Attacks Don Lemon for Being Gay http://t.co/9Tv95ESvHG
— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) April 29, 2014
STUNT KING!? Limbaugh Destroys Don Lemon: CRACKPOTS EVERYWHERE!: TweetUPDATED AUDIO TO INCLUDE SHATNER RIFF RU… http://t.co/CKDeKTAYbR
— The Bear News (@feedblaster) April 29, 2014