Rush On Limbaugh
It’s no secret I am not a fan of conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. That does not mean I don’t respect the guy for the millions he has earned milking the political juices from his loyal following. Hell, I don’t even own a radio so I obviously don’t listen much. The “listening” comes from snippets of video clips mostly his enemies play on MSNBC-TV. Usually they are unflattering and outrageous.
As a result of being an open-minded guy, I downloaded the transcripts of his interviews with Greta Van Susteren aired on the Fox network this past week. Greta did a good job, journalistically speaking. For the most part Limbaugh was candid and spoke on current issues with a point of view of which I disagree. But, that’s OK. I would have preferred he offer an alternative to improve the health care system other than we can’t afford it. Not OK, but, that’s Rush. In fact, I was willing to cut this guy a lot of slack, trying to take his conservatism seriously.
But, it was the last several minutes of the final segment that totally blew my mind and realized this guy can’t be taken seriously. Van Susteren asked Rush how he maintained his radio popularity for so many years, a record almost unheard of in the industry. Amazing in that he survived charges in connection with his addiction to prescription drugs and fired from a network sports television show for racial remarks slurring black quarterback Donovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles. Here’s the transcript on the segment that rattled my mind:
And I was — you know, I made a deep connection with the audience. I mean, there was a whole bunch of Americans who were conservatives and never saw their viewpoint reflected in mainstream media news coverage. So here comes me. And I — you know, I’m not a Svengali. I’m not creating (INAUDIBLE) robots. I’m simply validating what people already believe. And they’re going, Yes, yes, I like this guy! He says what I think.
So I got a head start, so I’ve got this deep font of loyalty with this audience. And I — you know, it’s been 21 years on August 1st. But I — when I sit down at that microphone, my expectations of myself are — well, I do everything for the audience. Everything I do is for the show. And I will never phone it in because I’ve got too much respect for the audience. I will always give it my best shot every day.
What happened yesterday doesn’t count or 10 years ago doesn’t count. I don’t remember — if you had asked what I talked about yesterday, I could give you a broad paintbrush health care. Specifics, I don’t know because I’m thinking about tomorrow. And it’s — I think it’s a respect for the audience, respect for their intelligence, and a deep appreciation for what they have meant to my life.
My parents wouldn’t understand my life. They didn’t think it would be possible for some guy who refused to go to college to have this kind of success. They came out of the Great Depression. This just wasn’t possible.
And I owe all of this to a devoted and loyal audience who stuck with me through all these years. Why they do it? It’s a good show. It’s a fun show. It’s positive. People don’t want to be beat up every day with, This caffeine product is going to kill you, or, The seas are rising and New York’s going to get flooded. They want to hear about greatness.
They want — people want to be inspired! People want to be motivated. They want their positive thoughts validated. They don’t want to hear every day how everything’s going to hell in a handbasket and there’s a shortage of handbaskets. They don’t want to hear this. That’s what gets ratings on television.
I have shown you get ratings on radio being positive, respecting the audience, being inspiring and motivational at times, when it’s necessary. I just try to share as much of my life experience with everybody because I — it turned out pretty well. I’m very proud of it.
Positive? Until portions of the transcript printed above, he spent all his time trashing the Obama administration and calling the president and his political agenda everything short of traitorous. He said the Democrats are destroying America and he puts his love for his country above politics. He even would vote for a Democratic presidential candidate if he believed the person was a true conservative. He wants Obama to fail because it would save America.
Limbaugh should check his inflated ego at the door and listen to himself. It would validate his gig. A showman. Plain and simple. Playing to the masses. A funny guy in a macabre fashion.
But, positive? I don’t think so. In my mind, positive is offering something constructive.