New York Times reporter turned left-wing online columnist Timothy Egan riled the right again in his Thursday evening entry, "Right Flight." Egan, who showed clear liberal slant when he covered the Pacific Northwest for the Times, has previously smeared Rush Limbaugh as like "salt on a slug," a "clown," and "a swollen, sweaty man." On Thursday, Egan claimed Limbaugh "has lost significant advertisers and whatever respect he still had among a handful of decent Republicans" for his remarks about Sandra Fluke (Egan left out Limbaugh's apology).
After bashing the Drudge Report (shocking), Egan went through his list of "fringe," "broadcast bullies" on the right.
The good news is that these people are talking mostly to themselves, from inside the much-ridiculed bubble that burst in spectacular fashion last November, while fewer and fewer voters are listening to them.
Yes, the pyramid of political dissemination is still in place: from Drudge, to Rush, to Fox, to Republican politicians in green rooms, trickling down to all the lesser Drudges and Rushes in the wacko-sphere.
All of which is to say Obama should have saved his breath for stronger targets when he went after the influence that kooks with microphones have on kooks in Congress. We might be able to solve more of our problems, Obama said last week, “if a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest.”
There followed the predictable faux outrage on a certain news network, under accompanied by the chyron: “War on Fox?”
Over the last year, Limbaugh has lost significant advertisers and whatever respect he still had among a handful of decent Republicans after he called the Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke “a slut” and “a prostitute.” Many in the press and on the political stage are still afraid of him, but they should remember the words of the late Molly Ivins: being attacked by Limbaugh, said the bard of Texas, “was an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn’t actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle.”
So yes, Fox and friends can still crush their own, as Obama noted. But that only drives the Republican Party further to the fringes. Virtually everything the broadcast bullies are against -- sensible gun measures, immigration reform, raising taxes on the rich -- are favored by a majority of Americans.