A Rush to Ruin
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P.J. O‚ÄôRourke: ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs the twilight of the radio loudmouth, you know? I knew it from the moment the fat guy ‚ÄĒ‚Äú
Host Bill Maher: ‚ÄúYou mean Rush Limbaugh and Sean ‚Äď‚ÄĚ
O‚ÄôRourke: ‚Äú‚Äď from the moment the fat guy refused to share his drugs....‚ÄĚ
Maher: ‚ÄúYou mean the Oxycontin that he was on?...Why couldn‚Äôt he have croaked from it instead of Heath Ledger?‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ HBO‚Äôs Real Time with Bill Maher, February 8, 2008.
Democrats inside and outside the Obama White House have declared a Public Enemy Number One, and it isn‚Äôt some vague concept like Poverty or Terrorism or Cancer. It‚Äôs a radio talk show host named Rush Limbaugh. Over the years, liberals haven‚Äôt just wished his wildly popular radio program would fail. Some have wished he were dead, on national television.
On October 13, MSNBC host Chris Matthews compared Limbaugh to Mr. Big, a villain in the James Bond movie Live and Let Die: ‚ÄúI have to tell you, Rush Limbaugh is looking more and more like Mr. Big, and at some point somebody‚Äôs going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he‚Äôs going to explode like a giant blimp. That day may come. Not yet. But we‚Äôll be there to watch.‚ÄĚ
On May 9, Obama-supporting comedian Wanda Sykes was selected by the White House Correspondents Association as their annual dinner entertainment. It was unclear whether Sykes was joking or just editorializing when she claimed that when Limbaugh said he hoped Obama fails, she declared, ‚ÄúHe wants the country to fail. To me, that‚Äôs treason. He‚Äôs not saying anything differently than what Osama bin Laden is saying. You know, you might want to look into this, Sir [to Obama], because I think maybe Rush Limbaugh was the 20th hijacker, but he was just so strung out on Oxycontin he missed his flight....Rush Limbaugh, I hope the country fails, I hope his kidneys fail, how ‚Äėbout that?‚ÄĚ
The media‚Äôs guardians of civility, the same people who arranged this national stage for death wishes, could barely speak a discouraging word. NBC briefly cited the joke ‚Äúsome say‚ÄĚ went ‚Äútoo far‚ÄĚ as they highlighted their story‚Äôs larger theme on screen: ‚ÄúIs Limbaugh a Liability To The GOP?‚ÄĚ (It wasn‚Äôt: ‚ÄúIs Sykes a Liability To the National Media?‚ÄĚ) CNN offered both Sykes and Limbaugh their award for ‚ÄúWingnuts of the Week.‚ÄĚ
Limbaugh recently joined a group seeking to purchase the National Football League‚Äôs St. Louis Rams, which spurred the latest attempt by the American Left to drive Limbaugh off the radio and far away from a place in the mainstream of American life. Limbaugh and his tens of millions of listeners are routinely placed by the media on the menacing fringes.
Almost from the beginning of his nationally syndicated radio show in 1988, Limbaugh has brought out the worst in journalists who are supposed to honor fairness and accuracy. They have presented Limbaugh not merely as a commentator, but as a clear and present danger who must be curtailed. Network stars have showed more neutrality toward the humanity of Saddam Hussein than they allowed for an American talk-radio host.