Rush Has Gone Dangerously Mad

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Featured Commentary by Amy Beth Arkawy

Maybe it’s the diet pills that have Rush Limbaugh dishing out a combustible stew of red meat propaganda, fear mongering and Nazi name calling. The blow hard radio host, who claims to have dropped eighty plus pounds in mere months, can’t stop making ridiculous comparisons between President Obama and Adolph Hitler. To be fair, Rush also likes to call Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi a Nazi too. And just yesterday he asked, “Why can we NOT use Hitler?”

Media Matters the watchdog website that tracks all media, has archived all of Limbaugh’s defamatory dirges, as well as those of other bloviators like Michael Savage and Glenn Beck (who has been hemorrhaging sponsors from his FOX News Channel Show since his incredulous comment, “I think the President is a racist. He has a deep hatred of white people”). But besides MSNBC—where Keith Olbermann stands guard nightly as liberal pit bull—the mainstream media has largely ignored the rampant, racist rabble rousing.

My advice to friends who bemoan such shows is usually to ignore them too. Change the station, read a newspaper, pick up a book. I’m a big proponent of the First Amendment. I don’t condone censorship; unless it’s self censorship. I’m a radio talker myself. I know the drill. You’ll never make everyone happy. That’s not the gig. I know fans will say these guys are just entertainers, provocateurs; they’d say I’d be more successful if I were more obnoxious, more outrageous, more conservative.

That’s probably a fair assessment. But along with the power all that wattage behind the microphone affords, comes some responsibility. To facts, verbiage, society. And when radio hosts—especially syndicated stars who captivate millions of people every day—cook up undeniably racist rancor, they must be publicly chastised for it. By those of us in the media.

Limbaugh—who also fueled the whack job “Birthers’” Summer of Obama’s Dubious Citizenship—knows exactly what he’s doing. He wants to work his Ditto heads into a frenzy. He’s content to sit back, munch on his diet dinners while he watches the petulant parade of the misinformed storm the Health Care Town Hall Meetings in the name of righteous indignation. He loves it when they show up with signs brandishing Swastikas, slogans calling for bloodshed and defaced pictures of the President with a Hitler mustache.

He rejoices when some nutso strings up a congressman in effigy, when another yahoo shows up at one of these standing room only shout fests with a loaded gun strapped to his ankle in places like New Hampshire and Arizona that inexplicable allow such potentially dangerous behavior (and there are right-wing congressmen, cloaked in the Second Amendment, who go on TV and defend the practice).

He doesn’t let pesky facts get in the way of a robust rant, tosses around “death panels” with fear mongering aplomb and uses fascism, socialism and communism interchangeably, without ever explaining the concepts. I don’t think he’s ever outlined the real nuts and bolts of the proposed plans, or let anyone else do so. Remember Limbaugh is the guy who called Obama “halfrican American” and stirred the Rev. Wright pot during the election campaign.

He’s never disguised his blatant disdain for the President. Put simply: he wants to take Obama down. He’s said from day one, “I want Obama to fail.” I can’t think of a more un-American comment. Had some loco lefty (and there probably was) said such a thing, Rush and his bunch would have splattered red, white and blue paint all over his/her “unpatriotic” tongue.

Look, I don’t believe in ambush broadcasting. I decried the ex-Air America host—whose name eludes me as her career was quickly kicked to the curb—who called for George Bush’s assassination a few years ago. I think the so-called “911 Truthers”– who have been spewing all sorts of unsubstantiated garbage all over the Internet claiming Bush and Cheney orchestrated the worst terrorist attack in U.S, history for nearly a decade—are deplorable. Irresponsibility and hatred know no party lines.

Those of us in the media have an obligation to vet the facts and to be honest with our readers, listeners and viewers. We should encourage spirited, but respectful conversations; try to create a mosaic of voices that don’t sound like an echo. As Don Russell, a venerable host I had the privilege to work with at WGCH Radio always said, “You can disagree without being disagreeable.”

That’s not as provocative or entertaining, I guess. But after a summer of tumult, largely caused by hatred and misinformation, it’s time to do a reverse Emeril and kick it back a few notches. Who knows? Maybe we’ll actually learn something. It might even be a real health care reform bill passed.

Amy Beth Arkawy is a pop culture and politics junkie. She is also a radio talk show host and DJ. You can visit her blog, Radio Graffiti, here.

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12 Responses to Rush Has Gone Dangerously Mad

  1. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1MARK
    August 20, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    RUSH HAS A HIGHER IQ THAN THE WHOLE DEMOCRATIC PARTY COMBINED.. YOUR JUST JEALOUS.

    • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Larry Brown
      August 21, 2009 at 8:14 am

      Wow!! Snappy response. Bet you stayed up all night thinking that one up. Aspiring to be fat, dumb, and ugly is no way to grow up son. Why won’t Limpballs ever leave the studio to debate anybody? He won’t let himself be put in a position of being challenged. He can’t hang up on a challenger who’s sitting in the same room.

    • Vote -1 Vote +1Shana
      August 21, 2009 at 8:46 am

      Not even mathematically possible. But good try.

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1Sean
    August 20, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    You make some good points.

    As a Republican I can’t stand Rush, I do Savage because he is more entertaining.

    I have to ask you if there are any hosts on the radio that are truly fair and what does it say about our society currently that Rush is so popular?

    • +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Amy Beth
      August 20, 2009 at 2:00 pm

      Sean: I agree Savage can be entertaining, but he’s also very angry. And, I think it’s that anger, to answer your popularity question, that fuels the success of these shows. A lot of people are scared therse days; they don’t know how to improve their economic lives; and are groping for answers, The easiest thing to do is to blame someone… and radio and TV hosts are good at creating boogeymen. I guess I wish folks would do their homework and study the issues and then listen to an array of opinions.

  3. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Sean
    August 20, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Oops, meant to say I do like Savage.

  4. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tip Top
    August 20, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    It’s the OxyContin speaking. That’s the clue to Rush’s weight loss.

  5. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Mediaspin
    August 20, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    “My advice to friends who bemoan such shows is usually to ignore them too. Change the station, read a newspaper, pick up a book.”

    More or less common sense, don’t you think! People LOVE to ignore Rush! Their problem is……they can’t! he’s quite a stumbling block to those who try to ignore him!
    Mediaspin!

  6. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Dave
    August 20, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    I’m rather sure that the majority of those opposed to Obama’s health care initiative, and willing to voice their opinions at the Town Halls, are following Limbaugh as their Pied Piper. Most are busy at work when Rush is working up a lather. And likely a majority of us don’t really like his bombastic style. We’ve reasons to oppose the very bad legislation other than political emotions.

  7. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1Shana
    August 21, 2009 at 8:45 am

    If we could put our party allegiances aside and work together to come up with a plan, then our country could move forward and millions of uninsured people can get the health care needed.
    People such as Limbaugh, fueling such rabid derision, have enough money and coverage for any health needs and emergencies. So what is their agenda? Continue to add to their own millions while regular everyday Americans suffer.

    Keep up the good work Amy Beth in helping us get some perspective!

  8. Vote -1 Vote +1Randal
    August 24, 2009 at 11:44 am

    I bet putting our party allegiances aside means coming to your socialist point of view right Shana?

    You can always tell the lazy, Karl Marx loving mooches like you Shana by your comments. Why don’t you have enough money to care for yourself? To lazy to get an education and work hard to get somewhere? Envious of others because they have more than you? Why should people have to pay your bills?

    Karl Marx was a mooch who expected others to support him and what they had worked for should be taken and given to lazy, envious pieces of garbage like you. I’ll bet he is your hero.

    Your fair share is not in my wallet dirtbag. Get a job!!!

  9. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1clare
    August 26, 2009 at 8:42 am

    I’m with you randal; your feeling on rush, savage, coulter aside why do those of us with jobs have to ensure equal everything for everyone. If its going to be that way why don’t we all find a street corner to bum off of- why work when you can get everything free. Lets not forget who made this country! I would like to hear some easily available news -the major networks- without a liberal spin- something along a fair coverage (or is this too old school?). The real truth is that the democrats don’t care about the common man like their menions would like to think- you better believe there are medical insurance,product and pharmaceutical companies pushing to get there piece of the action. If right wing or radical, crazy or whatever you want to call it means you think for yourself, don’t believe without assessing what the news and government tell you and have enough sense to see down the road (beyond the $6-8 bonus- whoo whoo!) then sign me up!! Meanwhile stop trying to control every aspect of my life and further putting this country in debt. Competition is capitalism, lack of control is socialism.

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