Racist Rush:Radio Host’s Toxic Tongue Speaks Volumes
Every time he puts his racist foot in his fat mouth, Rush Limbaugh’s fans insist it’s all in good fun. They use words like satirist and provocateur. If stick-in-the- mud progressives or anyone with a modicum of common decency eschews such descriptions, they start waving the First Amendment and the blowhard’s undeniably large audience. He stirred the Reverend Wright pot with the heavy hand of the Imperial Grand Wizard of the KKK,calling Obama a “Halfrican American” during the 2008 Presidential campaign. Limbaugh discards the racist label, of course, blaming it on a culture of political correctness he refuses to participate in. “I’m color blind,” he said during a “Today Show” interview last fall.
But on his radio show he routinely skewers President Obama, often using racist language or subtexts. “We are being told we have to hope Obama succeeds, that we have to bend over and grab the ankles because his father was black, ” he said shortly after Obama’s election. He’s called Obama “an angry black man,” and a “reverse racist, ” a charge he gleefully attached to Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor during her confirmation hearings, too.
On the Wednesday edition of his radio show, Limbaugh–with racism oozing out of his pores–had fun at the expense of New York’s beleaguered Governor David Paterson, who may be charged with filling Eric Massa’s newly vacated seat in Congress. Listen to this interchange with a caller:
All in good fun, right? And there’s no hint of racism in making an ( unfunny) throwback joke about slavery and New York’s first African American governor, right? “So the first time in his life Paterson’s going to be a massa? Interesting,” Rush said. Hilarious. Really, Rush, that was almost as funny as when you attacked the debate over the “R” word by saying, “Everyone’s all upset because someone called a bunch of retards retards.” We know that was satire because Sarah Palin certified it as such.
Limbaugh’s racist rants cost him his coveted gig as a football analyst and his shot at NFL ownership. So the GOP’s de facto Grand Pooh Bah has paid a personal price for his toxic tongue. Still, he’s behind the microphone, delivering daily diatribes, inciting anger with half truths and brazen lies. And no one ever threatens to pull the plug. I mean what will it take for radio executives and station owners to consult their consciences over their bottom lines? Really how far does this guy have to go before radio honchos will say “Enough?”
Even Imus got tossed off the air briefly. And his temporary exile came as a result of one racially insensitive remark. Yeah, okay, the guy has a history, too, but his is not nearly as malevolent as Limbaugh’s. And, for an old guy,with an inherent racism he has yet to fully cop to, Imus seems to have learned something from his infamous incident. Maybe if they gave Rush a “time out” he, too, would become more reflective about his role and responsibility in the cultural cacophony that has–for whatever inexplicable reason–given him a very powerful and wealthy voice.