February 24, 2024

Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh

Source: Public Domain

How did this nation ever get to the point where a man once considered nothing more than a tacky, loud, nouveau-riche liberal NYC real estate mogul/celebrity, with an orange complexion and a crazy pompadour/combover, would be transmogrified into the ultimate scapegoat for the failings, crimes, and corruption that have plagued our government and society since at least the end of the Second World War; the locus and symbol of the most unbridled hatred by the very same global elite that, in point of fact, are guilty of those sins and that he once perhaps was a part of? If I had to venture a guess, I’d say in nearly the same manner as “just some guy in golf pants” (as he once described how the elites tagged him) who at one time happened to have the largest sustained radio audience in history.

Last week marked the third anniversary of Rush Limbaugh passing away after a yearlong battle with terminal lung cancer. In a career that spanned nearly a third of a century, Limbaugh become far and away the most listened-to talk radio host in broadcast history. The conventional wisdom, which is something that Limbaugh defied on a daily basis, was that he had some sort of Svengali-like appeal over masses of mostly white, male, Bible-thumping bumpkins from flyover country by telling them what to think. In point of fact, it was just the opposite. Limbaugh’s success was being able to articulate what a vast swathe of the nation felt—a well-founded angst about the direction of the country especially since the beginning of the Clinton years and for sure with everything in the wake of the 9/11/01 attacks.

“There couldn’t have been a Donald Trump without a Rush Limbaugh to pave the way.”

He, more than any other political and cultural leader, held both a moral high ground and most crucially a bully pulpit that gave voice to a true silent majority. In examining the life and times of Limbaugh, as well as the gigantic sword of Damocles above Donald Trump’s head, and collectively whatever is left of the United States as we knew or imagined it, a bit of reflection on how we got here, or to coin a phrase, how we—or at least I—got “woke” to the world as it is, is in order.

Even growing up and coming of age in the ’60s and then the post-Vietnam and Watergate ’70s, as I entered my young adulthood somewhat the hard-bitten cynic, I still believed, or allowed myself to believe, that the American political system mostly worked. That despite policy differences, even major and sometimes bitter ones, both Democrats and Republicans respected the rule of law, tradition, comity, the will of the voters, and above all had a love of country that transcended party loyalties. I mean, who didn’t cheer the tall ships in New York Harbor during the Bicentennial?

America for the past eighty years is something like what Henry Gondorff told a young Johnny Hooker in The Sting: “You gotta keep his con even after you take his money. He can’t know you took him.”

Except now, thanks in no small part to Rush Limbaugh and as has been confirmed by the mere candidacy and presidency of Donald Trump, you’d have to have the mental acuity of a demented puppet president to not realize that we’ve been taken. Big-time.

Talk radio had a reputation as the domain of insomniac, paranoid conspiracy nutters who, existing only on the fringe elements of acceptable society, believed that a cabal of government intelligence agencies and operatives was covering up the existence of extraterrestrials, but more seriously, covertly directing everything from our foreign policy to even spying on American citizens on our own soil (oh, wait a minute!). The reason it had this reputation was because it was given it by a media-propaganda complex that had absolute control over the narrative. What was news, what wasn’t news, and what was “the right side of history.” Howard Stern rising to national fame on the basis of “lesbian dial-a-date” certainly did nothing to raise consciousness, let alone elevate the discourse.

It’s no small wonder that Walter Cronkite was once revered as “the most trusted man in America.” Indeed, mainstream journalism was viewed for the longest time by a majority of the citizenry as among the most respected professions. Today, a most recent TIPP poll from this past summer shows trust in the media to be at an all-time low. Nearly two-thirds of respondents have ZERO trust in traditional media. And that lack of trust even cuts across party and ideological lines.

That did not happen overnight, nor without good reason. When Ronald Reagan did away with the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” it allowed talk radio to absolutely explode unhindered onto the scene as a true alternate and massive source of news and information that ran counter to the narrative of what the mainstream media was pumping out on the nightly news. No longer did the big three networks, The New York Times, The Washington Post, nor the Associated Press have a monopoly on what would be reported and how it would be reported. That was 1987. Rush Limbaugh went national a year later, and the rest is history—a history that revealed the disgusting travesty of the Clarence Thomas “high-tech lynching” and what race really was about in America, through the seamy, scandal-plagued Clinton years and climaxing with the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11/01 and the travesty of how George W. Bush helped the left both whitewash Islam and then metastasize a feral surveillance apparatus on the American people that exists to this very day.

In the last year of his life, Rush Limbaugh was asked by a caller what he considered to be his greatest accomplishment. In part, he responded:

I’ll tell you something else, as far as achievements and so forth. I’m watching this coronavirus thing, and even the media that you would think would be on whatever we would call “our side,” they’ve lost it too. To them, this is nothing more than a story, and they can’t wait. I mean, everybody is waiting for the next worst headline, the next worst scenario, the next worst possibility. They can’t wait for it and they can’t wait to report it, and they can’t wait to talk about it. And that’s not me.

I resent this. I could never be a journalist. And these people, they’re a pack now. And I don’t care what network you’re talking about or website—there might be some exceptions to websites. Can’t read ’em all, don’t know. But you can’t turn on TV without seeing the same thing on any network. It doesn’t matter what network it is during the news coverage portion. Not so much the opinion programs and prime time. But the news coverage portion.

I mean, it’s now conventional wisdom that the country’s gonna shut down. It’s conventional wisdom that 150 million people are gonna get infected. It’s conventional wisdom that this is deadly, it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened, oh my God. It’s horrible. It’s worse. And nobody’s ever had it as bad or worse. And everybody gets caught up in it. As I watch the media, I don’t see one doubting Thomas. I don’t know how you do that.

I don’t know how you become a member of the pack. Why would anybody want to become a member of the pack that is no different from anybody else? But that’s what happens with this stuff. And that, I think, is part and parcel, one of the ingredients of journalism.

That was on March 13, 2020, literally just as the ChiCom/Anthony Fauci-created COVID-19 was just starting to swamp us. Or as Limbaugh seems to have clearly understood, the artificially generated fear of it. We now know, or at least we should know, that it was all one massive lie; from its origins, to its lethality, to the at-best uselessness to at-worst lethality of the vaccines. Yet anyone who back then stepped up and claimed the mantle of a “doubting Thomas” faced destruction.

America, the land of the First Amendment, has now openly toyed with the notion of “Disinformation Governance Boards,” a fancy name for what is essentially a Ministry of Truth. Universities that were supposed to be bastions of the free exchange of diverse viewpoints now silence anyone and anything even a micrometer to the right of Leon Trotsky. Our government is working hand in hand with Big Tech to have them act as censors for ideas, opinions, and facts that run contra to the narrative that they are putting out as truth, to be accepted blindly and unquestioningly without examination or critical review.

The only reason this is happening is because they no longer have a monopoly on the dissemination of information. Lacking that, as everything they have done to this country that has utterly collapsed our economy, erased our border, endangered our citizens at home, and threatened our national security abroad nearly to the point of a global conflict, the junta has no compunction about completely ignoring even the most basic red lines of ethics, morality, and the rule of law to silence all critique and squash all political opposition.

It’s academic as to whether or not we would have come to this point without the coming of alternative media to question the narrative, or what Limbaugh described as “the daily soap opera.” If nothing else, the mere presence of Rush Limbaugh and then Donald Trump has forced the junta to reveal itself for what it is, not for what their erstwhile media gatekeepers used to be able to bamboozle the public with ease. Trump’s greatest achievement as president isn’t actually what he achieved policy-wise (and they were some of the most incredible achievements ever); it was his mere presence as an oppositional force to the hypocrisy and corruption of the past eighty years that caused the masks and illusions of an America that no longer exists to drop. And there couldn’t have been a Donald Trump without a Rush Limbaugh to pave the way.

Mega dittos owed and mega dittos given.


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