Friday, September 19, 2008

Rush Limbaugh: Hypocrite

Now, I want you to understand something. I get Rush Limbaugh. He's an entertainer, right? I mean, he's putting on a show, he's saying whatever bullshit occurs to him that he thinks his audience will eat up. He doesn't try to report news, and have journalistic standards, and he doesn't worry about inconsistency, as long as he keeps sucking in the advertiser bucks.

But here's the thing. If you're going to play that game, you have to play it fairly. Since Rush Limbaugh makes a game out of distortion and anger, he has no right to pretend it's anything other than a game.

Case in point: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122178554189155003.html.

Obama is taking him out of context, he claims - wow, and Limbaugh's never done that as part of his schtick! - and letting his racist statements sound like they were, well, racist. But it was all a joke! Really!

What I especially like is that he claims psychic powers. He claims one racist statement was "a parody ... and nobody took it otherwise."

I thought his radio show had millions of listeners. Yet he can tell that, among those millions of listeners, none of them took it as anything other than a parody! Isn't that amazing? I'd say it's pretty amazing... to the point that if anyone made that claim, I'd feel forced to call bullshit. So, "bullshit!"

Limbaugh's a curious character. He'll say whatever he thinks will bring in the listeners, without any concern for truth. I don't like that. I think it's evil to try to sow divisiveness for the sole purpose of making money. But I grant that he has a right to do what he does.

But in return for the right to sow divisiveness to line his pockets, I could at least ask that he recognizes that there's a boundary where the game ends. He can't ethically go onto editorial pages of major news papers and keep playing the game, pretending to be offended because it suits his on-air persona. On his show? Sure, that's his forum. But in other forums, where people expect some level of honesty? No, he should graciously bow out.

To do otherwise suggests that he wishes to cast off the mantle of "entertainer" and take on the mantle of "reporter". And that would require him to adopt standards that he has neither the maturity nor honor to uphold.

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