Should we finish flushing Rush?
Serious question; please see the pros and cons below.
I don't think there's any doubt, Rush is pathological. His relationship to the GOP could be a part of that.
While I wasn't able to verify the quotation in the cartoon ("I go so deep into my roles that sometimes I think I am the Republican Party"), it doesn't seem too far out of line considering that Rush has more than once entertained a very similar question. For example,
RUSH: By the way, ladies and gentlemen, you know, it has been said by the White House that I am the leader of the Republican Party. They said that, Obama did, as far back as January or February. And as you know, the State-Controlled Media picked it up and ran with it, that I am the Republican Party leader. Not so fast. A new Harris poll came out yesterday. It was 2,276 adults that were surveyed. Sixty-four percent surveyed say that McCain is the leader of the Republican Party and that Newt and I are tied at 50%. [emphasis added]And,
—Rush Limbaugh: Stack of Stuff Quick Hits Page, January 8, 2010
CALLER: It's great to have you, Rush, and your brother, you guys are a national treasure. I just wanted to compliment you, Rush, and I tell you, when I started listening to you, the left just flat-out ignored you and pretended you weren't there. Then when they couldn't pretend that anymore, they mocked you. Then they called you a disc jockey or a entertainer with an opinion. And then I don't know what happened, if there was a road or a bridge built outside of your studio, but you are no longer an entertainer, Rush. You're the de facto leader of the Republican Party.While tossing a gratuitous dig at "the hateful vitriol of Daily Kos", Brian Jencunas rightfully notes at Huffington Post that "the party of Reagan has become branded as the party of Rush Limbaugh." Meanwhile Steve Gobel believes,
RUSH: The titular head.
CALLER: Yes, and you're operating the Romney campaign also. You are one amazing fellow, and I must say, you must have some fantastic roads and bridges* there in Florida, because what else can it be, Rush?
RUSH: I think it's a great point. [emphasis added]
—Rush Limbaugh: Thank the Roads and Bridges for EIB, July 31, 2012
*the "roads and bridges" reference relates to the "you didn't build that" meme
Barack Obama needed Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity to re-energize his dispirited and disenchanted base of support, and what a fine job they did. Many stood in line for over six hours to cast a vote for Obama.The Limbaugh question has resulted in considerable tension and anguish within the GOP. U.S. News has written,
The Republican rout was not a fluke. Limbaugh was part of the team effort that helped Democrats hang on to the White House and the Senate. Limbaugh and his "ditto heads" set the tone for the Republican Party. Due to his visibility, Rush, not John Boehner, is the de facto leader of the GOP. Republicans need a Sister Souljah moment and a prominent Republican needs to take Limbaugh on to make the party more attractive to moderate voters and to save the GOP.Bobby Jindal has asserted, "It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments... [we need to] stop being the party of stupid!"
—Brad Bannon: U.S. News The Real Reasons the GOP Lost in 2012, November 15, 2012
|As previously noted, David Frum has been touting his new ebook about the situation, declaring that "Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex" (which presumably stars Rush.)
And, Steve Schmidt decried "a culture of fear and intimidation", citing the GOP's need to "stand up to these extreme statements, whether it’s Rush Limbaugh calling that young lady a slut, or a hundred other examples over the last four years."
Some have argued that by Flushing Rush, we are helping the GOP restrain Limbaugh's counter-productive outbursts.
So far I don't think there is any evidence of this; Glenn Beck was driven off of Fox News, yet he continues to harangue from his own (much smaller) network. I have also characterized the effort to flush Rush as a marathon, and not a sprint. We estimate that Rush has lost more than a thousand sponsors. But considering his talk show is carried by 600 radio stations throughout the country, Rush is able to claim 18,000 sponsors altogether.
It is true that 140+ of the advertisers dropping Rush are the large national brands. In other words, Limbaugh (and other conservative talkers!) were deprived right off the bat of the big money. And radio stations that are struggling because of Rush have experienced advertiser attrition rates of "40, even 50, and 55 percent of their business."
So the Flush Rush movement (along with demographic and technological changes, in proportions difficult to ascertain) has impacted the radio industry, and conservative talk radio in particular, to the extent that radio industry analyst Norm Pattiz frets it may never fully recover.
|Did you know? The effort to flush Rush goes back at least two decades.
The last iteration began in January, 2011 when Chinese-American California State Senator Leland Yee organized a boycott to protest Limbaugh mocking China’s President Hu Jintao on his 1/19 show.
I think it is safe to say there are a lot of folks that Rush has offended or injured.
|AFTRA – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (soon to merge with SAG – Screen Actors Guild and be called SAG-AFTRA). These are mostly on air performers but also includes some off air producers.
IBEW – International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Part of CWA. Radio Engineers.
NABET – National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians. Includes radio producers and engineers.
Writers Guild – includes radio writers.
News Media Guild – formerly Wire Service Guild. Mostly AP employees.
While there are myriad reasons to flush Rush, I think it is likewise important to occasionally take stock of the scope and depth of the injury Rush has inflicted upon society, as well as our methods and our goals.
On the other hand, some believe that Rush is helping the GOP commit para-suicide by alienating Latinos: he uses terms like "Hispandering"; harps on skin color, and insinuates that Mexicans are lazy. He portrays Latinos as greedy because they "accept bribes for votes".
My view is that Rush has inflicted serious damage on society over his 25+ year career; and, some of that has finally caught up with him, to great effect due to the power of social media. Sure, some Democratic Party supporters may believe that a damaged Rush — exposed through the greater scrutiny afforded by social media — might be useful to keep around, particularly for winning future elections.
My reaction is: seeing political value in toxic hate is unethical and, ultimately, counter-productive. What do we wish to stand for, if not doing the right thing?
Limbaugh is a moral scourge, and I personally have no doubt that taking away his 600 radio station megaphone is both necessary and appropriate.
Please let me know in comments if you agree or disagree.
The diarist is active in Flush Rush on Facebook:
|Rush Limbaugh's talk radio career is in a slow downward spiral in part because of the activism of consumers, volunteers, and activists who seek to hold Rush accountable for his hate speech. One very active group in this cause is Flush Rush on Facebook. Flush Rush and other, similar groups use the StopRush Database to inform advertisers about where their ads are appearing.
Please consider joining. Small donations are also accepted to fund data storage; visit StopRush for more information.