Rush Limbaugh is given a hard time at Christ and Pop Culture, with certainly good points about his demeanor and comments. But at least his critics here seem to check their facts. In his bid to be a minority owner of the St. Louis Rams, many “racist” and “pro-slavery” quotes have been attributed to him. This article from England’s Daily Telegraph unearths these comments as widely reported, patently false. And best of all, these comments come from major news sources in published newspapers and other outlets, who (as this article notes) spend much self-righteous anger over “bloggers” destroying journalism by not checking facts. No matter how much you may dislike a person’s character or beliefs, have enough respect for public discourse and for your own integrity to fact-check your accusations. Especially if you are in the news business.


2 Comments

  1. My main problem with even the people who push his real quotes as being hateful or racist have no idea what his show is about. I’ll hear him say things that are clearly sarcastic, satirical, or hyperbolic, and think, “Man, I can’t wait for someone to get hold of this who thinks he’s serious.”

    Consider the “Mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack Hussein Obama,” thing. It doesn’t take a political genius to figure out that he’s mocking hero worhsip, but the commentators called it “insidious”, because they have no sense of humor, and are incapable of detecting sarcasm.

    It’s more than the fake quotes, it’s the intentional separation of his quotes from their tone and context, so they can be twisted into something hateful. When you listen to his show you get much more of the context surrounding quotes he’s attacking. As long as people are ripping their opponent’s statements away from the context that gives them meaning so that they can destroy them, it won’t matter if fact checking takes place. Might as well just go with the defense that it sounds like something he would say, even if he didn’t say it.

  2. Charles,

    Very good point. I’ve listened to Rush’s radio show enough to tell that he often is being very sarcastic or hyperbolic, as you say. Humor has been a time-honored weapon and he is free to wield it (and if you listen to the show he sometimes does so well). Was Jonathan Swift crazy when his “Modest Proposal” put forward eating Irish children? So is he a cannibal? What about Dostoevsky’s mocking of intellectuals in “Demons”? Does that make him anti-academic? I wonder if a bigger issue isn’t coming about: the death of real humor. We take ourselves too seriously, and rebuff at being offended and cower at giving offense too much. In such a field, humor can’t last. Instead, it runs to increasingly smaller corners seeking the last redoubts of those who can take a joke.

    Rush shouldn’t be the only person and the only approach people should listen to; duh. Just like I’m not going to read only academic journals and dead theologians (and hence actually try to partake in pop culture). It’s also why I find the Daily Show often to be very funny even though it pushes political perspectives I don’t agree with. I get the joke and can laugh, even when it might be making fun of me.

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