When I heard that Rush Limbaugh had died, my first instinct was to post what Arthur posted. In fact, the graphic I purloined from Arthur with permission. My parents DID use to say that if you don’t have something good to say about someone to say nothing.
Then someone on Quora wrote, “Do you liberals have ANYTHING good to say about him?” So I thought and I thought, and I thought some more. Maybe it’s the Christian thing, or maybe just a challenge. So I took some bits from 1440.com, the AP, the Boston Globe, and Daily Kos.
He was consequential
“You didn’t have to like or even listen to Rush Limbaugh to be affected by what he did. Conservative talk radio wasn’t a genre before him. Without Limbaugh, it’s hard to imagine a Fox News Channel, or a President Donald Trump, or a media landscape defined by shouters of all stripes that both reflect and influence a state of political gridlock.”
“’He was the most important individual media figure of the last four decades,” said Ian Reifowitz, professor of historical studies at the State University of New York and author of ‘The Tribalization of Politics: How Rush Limbaugh’s Race-Baiting Rhetoric on the Obama Presidency Paved the Way for Trump.’ Limbaugh led the way in getting people “scared about the browning of the country.”
Changing governmental regs have consequences
“Launched in 1988—shortly after the repeal of a policy requiring equal airtime for opposing commentary on matters of public importance—” his eponymous talk show “expanded to more than 650 affiliate networks, boasting an estimated 20 million monthly listeners “
“There is no talk radio as we know it without Rush Limbaugh. It just doesn’t exist,” said Sean Hannity, who has 15 million radio listeners beyond his Fox News Channel show. “And I’d even make the argument in many ways: there’s no Fox News or even some of these other opinionated cable networks…”
“It wasn’t just that he transformed the media landscape, but he transformed the Republican Party,” said Nicole Hemmer, author of “Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics.” “He became a power player and someone who could move voters.”
He made vulgarity acceptable
“Some of Limbaugh’s language was downright ugly. He invented the term ‘feminazi,’ called Chelsea Clinton a ‘dog’ when she was 12 years old and had to apologize for calling a young woman a ‘slut’ for arguing that birth control be covered by health insurance. He mocked the death of AIDS victims and played the parody song ‘Barack the Magic Negro’ when Obama was elected president.
“In the Limbaugh lexicon, advocates for the homeless were ‘compassion fascists,’… environmentalists were ‘tree-hugging wackos.’ He delivered ‘AIDS updates’ with a Dionne Warwick song, ‘I’ll Never Love This Way Again,’ ridiculed Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease symptoms, and called global warming a hoax.
“The headline on HuffPost’s obituary said Limbaugh ‘saturated America’s airwaves with cruel bigotries, lies and conspiracy theories.’ The Root called him a ‘spouter of racist, hate-filled garbage.'” And he sparked a “firestorm of loud-mouthed, racist, misogynist imitators.”
Ahead of the curve re: fake news
“He was not above baldfaced lies. During the debate over Obama’s 2009 health care bill, he fed the rumor mills over its provisions to have Medicare and insurers pay for optional consultations with doctors on palliative and hospice care, saying they empowered ‘death panels’ that would ‘euthanize’ elderly Americans.
“Limbaugh supported Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen and, on January 7, compared rioters at the Capitol to people who sparked the Revolutionary War.”
His wife apparently loved him
Limbaugh’s wife, Kathryn, made the announcement of his death on his show.