The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

25 April 2007

Rush Limbaugh, Vanity Fair, James Wolcott, War On Rush


During Escalating War On Rush, Vanity Fair Gets Personal

If there's any lingering doubt that the "progressive" left's next target is Rush Limbaugh, a new Vanity Fair hit piece puts this to rest for good. Today, the War On Rush has officially been kicked up a notch.

In a mean- spirited rampage full of highly personal slams, James Wolcott takes the smear campaign a step further by attacking Limbaugh's audience as moronic. Clearly, Wolcott's Unhinged Anger knob was set to "11".

Otherwise, we've seen elements of this in the past, where it isn't enough to portray Rush as merely wrong on the issues. Instead, he must also be a horrible person, bent on global destruction after first ruining the lives of those around him.

When the author resorts to rehashing cheap personal attacks against the piece's target, he exposes inherent weaknesses in his arguments.

Designed to reinforce a cartoonish Rush image created for "progressives" who never listen to the show, Wolcott goes so far as to republish Limbaugh's home address and rehash the addiction issue.

From the piece:

Limbaugh— a man, a mission, a mighty wind—has carved out his own principality in Florida's Palm Beach, a lion preserve where he can roam undisturbed. Drinking in the rays, puffing on those big-shot cigars, riding the range in a golf cart— he's got the complete Jackie Gleason how-sweet-it-is package deal. But just as the Great One suffered from melancholia aggravated by alcohol, Limbaugh's indulgence in his own creature comforts hasn't been able to insulate him from the demons within.

An addiction to painkillers reduced this human boom box of self-sufficiency and strict enforcement—"If people are violating the law by doing drugs," he once lectured on his syndicated TV show, "they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted
and they ought to be sent up" (up the river, that is)—to the furtive, needy ploys of any other junkie who finds the medicine cabinet running dry. After he entered rehab, his third wife, Marta, reportedly vacated the luxury estate (they would later divorce), leaving Rush a Tarzan without his Jane in what the Palm Beach Post in 2004 called his "$24.2 million, 36,500-square-foot secluded monster at 1495 N. Ocean."

Secluded for now, but perhaps after this god of the airwaves shucks his mound of flesh so that his soul can meet Reagan's in Republican Heaven (where all the angels look like June Allyson), his compound can be converted into a tourist attraction—a combination museum, shrine, gift shop, and spiritual mecca modeled on Elvis's Graceland, Dolly Parton's Dollywood.


For us non-dittoheads (that is, the unconverted), a more fitting memorial to Mount Rushbo might be a diorama of the environmental destruction that he did so much to enable in his multi-decade reign of denigration. Global warming's most popular denialist, talk radio's most imitated showman, conservatism's minister of disinformation, he has injected millions of semi-vacant American skulls with a cream filling of complacency that has helped thrust this country into the forefront of backward leadership.

Here, Wolcott (with a straight face?) actually cites intellectual giant Al Franken as proof that Rush Is Wrong:

In 1996, Al Franken swung for the fences with his lyrical study Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot, having fun with Limbaugh's fictional fact-checker, Waylon, who's often baffled himself by the bizarre stuff emanating from Rush's mouth. ("Al: Okay, let's jump right in. First of all, back in 1991, Rush claimed that Styrofoam was biodegradable and paper wasn't. Waylon: Right. I remember that. That is … uh … that's totally wrong.") Anyone can make mistakes, and anyone doing a three-hour broadcast five times a week is likely to make lots of them, but Limbaugh's mistakes all lean in the same direction and leave the impression that they're intended to obfuscate and make fact-checking as time-consuming, painstaking, and futile as picking shrapnel out of the wall or mopping up after Ann Coulter.

Goebbels propagated the theory and practice of the Big Lie, in which constant thumping reiteration wears down rational resistance and fuses heartbeat and drumbeat. Postmodern conservatives prefer to let little lies proliferate and take on a viral life of their own that becomes impossible to arrest.

In many ways, the piece reads like the kind of anti- Rush attacks we saw in 1993 and 1994. What's new, however, is the escalated level of raw anger and renewed determination to yank El Rushbo off the air for good. Will they succeed?

ELSEWHERE: Newsbusters offers its own take on the VF hit piece.

ELSEWHERE: Latest Boston talk radio rumblings here.

Frankenhumpty: David A Lunde

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  • "el rushbo" has basically become
    the norma desmond of talk radio

    methinks when stephanie miller
    is speaking in imus' spot
    it's pretty well established
    even management has had quite enough

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 25 April, 2007 18:37  

  • ctually, Rush has been the main target of attack for a long time. So far, they haven't hurt him, much. Oh sure, the drug addiction was BIG news, and some still pick on him for his weight. Big deal (no pun intended). As far as management is concerned, hash, have you seen his numbers? Rush is still the biggest personality around. So, yeah, Rush is THE TARGET. All the lefties would like to get him. But he is hardly a has-been. On the contrary. Rush is probably one of the smartest personalities out there. He knows how to attract attention, and isn't afraid of attacks by some hacks. Worst of all, he is probably speaking for more people in this nation than you care to admit.

    Now, what I find really amazing is how well Michael Savage doing. Some of his stuff scares even me, probably I can't tell if he is serious or not.

    By Blogger Cincimaddog, at 25 April, 2007 22:46  

  • "Some of his stuff scares even me..."

    i'm not surprised
    you neocons are such pussies

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 25 April, 2007 23:23  

  • Good job keeping up with the war against Rush. He is the big scalp they are aching for...

    By Blogger Jeffrey, at 26 April, 2007 09:07  

  • Steph Miller will not replace Imus for the long run. She wears thin on the audience long term. Look at her ratings when she was at KFI, Los Angeles.

    By Blogger PCD, at 26 April, 2007 14:30  

  • "Steph Miller will not replace Imus for the long run. She wears thin on the audience long term."

    agreed, she's too chirpy

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 26 April, 2007 20:25  

  • This post is so ridiculous.

    I don't get you righties. Everything Wolcott wrote was factually correct. And you post it as if it were outrageous.

    It's like Bill O'Reilly shrieking like a poked pig when Media Matters has merely postsvb what he actually has said.

    Are y'all delusional or what?

    And, after having read your pleas for money at the top of the blog, please don't be talkin' about Air America's financial troubles.

    Methinks the right-wing spin machine has busted an axle. It took a while, but most people now do not believe the lies and crap being put out there by the right. And now that the rich people who subsidize right-wing blather--like Scaife--realize their investments in right-wing propaganda non longer pay off, the money will begin to dry up.

    That's the unfortunate truth about the right. Because it represents only a rich minority's interests, it can only take power by lying.

    The lies work for a while, but eventually all but the most thick-headed catch on.

    By Blogger metrodorus, at 26 April, 2007 22:16  

  • Metro,

    Stop projecting your major fault. It is Left candidates who have to lie and not truthfully state their positions. When you get unmasked in a lie, you get viscious.

    By Blogger PCD, at 27 April, 2007 10:14  

  • fudgie, i'd ask you
    to take your mask off
    but then we'd have to
    untie you from the chandelier

    and the zipper on the mask
    might inadvertantly get stuck
    in the open position

    then you'd have to borrow drudge's

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 27 April, 2007 23:25  

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