Commentary

Obit: 'Big Fat Idiot,' Dead At 70

Not since Roger Ailes passed away nearly four years ago have I felt moved to write an obit about as vile and divisive a conservative media industry character.

Ailes, in fact, was one of Limbaugh's mentors and served as the executive producer of his TV show in the 1990s, which is when I first got to know both of them. Little did I know back then that they would be planting the seeds of political and civic division that would lead to the coldest civil war in American history. Back then, Limbaugh didn't seem that much worse than the litany of conservative shock jocks that preceded him.

A couple of decades later, Limbaugh has done as much as anyone to contribute to the alternative false realities that have undermined American unity. While he wasn't as extreme in his conspiracy-mongering as his more sensationalized wannabe Alex Jones, Limbaugh has likely done more damage because of his reach and staying power among the conservative radio audience.

“Rush Limbaugh made his career lying to his audience, stoking misogyny, and fueling racism. He entertained listeners by mercilessly mocking and maligning anyone who didn’t resemble his typical listener — straight, white, conservative, and male — and that cruelty eventually became a central tenet of modern conservatism," Angelo Carusone, president & CEO of conservative media watchdog Media Matters, said in a statement following Limbaugh's death. “In his final act, Limbaugh explicitly endorsed violence in the wake of the January 6 Capitol attacks."

But Limbaugh's greatest legacy was that he was an incubator, pioneering a platform that gave voice to racists and misogynists to follow -- all the way to the White House and, even the steps of the Capitol.

"Limbaugh has tapped into the resentments of 'the angry white male,' which are "quite legitimate," author and former Senator Al Franken wrote in his 1996 book, "Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot," concluding, "I mean, if you think about it, what chance for advancement have white men really had in this country?"

9 comments about "Obit: 'Big Fat Idiot,' Dead At 70".
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  1. Michele Volpe from Media Source Solutions, February 17, 2021 at 2:58 p.m.

    What an awful headline. Love him or hate him, he played a large role in establishing a voice on the radio for conservative politics. I didn't agree with him but he certainly didn't deserve to be disrespected by you in this way. Al Franken (I'm not sure I would quote a discredited senator) was a comic and could effectively use a double entendre in his book title. You didn't even make an attempt. It was mean spirited.

  2. Jonathan May from HorseTV Global, February 17, 2021 at 3:55 p.m.

    Sorry, I thought it was a spot on commentary.  Having access to a microphone doesn't mean you make a contribution to the betterment of society; on the contrary, he stoked the fires of hatred and division.  He only redefined the definition of the word "conservative" which has now come to mean you hate everything and everyone, and anyone who disagrees with you, is the enemy.  He contributed nothing to society.

  3. Donna Gordon from Investment Resources, February 17, 2021 at 10:30 p.m.

    How awful and disrespectful of a man who spoke for millions of Americans, and who was likely one of the most lied about, misquoted and taken out of context public voices out there. And no I am not an angry white male, but I am angry that such hateful drivel could show up in what I thought was a business site. Good bye Media Post. 

  4. Donna Agresto-Seavey from ETC Event Marketing, February 18, 2021 at 11:33 a.m.

    Well it seems like you are just one of the minions that will grab attention off a deadman. Hate him or love him he did change the fate of AM radio years ago. He was the voice for conservatives.
    He did his job well, he got ratings. People tuned in that 
    disagreed with him just to have something to say about it later. People tuned in because they followed him. 


     

  5. David Scardino from TV & Film Content Development, February 18, 2021 at 3:26 p.m.

    Joe, I'm not sure characteriing media matters as "conservative" is accurate. Wikipedia describes it as "politically left-leaning" which I believe is correct. Maybe time for an edit...?

  6. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, February 18, 2021 at 3:31 p.m.

    @David Scardino: No, they're definitely not "conservative," and I wouldn't characterize them that way. They are a watchdog of conservative media. Sorry for the confusion.

  7. David Scardino from TV & Film Content Development replied, February 18, 2021 at 3:53 p.m.

    Thank you for the clarification.

  8. Larry JORGENSEN from G L Management, February 20, 2021 at 1:05 p.m.

    No repect for a life of a person in the media!  Agree or not...he was successful and
    very good at what he did.  Should there be only voices like yours allowed?
    You are not a respected editor and a poor jounralist.
    Your day will come.

  9. Geri Modell from Beyond, February 22, 2021 at 10:28 a.m.

    This "agree or not" line of reasoning is BS. Would you say that about Hitler? "Agree or not, he spoke for millions of aggrieved Germans." Limbaugh used the power of words to destroy any remaining unifying fabric of American society. He nurtured senseless hatred and divisiveness. You can agree or disagree about a movie or a brand of peanut butter. Not about this. Good riddance to Limbaugh.

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