Rush Limbaugh and the liberals that made him - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Rush Limbaugh and the liberals that made him

In 1987, the Federal Trade Commission’s repeal of the Fairness Doctrine destroyed U.S. democracy. I’d argue that such is not an overstatement. The doctrine required that television and radio stations air and an equal amount of conservative and liberal perspectives on politics.

The repeal of this bill, though a move against big government regulation, set the stage for what would become the big media semi-monopoly, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC to eventually take political sides, distort facts, ignore others, and treat commentary and entertainment like factual news. None of these three monsters are real news media. Entertainment comes first. The power of these has influenced more mediocre performances from The New York Times and The Washington Post and many others.

Shortly after, Rush Limbaugh told his listeners for his new show that they don’t have to read the news. All they need to do is leave it to him. He will tell them what is and is not important. He will take care of all of them. I have little doubt that Limbaugh is smart and gets a lot of things, he’s only one of the most talented and brilliant radio personalities of our time, but I never make myself that dependent on someone I never met. As a researcher and journalist, I learned that one needs to look at several “truths” to find a closer truth.

Limbaugh’s Paradox: He is Conservative Big Government

Considering that Limbaugh preaches that we are independent and self-made. Such is truly American, but, if so, why would his viewers trust only his interpretation?

Can they not read? Given the size and power of Limbaugh’s influence, he is his own army and armies are a big government. Has he not become a kind of conservative big government?

Is he not a control buffer against any liberal ideas? After all, Rush is right. As noted in his biography Rush Limbaugh, An Army of One, President Obama named him specifically, realizing how powerful Limbaugh has become.

Big government can work: we have post offices, the military, libraries, police, the FBI, Social Security (works really well if we don’t raid funds), and public schools, and that darn Obama Care. President Trump is not only big government, but he’s also huge, a country of one.

Even if Limbaugh would knock off every one of these examples, and he probably could, is not Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Microsoft, and Apple pseudo-government entities that can do all the dirty work for big government without violating the constitution? Isn’t our news media a massive corporate entity controlled by a handful of super-rich investors that are a warrant or subpoena way from being government cooperatives?

Who allowed these companies to get so big and know what each person likes, hates, wears, where they are located, and where they sleep?

I would call Limbaugh the Father of Fox News because his advertising of Fox on his program anchored Fox in the hearts and minds of angry Americans. I am not bashing Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh is simply a counter-manifestation of liberal media such as CNN. His is and should be a necessary buffer. Yes, we need him.

The Angry White Man

Did these mostly angry white men have reason to be angry? You bet. I grew up with them when the steel mills were closing in Buffalo. The poor, rural, or dying city man—including African Americans—were totally forgotten. The wealthy folks humiliated us and our cites, though our steel and hard work built theirs. Our nation becomes the “flyover people.”Why would anyone want to live in Buffalo or Pittsburgh? Because that is where the heart of America is.

The liberals focused on the “middle class,” and as my mother used to say, “I am poor, not middle class. When are they going to talk about me?” They never will because politicians never work for the underdog, only the fat cats. My lifelong liberal mother turned to Fox News and become nothing like my mother I once knew. It makes no difference what the affiliation is. The republicans will screw us publicly and the democrats will privately.

We need to face something in this country. It is and always will be more conservative. The problem is not whether the U.S. should have conservative or liberal values. The answer is that it does. This does not mean that liberal voices should be squashed because doing so silences millions of Americans, but such does not mean that conservative views should be squashed either. Great leaders unite; tyrants divide.

All Symbols are Not Created Equal

A year ago, we had a college meeting with faculty. The debate was that if a student came in with a red cap, should we ask him to leave? I said, “no way” because as a public school we are bound by the First Amendment. The student can sue the teacher and the school. Most argued against me noting that the “red cap” is a sign of hate. This, to me, seemed a very dangerous conflation between such a thing as a Swastika and a cap supporting the current president. I fear many liberals want to make thoughts illegal or bar any argument from occurring. I am a liberal. There is no worse oppression.

One can wear a cap and be prejudiced, but one can wear a cap and be simply conservative. The Swastika is bound by the blood of millions that were gassed and incinerated. The Swastika targeted a group in the name of “demonic” moral purity, a moral purity that is resurfacing.

The same can be true for the Confederate flag. The flag is a symbol of our painful history. Should not a Civil War Confederate graveyard fly that flag? Men, even kids, gave their lives for it, even if we feel they were on the wrong side of history. It’s not about how we feel. It’s about facts.

I have had students whose ancestors fought in every American war, including relatives that fought on both sides of the Civil War. The Confederate flag can have very painful but important meaning that has little to do with race or hate. Some will use it that way, but to destroy it, to silence it is to run from history. History is something we hardly teach in colleges anymore. Silencing a voice leads to certain war. If we have no more symbols of the past, no matter how painful, we can never learn from them. The denial of the symbol becomes the denial of past brutal follies.

Great Minds have Different Friends

Limbaugh has a family history that is honorable. I wish I could claim such history, but is it impossible for me, as a liberal, to like some of Limbaugh? I admire his determination, his surety, and though I can find him offensive and very upsetting at times, should I throw away the whole man, what his family achieved? Has not your significant other made you just as upset? If we are committed to America, we will commit to one another.

My favorite president was Barack Obama. I think he saved this country from a depression, and he gave hope to millions of Americans that look less than white. From a foreign policy perspective, he made many mistakes. I’d still like to meet him.

Yet, I’d like to meet Limbaugh and get to know the person. The biography is nice, but I want to know the man. I would like to take my kids down to see former President George W Bush because I think he must be a really nice guy. My kids love ranches. I’ve love to see his artwork. Besides, Ellen DeGeneres hangs out with him. I want to know the person, not the president.

I’d like to meet President Trump and learn about his life, what he went through not what he is. I’d love to meet President Jimmy Carter because he was always a good man, even if many saw a weak president. I’ve love to meet feminist Gloria Steinem because she and President Trump agree: better relations with North Korea is better in the long run. Leaders are so because of what seeds were planted in them, not what is spewed from endless profit-making news loops. I would meet any inmate in prison with the same hope and expectation.

The Buffalo News and Currier Express

When I was a little boy, my dad and mom made a living delivering the Buffalo News no matter what the weather did. At the time there were two major newspapers in the Buffalo area, the other was the Currier Express. They were our rivals, but the paper folded, something that was happening across the country.

News media was dying, and the others were semi-monopolized, gobbled up by bigger and bigger entities. What used to be open conservative or liberal papers were now gone. Cities were controlled by single papers that often generalized, omitted important facts, and used misleading or panic-inducing headlines and inaccurate terminology to sell to their shrinking audiences.

Articles became shorter. Online, radio and television commentators became chatterboxes of opinion. A great argument became a 90-second soundbite. After all, they need room for their corporate sponsors. Then on CNN and Fox, the commentators seemed to multiply. One or 2 became 4, 6, and 8 all yelling at one another. The bit stopped before it started. The complex world became two-sided, and the winner was the one that could throw the best insults. The American view was always superior to any other international view though no views were clearly articulated. The news media harnessed, packaged and repackaged trauma. Trauma has become a for-profit institution.

News Media is a Toilet Bowl in Need of Plunging

Instead of cable news and the internet allowing us to have more information, it often provides anything but. Instead of it maintaining Benjamin Franklin’s vision of democracy and open information, such became the backed-up toilet of democracy, a 24-hour loop going around and around an overused bowl.

When I took micro-computers in school way back in 1993, I remember my professor saying that we were moving to a paperless society. Then the laser printer was made. How did that work out?

When the airplane was invented, we thought such a machine would end all war? Then World War I happened. How did that work out?

We thought that cable news and the internet would make us freer and more intelligent, but it’s killing our freedom and our intelligence. What will we all become? How will that work out?

We are all Americans, and we need a shared principle. I’d like to suggest one: Freedom demands different friends, seldom agreeable ones. That is America.





About the author

Earl Yarington

Earl Yarington is an associate professor of English at Prince George’s Community College and a graduate student in clinical social work at Louisiana State University. He is also obtaining sex therapy certification through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. He interned in corrections statewide for a sex offender treatment program. Earl also authored a book under pen name Lolita in the Lion's Den (https://www.amazon.com/Lolita-Lions-Den-Pre-Tween-Juxtaposition/dp/1499717407) that addresses the complexity of sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse for people coming to terms with conflicting thoughts and ultimately their own identities. Contact the author.
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