Rush Limbaugh is being remembered for drawing tens of millions of listeners to the A.M. dial and for telling them three hours a day, five days a week, what it means to be an unapologetic political conservative.
“If conservatives in America had a guru, it was Rush Limbaugh,” Oliver North writes of Limbaugh in a column published after the talk titan’s death, after battling lung cancer, at age 70.
An easy target: Bill Clinton
Drawn to broadcasting as a Missouri teenager, Limbaugh bounced from job to job as a DJ and eventually landed an office job with the Kansas City Royals. His career as a liberal-mocking, cigar-smoking political commentator took off in 1988 with WABC in New York City. That opportunity allowed Limbaugh to build a national audience at the same time Bill Clinton was eyeing the White House.
The political pitfalls experienced by Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton over two terms are little-discussed today by the national media but the controversies surrounding them provided Limbaugh with daily radio fodder, and material for two best-selling books, at the same time the national media swooned over the powerful political couple.
Robert Knight, a columnist with The Washington Times, tells One News Now that Limbaugh was more than a breath of fresh air for the conservative movement when he arrived on the scene and began blasting liberals.
“He was really the main force of resistance during a time when leftists dominated the media,” Knight remembers. “In fact, Rush was the main reason Democrats tried to revive the Fairness Doctrine saying that the airwaves needed ‘balance.’ But as Rush famously said looking out on the monopolistic leftist media, ‘I am the balance,’ quote unquote. And he was right.”
Decades before President Donald Trump would blast the "fake news" intent on bringing him down, Limbaugh called CNN the “Clinton News Network” and knocked traditional news shows such as “Meet the Press,” which he mocked as “Meet the Depressed.”
‘Shabby’ media hard at work
How is the national media reacting to Limbaugh’s death? According to Rich Noyes of the Media Research Center, the liberals who were mocked by Limbaugh for decades are reacting just as conservatives would expect.
“It's the same stuff you heard at the beginning of his career. They're now doing it at the end,” he advises. “It really is a shabby way to treat someone who has just passed away but they're sort of picking out all of the things that they've criticized over the years. They're accusing him of things like racism, which wasn't true."
Conservatives arguably should not be surprised at Limbaugh’s treatment by humorless liberals after they witnessed him mock "Environmental Wackos" vowing to ban SUVs and "Femi-Nazis" who were vowing to never marry a man.
Despite the entertainment value of such sarcasm, it was Ronald Reagan who recognized the contribution to politics and patriotism. “You’ve become the number-one voice for conservatism,” Reagan wrote in a 1992 letter to the radio broadcaster who proudly read it on the air.
Trump, during a State of the Union speech last year, awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom (pictured at top), the nation’s highest civilian honor.
“I am a servant of humanity,” Limbaugh told “Late Show” host David Letterman in a testy 1993 interview. “I am in the relentless pursuit of the truth. I actually sit back and think that I’m just so fortunate to have this opportunity to tell people what’s really going on.”