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A Rush Story the Media Are Willing to Report
by Jason F. Feulner
22 October 2003Rush Limbaugh

Before the story of his drug addiction broke in the National Enquirer, Rush Limbaugh was the subject of a virtual news blackout.

Rush Limbaugh is in trouble, and it remains to be seen how his career and reputation will hold up after this current crisis has subsided.  Whether or not Mr. Limbaugh is able to conquer his personal demons and retain his role in the overall conservative movement, it is interesting to note how the liberal media has treated this story. A careful examination yields a bounty of clues as to how the media in this country regard conservatism and the millions who support such philosophy.

The EIB Network has been a consistent success story.  Founded just over 15 years ago, Limbaugh’s radio production has maintained a steady listening audience of over 20 million, broadcast daily on some 600 radio stations throughout the country.  The sheer significance of this statistic is compounded even further when one is reminded that Limbaugh’s program runs from noon to 3 PM -- hardly a primetime spot in the average American workday.  It is not a stretch to call Limbaugh the most listened to man in America.  This includes news anchors, sports announcers, and musicians.  No one else holds such a large daily audience.

Despite these overwhelming signs of a true mass following, the elite media have largely ignored the Limbaugh phenomenon.  He is not invited to commentate on the major networks.  There have been very few articles or news stories about him over the past 15 years.  Political analysts refuse to quote him or even acknowledge his influence on the political makeup of this nation.  Limbaugh has been treated like a slight disturbance in the background of political debate.  Reality dictates that his influence is far more reaching than that.

This all changed when the drug story broke.  Suddenly, Rush Limbaugh became the scion of the conservative movement: its very core.  Columnists simply couldn’t wait to point out the hypocrisy of the Limbaugh movement and, by extension, the conservative movement in general.  Liberal journalists now seem confident that they can dismiss Limbaugh as a master illusionist, a hypocrite who wields his tricks over an audience of millions in order to mislead them into accepting the conservative point-of-view.  If Limbaugh was seemingly a hypocrite about drugs, is it not safe to conclude that he is a master hypocrite about all things political?

Political opportunism has a way of revealing the truth.  Indeed, Rush has been influential, and it is a shame that the press has only been able to admit this during his personal downfall.  What is more revealing, however, is the outright insult to the millions who listen to Limbaugh.  It is now plain to see that Liberals honestly believe that at least 20 million Americans are stupid and easily fooled by a master trickster.  They refuse to lend any credence to the conservative convictions of millions of Americans, much less admit that conservatism is a viable philosophy by which to approach government and society.  They believe that it is all about Limbaugh and not about substance.  Now that Limbaugh has been discredited, liberals are breathing a sigh of relief.

This self-delusion will not serve to awaken liberals as to the plight that their party has faced over the last decade.  As long as Democrats refuse to accept the true convictions of the majority of Americans, their grip on political power will continue to dwindle.  It is certainly not about Limbaugh.  Limbaugh’s millions of listeners used him as an outlet and guide for their own thoughts and frustrations.  As brilliant Rush Limbaugh is, there will be always be others to take his place.  Individuals define movements, they do not create them.

Jason Feulner is a recent graduate of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York.  He is planning on pursuing Public Administration with a concentration in International Relations for his graduate studies.

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