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Jun 28 2012

Why I Don’t Listen to Limbaugh

During my brief day at home before flying back out again, I had a lot of running around to do and I came across Rush Limbaugh’s radio show on the radio while seeking out something to listen to. I left it on that station for a few minutes and was reminded of just how inane that show is.

He was talking about recent polls that show that only 34% (or thereabouts) of Americans could identify President Obama’s religion (Christianity, of course). And he just kept repeating that over and over, and saying how unprecedented it was that the American people didn’t know what religion their president is. Not a word about why that might be, of course, though I’m sure he would blame it on Obama himself.

But it’s not as if Obama hides his religion. He talks about it constantly. He issues declarations of days of prayer, he speaks at prayer breakfasts and religious events every year. Hell, he couldn’t even announce his support of marriage equality without justifying it on the basis of his (liberal) Christian beliefs. So why do so few Americans identify him as a Christian? Gee, could it be because Limbaugh and his right wing buddies have spent the last 4 years trying to convince their ignorant and credulous followers that Obama is a Muslim, an atheist, or both at the same time?

Then he noted that other polls find a huge number of Americans say they don’t know where Obama was born. And Limbaugh said, “I don’t know the answer to that either.” Really? You don’t? You’ve seen his birth certificate. And a birth announcement in two local papers at the time. Do you think the evil communist Muslim reptile overlords planted those birth announcements to fake his place of birth knowing that 50 years later he’d be elected president so he’d need it for cover?

Seriously, these people are nuts.

29 comments

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  1. 1
    Who Knows?

    Funny how you only have to wait a few seconds to find ignorance on the EIB.

  2. 2
    vmanis1

    Do you think the evil communist Muslim reptile overlords planted those birth announcements to fake his place of birth knowing that 50 years later he’d be elected president so he’d need it for cover?

    Yes.

    (To be fair, I’m pretty sure Limbaugh knows this is all B.S., but as for his listeners… It’s one thing to listen to him for 5 minutes or so at a time, but a diet of daily Limbaugh for 20 years or so has to rot the brain.)

  3. 3
    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Muslims are scary. Atheists are scary. Being a Muslim atheist makes Obama doubly scary, or perhaps scary squared. (Is fear additive or exponential?)

  4. 4
    Trebuchet

    …inane that show is.

    I’m afraid you’ve left an “s” out of a word there.

  5. 5
    Bronze Dog

    There are times I’m tempted to characterize wingnuttery as being caused by illicit substance abuse, mostly because part of my brain just doesn’t want to accept that such stupidity and reality denial can occur naturally.

  6. 6
    Marcus Ranum

    Who?

  7. 7
    oranje

    It’s a fascinating study in rhetoric, as are all of these sorts of tightly-framed political talk shows, but you need a pretty strong stomach to get through it.

    Hercules – judging by the amount of froth one gets when combining those terms, I have to go (at least) exponential.

  8. 8
    cjcolucci

    I wonder, given when the show airs, just who listens to it. Retirees? People whose job has them driving a lot during the day? Can’t be many people who work outdoors at real jobs, or in factories or offices or stores or restaurants. So what’s Rush’s demographic?

  9. 9
    quagmire

    I wonder, given when the show airs, just who listens to it. Retirees? People whose job has them driving a lot during the day? Can’t be many people who work outdoors at real jobs, or in factories or offices or stores or restaurants. So what’s Rush’s demographic?

    cjcolucci, it is indeed the groups you named (old white people, drivers, etc), plus a surprisingly large number of small business owners, particularly in rural areas. Where I live (Georgia) it is not at all unusual to enter a small restaurant, hardware store, etc. and hear Limbaugh or others of his ilk on the radio within full hearing range of the customers (and it there’s a television it will usually be set on FOX news). I used to work with a lady who brought a radio and headphones to work every day so she could listen to Limbaugh while she worked (doing so did not interfere with her work).

  10. 10
    flex

    cjcolucci asks,

    I wonder, given when the show airs, just who listens to it. … Can’t be many people who work outdoors at real jobs, or in factories or offices or stores or restaurants.

    There is one in my lab, and because he is a loud-mouthed bigot himself no one else wants to fight with him over the radio (for the ten-thousandth time).

    A lot of our technicians wear headphones these days. Luckily my office is in a different room so I only get about 20 seconds a day of Rush’s santorum.

  11. 11
    Uncle Glenny

    I wonder, given when the show airs

    I don’t know when it airs, but back in the 90s I took a lot of cabs between Boston & Cambridge, and with two exceptions (i.e. two particular cabs), he always seemed to be on. Also at the all night supermarket when they restocked late at night.

    That was how I was able to recognize how my father went full metal wingnut after he retired ca. 1990. And became pretty much impossible for me to talk to, kind of like a crazy dog, just say “Clinton” and he’d start huffing and puffing. It was even worse once Obama got in, because any topic more delicate than how much worse my weather was than his seemed to be the fault of the socialist in the Whitte House who was going to take over the country.

  12. 12
    imrryr

    @cjcolucci – One time I asked my granddad why he always had the radio on in the house when he was never in the room to listen to it. He said he had a speaker way out in the vegetable garden wired to that radio and kept Rush Limbaugh’s show on to scare the deer away.

  13. 13
    sebloom

    I’m an old retired guy and I do NOT listen to Limp-paw…nor do I watch Faux news. I know that there are a lot of old people who do…but, just to set the record straight…not me!!

    I despise most Rethuglicans…and feel similarly about most of the Damnocrats, too…

    I’m doing my best to avoid the phrases, “Back in my day…” and “These kids today…” but the phrase “Going to hell in a hand basket…” has been fairly common coming from my mouth after Citizens United and the wholesale selling of America.

    So there.

  14. 14
    Kevin

    Who is his demographic?

    People who vote. People who gleefully counter your vote each and every election.

    Never forget that.

  15. 15
    harold

    The last time I had the misfortune of being subjected to it, he was claiming that “you can’t have civilization without burning oil” over and over again. He was talking rather slowly and sounded possibly drugged or demented, but he may just have been adapting to his audience.

    I believe that the show has changed. I remember hearing it once or twice in the late nineties, and it was mainly rapid fire patter accusing “liberals” of doing and believing all sorts of things they don’t do or believe, in a way that some people might find humorous.

    On the early internet there were people who posted transcripts of the show and pointed out every lie – there were a massive number per show.

    Now, albeit based on a small sample, it seems to be much slower and to consist of repetition of obsessive slogans.

  16. 16
    oranje

    Harold – Basically, and I hear it occasionally in some of the small businesses where I live, it seems to involve cherrypicking a quote as a point of view, establishing that point of view as mainstream liberal, and then drawing a conclusion as to how this is out of step with “mainstream” America and illogical. Dressed up with plenty of emotional invective, of course. It can be kind of a fun game once you recognize the recipe they use.

  17. 17
    baal

    I once thought it’d be interesting to listen to enough of Rush to see how he (and fox news) skillfully induce mental illness in his followers. I gave up really fast. I managed to listen 30minutes the first time and now the “i object” or “that’s not factually correct” errors start piling up in my brain so fast that 15 seconds is enough to make me shut him off. It’s also pretty much any 15 seconds. I’m impressed that he essentially never makes sense so complete is his fantasy land.

    (rush’s ditto heads are far enough from objective reality on simple facts that I can’t stop myself from thinking they are showing the symptoms of mental illness)

    On the good side, MediaMatters (link on the right under MISC Links) calls out some of the talking points of Rush and others so that you don’t need to listen to them to have a current understanding of the right wing talking points.

  18. 18
    Area Man

    This seems to be the standard playbook now for the right:

    1. Tell lies, and tell them often.

    2. When a poll shows that a large fraction of the public believes those lies, use the poll as evidence that your lies are actually the truth.

    3. Consolidate the lies into conventional wisdom with the oft-repeated tropes “Everyone knows…” or “the American people agree…”, etc.

    4. Sneer at, scoff at, or shout-down anyone who tries to point out that the lies are in fact lies. After all, it’s a settled issue.

  19. 19
    Area Man

    The last time I had the misfortune of being subjected to it, he was claiming that “you can’t have civilization without burning oil” over and over again. He was talking rather slowly and sounded possibly drugged or demented, but he may just have been adapting to his audience.

    I occasionally hear the show on the weekends when I’m doing yard work, because my neighbor blasts the show throughout his yard without considering whether the rest of us want it coming into ours.

    I am typically amazed by just how little of Limbaugh’s bloviating consists of actual arguments. Much of it is just repeating phrases that may or may not mean anything, various scoffs and sneers, and some parts that are just incoherent. I’m pretty sure if you put a gun to his head and said, “Okay, write down precisely what your argument is and the supporting evidence, and skip the bullshit and repetition”, a 3 hour show would fill up no more than a small paragraph. I don’t know how anyone can listen to the guy even as entertainment. He’s not only wrong and disgusting, he’s boring.

  20. 20
    d cwilson

    Seriously, these people are nuts.

    In all seriousness, I think Limbaugh knows that virtually everything he says is pure bull shit. He just doesn’t care. He’s found a very lucrative career spitting venom into a microphone for 3 hours a day and will ride that train for as long as he can.

    The whole thing about not knowing Obama’s religion or where he was born is the perfect example of how hate radio has become a self-feeding beast. First, they raise doubts in people’s minds that there’s something shady about these things, planting the seeds in people’s minds that the scary black man isn’t a Real American ™. Next, they repeat the allegations over and over again to reinforce it. Finally, the remark on how a large percentage of Americans aren’t sure about the answers to these questions and again, imply that the reason isn’t that they’ve been the ones spreading the doubt, but that there’s something in Obama’s background that’s still being hidden.

    Lather, rise, repeat. Cash the checks.

  21. 21
    busterggi

    When Laurel & Hardy ceased being funny they retired.

    When Abbot & Costello ceased being funny they retired.

    When the Ritz Brothers ceased being funny they retired.

    Rush ceased being funny around ’93. Why is he still around?

  22. 22
    edmundog

    The guy at my tiny local post office has it on every time I go in, or Hannity, who’s on right after. Pleasant guy, but I wonder how he feels about working his socialist job with government-paid healthcare.

  23. 23
    kermit.

    The head electrician, a product display supervisor, and the maintenance supervisor in my mill have their own offices, and if I enter them to work on their computers, Rush is almost always on, at high volume. They seem like nice enough fellas, but what does a steady diet of this vitriol do to the brain?

    They have posters and newspaper clippings on their wall, like a little girl saying “thanks a lot, Obama” while giving the finger. I once told the electrician that we were more different politically than he realized and he scoffed. (How could I be? I was a polite, short-haired white male nearing retirement…)

    Nice folks, who are convinced that gays shouldn’t be given human rights because they molest children; that 9/11 was Saddam’s doing; that Obama is a socialist, and clearly intent on taking our guns away from us; that Hindus, Muslims, and atheists all worship demons; that evolution never happened; and that global warming is a global plot by liberals to destroy the US economy.

    They are all three too easy-going to be the redneck who will beat to death a (perceived) gay or set fire to an atheist’s house, but they will vote for people who would do these things. So will the truck drivers, the construction workers, and the farmers who listen to Rush (or the stations that carry him).

  24. 24
    evodevo

    Inane is just fine with my fundie redneck coworkers !!

  25. 25
    fifthdentist

    Back when I graduated from college I was basically apolitical. I may have had voted in one presidential election, but frankly found coeds and weed much more interesting at the time.
    So, anyway, right after graduation my mom’s sister had to go to the hospital, and me being the one not working I went up to care for my aunt’s husband in North Carolina as he had his own health issues.
    He listened to Limbaugh’s show every day — the entire thing, hours and hours of repetitive hatred. So I can thank Limbaugh for educating me on which political part I would never support.

  26. 26
    Hatchetfish

    No, Buster, Rush was never funny. Dilbert once was, but not the Evil Blimp.

  27. 27
    Modusoperandi

    cjcolucci “I wonder, given when the show airs, just who listens to it.”
    I’ve heard it described as “Rush keeps white men angry while they drive to lunch”. He’s the Southern Strategy in a polo shirt.

    sebloom “I’m doing my best to avoid the phrases, ‘Back in my day…’ and ‘These kids today…’ but the phrase ‘Going to hell in a hand basket…’ has been fairly common coming from my mouth after Citizens United and the wholesale selling of America.”
    To be fair, these kids these days have been going to hell in a hand basket. Even back in my day.

    edmundog “The guy at my tiny local post office has it on every time I go in, or Hannity, who’s on right after. Pleasant guy, but I wonder how he feels about working his socialist job with government-paid healthcare.”
    Short answer? “I’m one of the good ones” to the first point and “I earned it” to the second, followed by “It’s those other [*wink*] people who are to blame.”

  28. 28
    oranje

    Modusoperandi – That point about lunch is spot-on. If I’m walking around my neighbourhood while Rush is being broadcast, I will encounter at least a half-dozen people sitting in their cars listening while eating lunch. I don’t think my listening to Radio 4 is as much compensation for that static as I would hope.

  29. 29
    reverendrodney

    I may have described this before: the one time I saw Rush on TV I truly thought it was a daytime replay of an SNL skit. After all, the backdrop behind him was comprised of his own book, stacked so that all the covers showed, a couple dozen of the same book and they all had his photo. I kept thinking: “This is rich! But who is that actor?”
    The only other times I hear him is on Media Matters.
    He must secretly own the network that airs him. How else would he still be on the air, especially after his Sandra Fluke diatribe?

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