If you’re mourning the death of Rush Limbaugh, you’ve revealed how rotten you are

Some people are mourning the death of Rush Limbaugh.

Media Matters, you say? Thanks for reminding me.

Jesus, but he was a horrible, repulsive, nasty little man, the primordial archetype of the modern Republican.

For more than 30 years, Limbaugh’s show helped to set the agenda for hosts across the country, and it’s not clear who is likely to succeed him as talk radio’s unifying voice.

One possible replacement may ironically be the only Fox News prime-time host without radio experience. Tucker Carlson’s monologues are already frequently cited by right-wing radio hosts, and his emphasis on culture war topics — particularly his xenophobic, anti-trans, and misogynistic content — aligns well with standard talk radio fare.

But even Carlson is unlikely to match the hold Limbaugh had on a now-declining industry. Today, conservative talk radio is just one facet of a much larger right-wing media ecosystem, where television hosts and conservative writers all sound somewhat like Limbaugh. This ecosystem controls a political party whose latest president regularly sought the counsel of Fox News hosts.

Even without one of its central architects, a right-wing media machine built on outrage and cruelty will continue to deceive its audience long into the future.

He’s dead, but what’s still horrifying is that there are still right-wingers who praise him and think he was “funny”. That says a lot about his sycophants.


  1. raven says

    He’s dead, but what’s still horrifying is that there are still right-wingers who praise him and think he was “funny”. That says a lot about his sycophants.

    True, but nothing we didn’t expect.

    We already have Saint Reagan.
    Wait till Trump dies.
    His tens of millions of followers will probably expect him to arise on the Third Day after he is dead.

    Or, you’ve heard of the Great Pyramid of Washington DC, larger than the one in Egypt?
    Not yet, but you might.

  2. Larry says

    A hateful turd of a human with no love or compassion save for himself. Sound familiar? A standard GOPer who believed the crippled are to be mocked, the weak and powerless ignored, and rules are for everyone else. Good riddance!

  3. snarkrates says

    Remember: Rightwing nutjobs think Ann Coulter is a comedian. Their idea of “humor” is seeing who can say the nastiest things about the most vulnerable among us.

  4. davidc1 says

    @1 I see the snatch snatchers casino in Atlantic City has just been blown up /down .
    Still can’t get my head around the fact he went bankrupt running a casino .
    Time to dust off my copy of rush lumbar is a bit fat git ,by Al Franken .

  5. Gorogh, Lounging Peacromancer says

    What a stupid argument. It’s early in the thread for Godwin’s law, but you know who else was considered entertaining?

  6. christoph says

    @ Gorogh, Lounging Peacromancer, # 6: Um, Hitler?
    BTW, Mike Godwin said that sometimes it’s okay to compare people to Hitler.

  7. PaulBC says

    He was “funny” the way any bully is funny, and it says a lot about the listener if they laugh along uncritically. I have read enough Limbaugh quotes over the years, not just in Media Matters. It’s clear that he’s usually attempting to find a witticism, but his target is always a strawman view of his opponent. No, I don’t listen to his voice. I can’t even imagine torturing myself like that.

    I had friends who were dittoheads by 1995 who had seemed tolerable when I first knew them in the 80s in college. I am sure they had spent a lot of time laughing along to Limbaugh’s spew of casual racism, misogyny, and the intentional, casual dismissal of any reasoning that contradicted comfortable rightwing dogma.

  8. says

    Does anyone else remember what Rush’s fans called themselves back in the ’90s? Ditto-heads. So much for libertarian freedom when some demagogue on the radio is always right no matter what.

  9. PaulBC says

    FWIW, I don’t even find “he’s funny” to be an acceptable excuse for Howard Stern, who actually is funny. At a political level, I have nothing against Stern, and I’m not picking a fight with people who listen to him, but had already heard enough from a college roommate who actually made tapes of him in the 80s to listen to, when he was novel and only aired regionally. I don’t know how much his act as shifted since then if at all. I do not mind “tasteless” humor, but if the punchline requires misogyny and homophobia, I don’t want to laugh. I want to get away from the poison.

  10. stroppy says

    “…never understood how funny he was…”

    Republicans never understood humor, and never understood how funny he wasn’t, confusing mean, juvenile snottiness with wit. He was a sadistic troll who manipulated countless fools into an army of flying monkeys.

    It’s ok to feel relief at his death and to express it. And it’s natural, feeling powerless, to wish he got some sort of karmic pay back. Not how it works though.

    Anyway, ding, dong, one wicked fucker down, countless more to go and a ton of wreckage to clean up. Busy, busy.

  11. AstroLad says

    I learned everything I need to know about Limburger in about 15 seconds many years ago –around 1995 I think. Some of the people at work were talking about him –incipient ditto-heads, I guess. I was channel flipping on the radio driving home when I came across some guy screaming insults at a female caller. They cut to commercials without saying who the yammerhead was. My immediate thought was “This has to be Rush Limbaugh.” The announcer confirmed it on return from commercials. Changed the station and never listened to anything he said since. He was a complete waste of oxygen.

  12. says

    @10. Stern invented what Limbaugh and the rest perfected – the “Bad Boy Mambo” which is to purposefully court outrage and then pretend to be shocked when people become outraged.

    As someone who does like a little dark humor, I think that there was a bit of craft under Stern’s act and Limbaugh just took the worst parts of it and just rolled with it.

  13. PaulBC says

    I know it probably sounds trite at this point, but I think the “punching up”/”punching down” distinction is the simplest way to separate an irreverent wit from a bully. Limbaugh, like Donald Trump, never punched any direction but down, not that it stopped either of them from playing the victim when it suited.

    I accept that someone’s act is “funny” if they have an audience who laughs, whether I do or not. It is no more a defense than if Limbaugh had been capable of playing the harpsichord or cooking a souffle that never falls. I mean, the point is irrelevant. He was a toxic influence, more so because his skills made him effective. It is a good thing that this influence is now gone.

  14. robro says

    Hearth Cox Richardson’s letter this morning is titled, “The Very Loud Voice on the Right”. She starts with the weather crisis in Texas and Tim Boyd, the idiot mayor of Colorado City, making an ass of himself (since resigned). As she puts it, “Boyd’s post was a fitting tribute to talk radio host Rush Limbaugh…” She then turns to Rush. In particular, she connects such right-wing media vitriol to Movement Conservatism and the abolishment of the FCC Fairness Doctrine under Reagan in 1987. We’ve now had 35 years of these loud mouthed “commentators” spouting off anything they please on Fox or their private channels. I’m glad he’s gone. I could probably name another 20 or 30 people in the right-wing grievance media who could join him. Although I’m not deluded into thinking that the death of a handful of loudmouthed jerks will change the constant whine. If Rush isn’t there to sucker gullible white people, someone else will be.

  15. says

    @15. Limbaugh’s appeal lay solely in the fact that conservative Boomers and Xers finally had a “bad boy” of their own. No more if the stuffy old guys who were the villains of every comedy movie of the 70s and 80s for them.

  16. PaulBC says

    Susan Montgomery@17 If Limbaugh was ever a “bad boy”, then by the mid-90s he had already become a fixture of the Republican party establishment. You really can’t have it both ways. I think it’s completely appropriate that he died of lung cancer, and I’m sure the smuggled Cuban cigars were part of the “bad boy” appeal, but it’s disgusting that someone who attacks his opponents as “Communists” would then go ahead and break an embargo (not one I agree with, but I also don’t toss the word Communist around, nor do I smoke). Karma isn’t a real thing, but sometimes I guess it works by coincidence. This one just took way too long to be very useful.

  17. Artor says

    I used to work with a guy who listened to Limbaugh all day long. Years of hearing that garbage. Never once was he anything even remotely “funny.”

  18. raven says

    Karma isn’t a real thing..

    It can be.
    As you sow, so shall you reap.

    Nothing supernatural about it.
    What you do and say effects everything, including…you.

    It doesn’t always work though.
    Sometimes monsters like, for example Rupert Murdoch, die old, rich, and peacefully.

  19. Tethys says

    She then turns to Rush. In particular, she connects such right-wing media vitriol to Movement Conservatism and the abolishment of the FCC Fairness Doctrine under Reagan in 1987.

    Ding, ding, ding! Yes, this is the reason that Faux news exists at all. So that mordoch could broadcast whatever fascist narrative they wished without any regard to truth or legal consequences.

    This could easily be changed so that American media giants aren’t allowed to broadcast propaganda for fun and profit.

  20. robro says

    Good news everyone, and speaking of loudmouthed right-wing jerks: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and his family are safe from the winter storm. They flew to Cancún on Wednesday. But it’s OK, now that his family is safe in Mexico for their planned vacation, there are rumors that he’s returning today. Not because the shit hit the fan, but because Ted is a very, very responsible politician who cares deeply about his constituents.

  21. robro says

    Tethys — Well, arguably they always broadcast propaganda, even with the Fairness Doctrine, particularly if there was a paid sponsor behind the scenes (e.g. tobacco), but at least with a strong “Fairness Doctrine” news media would have some requirement to give other voices an opportunity to speak.

  22. says

    @25 robro
    A reinvigorated fairness doctrine would be a welcome sight, however it’s only a band aid for a society that has lost it’s ability for critical thinking.

  23. PaulBC says

    Ray Ceeya@24 Not to mention that “He can’t make Barron a Baron.” isn’t even offensive. Well, it’s a pretty lame pun, so perhaps offensive to good taste, but it does not make Barron the butt of the joke. It acknowledges his existence, yes. Is that a new thing? You are not even allowed to acknowledge the existence of a president’s minor children? Safe to say, this “rule” was not applied to Sasha and Malia Obama, let alone Chelsea Clinton or Amy Carter.

    I would add that Trump was not empowered to make Ivanka a princess, though he seemed to try very hard, to lock up that other daughter in a tower, or send Junior and Gums off to their death like a modern Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as tempting as the last one may be.

  24. microraptor says

    Artor @20: Yeah, briefly worked with someone doing deliveries- the guy always had the radio tuned to Rush.

    Never once did I hear anything that even sounded like an attempt at humor.

  25. Owlmirror says

    I came across this Twitter thread:


    about a CEO who raised the minimum salary for his company to $70,000.

    His business was sneered at by Rush Limbaugh, but note that he mentions having been religiously homeschooled, and grew up listening to Limbaugh because his parents did.

    Several commenters also mentioned being homeschooled, and listening to Rush.

    Is that how it happened? Is that how Christian evangelicalism became so normalized to cruelty and bigotry such that Trumpism was the obvious next step? Rush Limbaugh’s constant blather invited into their lives?

  26. Tethys says


    Part of the fairness doctrine was that you were not allowed to broadcast bald lies, period.

    Any tv or radio station that allowed anyone to spout fact free propaganda over the public<\b> airwaves could have their broadcasting license revoked and face massive fines.

    It needs to be reinstated, so that the stupid gets relegated back to print media. Nobody considers the National Inquirer to be news or factual.

  27. Tethys says

    Argh. Bad preview!! Sorry for the bolding fail everyone! Where did my first tag go between writing it and hitting post? headdrsk

  28. blf says

    @31, Munch much munch, ah! The great Tagafaili — a close relative of Tpyos — enjoys another meal. Burp !</eyum yum.

  29. gddiver says

    I’m not sure he died of cancer. I wonder if the chemo worked as intended and removed a cancer from the body politic.

  30. equisetum says

    snarkrates@3″Remember: Rightwing nutjobs think Ann Coulter is a comedian. Their idea of “humor” is seeing who can say the nastiest things about the most vulnerable among us.”

    There seems to be a certain type of person for which ‘funny’ has the same meaning as ‘mean and evil’ for the rest of us.

  31. says

    Anyone who seeks to defend Limbaugh on the grounds that he was “funny” should be pointed towards Trump, His Jokes, and You, an analysis of the Angry Cheeto’s “joke” about assassinating Hillary Clinton.
    A highly relevant passage:

    A person saying “it’s just a joke” isn’t always an asshole. But assholes are almost always happy to say “it’s just a joke” to make it look like the problem here is you. So when someone says “it’s just a joke” to you, that’s your cue for skepticism. Jokes mean things. Anyone who tells you otherwise either doesn’t understand the uses of humor, or is hoping that you don’t.

  32. robro says

    Tethys @ #30 — I thought I heard shouting, so I came to see what all the clamor was about. :–)

    I’m not familiar with the details of the Fairness Doctrine, although the concept is appealing. Having something in place seems better than the nothing we have now…unless it just provides cover for Mordor’s legion of Orc news-speakers.

    As for it covering bald faced lies, I suppose it tried to prevent that but there must have been ways to avoid the letter of the law otherwise we would have known more about things as they were happening instead of years or decades later. As a teenager in the early 60s, I watched the news on NBC, CBS, and ABC…part of that civics class thing. I heard lots about Vietnam (Communists), civil rights (Communists), poverty, the USSR (Communists), Central American democracies (more Communists), Cuba (huh-huh), public health crises (smoking? not really a problem), crime (i.e. black and brown people), or climate and the environment (the weather is fine and there are too many birds anyway besides they cause plane crashes) but with rare exceptions the news media toed the party line, told the official lies, and didn’t raise questions.

  33. lochaber says

    publicola@42> that’s a bit too boot-camp for me, but if I ever happen to be near his grave site in the future, I’d be strongly tempted to engage in some sort of vandalism…

  34. lumipuna says

    Limbaugh may be dead but his cancer lingers on.

    In that regard, he’s almost but not entirely unlike Henrietta Lacks.

  35. ChrisE84 says

    As Fox News is cable TV, not broadcast, the fairness doctrine wouldn’t apply anyway (even under the 1969 SCOTUS decision). You would need an amendment to introduce a fairness doctrine for today’s media.

  36. PaulBC says

    lumipuna@44 He could be a memetic neoplasm, though I hope not. It’s not worth the risk even to advance science.

  37. PaulBC says

    Owlmirror@47 Indeed so. That’s one reason I broke with my usual compassion for anyone dying to ask “Why isn’t he dead yet?” on a regular basis. He’d do the same for me if he knew me and I had cancer.

    All the same, it did get tiresome after a while. I think we’re absolutely better off without him, and to those who miss him, either personally (because I guess he had friends and family) or his audience, please do keep in mind how he treated others in case you expect the rest of us to care.

  38. PaulBC says

    blf@49 Guardian says 2004? Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations is from 1996, which only shows how long it’s taken to lance this boil on the body politic. I suppose I can’t do anything about DeSantis any more than I could stop Trump from disgracing the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Limbaugh is gone and good riddance. The rest is just window-dressing. Sorry about the people I actually like who live in Florida (there are a few).

  39. blf says

    @50, They are probably referring to the Penguin edition (which might have been when it was first available in teh “U”K? (the Grauniad is British)). Goodreads says Penguin published it in 2004, but that it was first published in 1996 (dunno by who). As an aside, Molly Ivins’ article in Mother Jones, Lyin’ Bully, is from 1995.

  40. Tethys says

    Truth in broadcasting laws, combined with applying them to all modern media would immediately solve the issues of completely unregulated media corporations. FB and Twitter have a huge reach, and a great deal of culpability in letting the magas become brainwashed by fascists in the first place.

    Rush did speak ill of the dead. It’s just one of the many reasons people think he was a horrible human. I will hold myself to higher standards while I do a happy feminazi dance.

  41. ChrisE84 says

    Truth in broadcasting laws just wouldn’t survive the courts, not even liberal ones.

  42. vytautasjanaauskas says

    And I couldn’t care less what he would have said if someone he didn’t like died.