Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Shocker: Massive NYT Magazine Feature on Rush Limbaugh Isn't a Hitpiece

Of course, the Times has to use the requisite dark, menacing photo to accompany the exhaustive 8000-word profile of Rush Limbaugh, but look past that and actually read the story. Very fair without the usual cheapshots from his enemies that much of the drive-by media usually lards on.

Probably because the author is a reputable writer.
ON AUG. 1, LIMBAUGH WILL CELEBRATE the 20th anniversary of his national radio program. At 57, he is an American icon, although his fans and critics don’t agree on precisely what he is iconic for. I’ve heard him compared to Mark Twain and Jackie Gleason, the Founding Fathers and Father Coughlin. Serious people have called him a serial liar and a moral philosopher, a partisan hack and a public intellectual, nothing more than a radio windbag and nothing less than the heart of the Republican Party.

One thing is certain: Limbaugh has been a partisan force for two decades. In 1994, he was so influential in the Republican Congressional landslide that the grateful winners made him an honorary member of the G.O.P. freshman class. He moved not only voters, but the party itself. “Rush talked about the ‘Contract With America’ before there was a ‘Contract With America,’ ” Karl Rove told me. “He helped set the agenda.”

Limbaugh has been a factor in every national election of the past 20 years, but not since the mid-1990s has he been so prominent. Democrats have blamed him for everything from invading their primaries to starting scurrilous rumors about Michelle Obama. Limbaugh denies the latter accusation, but he happily embraces the former. His vehicle was so-called Operation Chaos, a radio campaign designed to encourage Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton and prolong internecine fighting among liberals.
Take the time to read it all.

If anything, I can see this lengthy item, on Independence Day weekend no less, driving the core audience of the Times up the wall. Though maybe there are some that still have an open mind and will finally find out what Limbaugh is all about.

More from Noel Sheppard.

Meanwhile, Rush has re-upped for some monster money through 2016.

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